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Dear Librarian

Lydia Sigwarth’s beautiful new picture book begins,

“Dear Librarian, May I tell you a story? It’s about me, and it’s about you, and it’s about my Library Home.”

When she was five, the author and her family moved from Colorado to Iowa while her dad searched for work.

During this time, the family of nine lived with an Aunt, a Cousin, and a Grandmother. They were grateful to have a place to stay, but each place presented a challenge, none had a “special spot” for the author, nor felt like home.

The story shifts the first time Lydia’s mother takes her and her six siblings to a special place…

At the library, Lydia and her siblings have enough space to play and skip and just be children. It’s also here that Lydia meets the librarian to whom she is writing this Dear Librarian letter. The librarian finds the books she wants to read, sits on the floor with her to read them, and makes her feel safe every time she visits. During the time when she didn’t have a home, because of the loving way she was treated, the library felt like home.

The last part of the book made my heart ache in the best possible way. Young Lydia grew up to be a librarian, and she’s writing to the librarian from her childhood to let her know. This book isn’t just a letter– it’s a love letter from the heart of a young girl still beating inside the body of a grown woman, to the woman who influenced her life’s path.

The inspiration to write this book happened after Lydia told her story, and was reunited with her childhood librarian, on the radio show This American Life. Listening to it after I read this picture book moved me to tears, as Lydia’s childhood story so deeply mirrored a period of my own. You can hear this piece HERE.

In closing, I first learned about this book from a guest blog post by Lydia Sigworth on Two Writing Teachers titled Wonder Woman in a Cardigan, The Librarian Who Changed My Life. I was delighted to win the giveaway copy associated with that post. Thank you, Lydia, for my own personal copy and for sharing your story with all of us.

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