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Tomas and the Library Lady Hardcover – September 23, 1997

4.5 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

Amazon.com Review

Sometimes you read a story and it almost seems too nice. This book may seem to be one of those at first, but the difference is that this story is true! Tomás and the Library Lady is the wonderfully illustrated tale of Tomás Rivera and the kind librarian who helped him learn to love books. Tomás started his life as a migrant worker and, when he died, was a university chancellor. (The UC Riverside library now bears his name.)

This tribute to Tomás and his mentor reminds us of the power of stories and those dedicated librarians who have changed the lives of so many people. (Recommended for ages 4-8; it's great for new English readers and is also available in Spanish.)

From School Library Journal

Grade 2-4?Tomas Rivera, who at his death in 1984 was the Chancellor of the University of California at Riverside, grew up in a migrant family. Here, Mora tells the fictionalized story of one summer in his childhood during which his love of books and reading is fostered by a librarian in Iowa, who takes him under her wing while his family works the harvest. She introduces him to stories about dinosaurs, horses, and American Indians and allows him to take books home where he shares them with his parents, grandfather, and brother. When it is time for the family to return to Texas, she gives Tomas the greatest gift of all?a book of his own to keep. Colon's earthy, sun-warmed colors, textured with swirling lines, add life to this biographical fragment and help portray Tomas's reading adventures in appealing ways. Stack this up with Sarah Stewart and David Small's The Library (Farrar, 1995) and Suzanne Williams and Steven Kellogg's Library Lil (Dial, 1997) to demonstrate the impact librarians can have on youngsters.?Barbara Elleman, Marquette University, Milwaukee, WI
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 3 - 7 years
  • Grade Level: Preschool - 2
  • Lexile Measure: 440L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 40 pages
  • Publisher: Knopf Books for Young Readers; Complete Numbers Starting with 1, 1st Ed edition (September 23, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0679804013
  • ISBN-13: 978-0679804017
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 10.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #224,361 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
This book is the wonderful true story of Tomas Rivera who was the son of migrant workers and became the chancellor of the University of California at Riverside.
My sister and nephews were in town and they took a trip to the library with their Nana(my mom). I believe that my sister grabbed this book, because it mentioned the library lady. I liked the fact that the author dedicated this book to Tomas Rivera and "for librarians who lure us in."
I read this book to my oldest nephew while he was here. He was absolutely mesmerized by this book. The author draws you in with the tale of Tomas Rivera's life and how his life changed when he discovered the library. The illustrations in the book were beautifully drawn and colorful.
Tomas lived with his Mama, Papa, Papa Grande and his little brother, Enrique. His parents were migrant workers. They picked fruit in Texas in the winter and in Iowa in the summer. They were on their way to Iowa for the summer.
Tomas had always enjoyed listening to his Papa Grande's stories, and he knew all of them by heart. So, Papa Grande encouraged Tomas to go to the library in Iowa and tell them more stories. The next morning when he reaches the library he becomes very intimidated by the big library. Well, things change once he meets the library lady.
She is so warm and inviting to Tomas that Tomas spends the whole day at the library reading. Using her own card, the library lady checks out two books for Tomas to take home and read. While reading, Tomas gets lost in adventures with dinosaurs.
During the course of the summer, Tomas teaches the library lady some Spanish, while she encourages him to read more books.
Read more ›
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Format: Paperback
"It was midnight. The light of the full moon followed the tired old car. Tomas was tired too. Hot and tired. He missed his own bed, in his own house in Texas. Tomas was on his way to Iowa again with his family..." Tomas' family were migrant workers. As his parents toiled in the fields during the day picking corn in the hot Iowa sun, Tomas and his brother, Enrique, tried to stay cool under the shade of trees, listening to the old stories told by their grandfather, Papa Grande. "Tomas, you know all my stories, " he said. "There are many more in the library. You are big enough to go by youself. Then you can teach us new stories." The library was large and cool, and had more books than Tomas had ever imagined. But more importantly, the librarian was very kind and took the young boy under her wing. And with her help, opens up a whole new world for Tomas; the love of books and learning..... Based on the story of Tomas Rivera, a migrant worker who grew up to become an educator and eventually chancellor of the University of California at Riverside, Tomas And The Library Lady is a heartwarming and inspiring story. Pat Mora's sweet, simple, and quiet text is complemented by Raul Colon's gentle and evocative illustrations and together word and art detail the joys of reading, and the wonderful impact one person can have on a young life. Perfect for children 4-8, Ms Mora includes a short biography of Tomas Rivera at the end to complete the story.
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Format: Hardcover
Attention teachers! Add this one to the classroom library. All students will find a true hero in this story. Many of my ESL students identified with Tomas and his struggle for literacy. This book invites the reluctant student to read
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Format: Paperback
This is a short story of a boy named Tomas, who needs more stories than his grandfather can tell, and so he goes to the library. Poor, migrant and Hispanic, he finds a friendly, caring librarian who provides him with the books he needs to nurture his spirit. The illustrations are warm and textured, lending a rich (almost biblical) quality. The experiences of Tomas, and his fertile imagination, are easily recognizable to children of all ages. The historical note on his later success in life is added incentive to keep going to the library for good books, like this one!
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Format: Paperback
This is a story of a boy who is forced to leave his home in Texas and move it Iowa with his family for farm work. It's a very touching story about him becomming close with a librarian who encourages him to read. The meaningful and passionate paintings illustrate Tomas' realities and special ties to people close to him. Tomas teaches the librarian Spanish words throughout the book which I think is very useful to also teach children. I would highly recommend this book for a history lesson.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Tomas was one of six books purchased for my son's summer reading collection prior to kindergarten. This was by far our favorite! Tomas discovers a wealth of entertainment through visiting the library. It also touches upon friendship and family connection. What wonderful values for my five-year-old to read about!
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Format: Hardcover
Tomas and the Library Lady is a beautifully written story based on some of Tomas Rivera's experiences as a young reader. The story takes place in Iowa, where Tomas's parents go every summer as migrant workers. Pat Mora does an excellent job describing the setting as dry and hot and Raul Colon's illustrations only add to the feeling with his excessive use of grainy texture and warm sandy colors. I couldn't help but pour myself a glass of ice cold water after reading this book! Tomas and the Library Lady is a great book for Spanish and English speaking children alike seeing that it provides many Spanish translations throughout the story as well as it has subtle multicultural elements scattered about. In the book, Tomas's grandfather often tells Tomas and his brother stories orally as a sort of family tradition. Tomas wants to learn stories of his own to tell to his family, so his grandfather shows him the library where he is welcomed by the "library lady" who provides him with books of dinosaurs and tigers. Tomas gets completely immersed into the books that he reads and feels as if he is inside them. This book should be put in all classrooms because it is perfect for getting children to realize how fun reading can be and maybe even get them interested in asking their parents or teacher where the closest public library is. Most importantly, this story shows readers how books and storytelling can be a perfect way to bring families closer together.
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