The Librarian of Basra: A True Story from Iraq Reviews

UPDATE TIME: 2019-07-18 
Review Score: 4 out of 5 star From 62 user ratings

"Ok, I must admit, I am half Iraqi (my mother is Iraqi) and my husband is Iraqi. And to this day I didn’t hear of this amazing story which had happened during the war. Alya Baker is surely a courageous woman, risking her life to save these invaluable books!! People in Iraq were busy saving themselves and maybe involved in some other activities. Maybe the libraries in other areas of Iraq were also full of valuable books that were either burnt or looted. Who knows. To me this is an act of patriotism as well as an act that shows the live for knowledge.

Surprised that the book is not in arabic yet? Even though it’s only 27 pages? I am not! as we the Arabs are notorious in ignoring each other and especially ignoring our hero’s
" said.

" It's wonderful that this story was reported and turned into a children's book. I love stories out of and about Iraq, because it's where my family is from. " said.

" A wonderful true story about a devoted librarian who went to a great deal of trouble to rescue and protect the assets of her library when the invasion of Iraq reached Basra on April 6, 2003. The story is told in very few words with bright colorful pictures. It is suitable even for very young children, but will be best appreciated by those who love books! " said.

" Another banned books selection. This true story is about a librarian who saved 70% of her library's books knowing that the likelihood of our being bombed and burned was high. Another one I wouldn't hesitate to put in the hands of a child. I would love to find out more about this woman! " said.

"Illlustrated with bright, bold acrylic and pen illustrations, _The Librarian of Basra_ tells a story of the horrors of war in a balanced way, not too frightening for young children. (There is no mention that it is U.S. planes that bomb the city, although an American soldier is pictured at the door in one illustration.) Alia gets no help from the Governor of Basra in trying to preserve the 30000 books in the library when war is imminent, so she takes it upon herself to move them with the help of her friends. Most of the valuable volumes are saved, and her new mission is to raise funds to rebuild the library. At the time of publication, there was a rumor a portion of the book's sales will go to the American Library Association, which would use the funds to rebuild the collection of Basra's Central Library. If that is true, it is additional incentive to purchase this amazing book. It was an ALA Notable book, and was nominated for several other awards:
Georgia Children's Picture StoryBook Award, 2006
Black-Eyed Susan Book Award, 2007
Land of Enchantment Book Award, 2007
Flicker Tale Children's Book Award, 2006
" said.

"It was wonderful!

This book is set against a backdrop of an invaded Iraq. A librarian who finds her library in danger of obliteration by the hands of the soldiers moves all the books to her and her friends' place.

This is a story which celebrates the joy of reading books. It is rare to find people who are ready to give up their lives to save books. This picture book narrates in a benign manner how books can become more cherished and dear to your heart than even your life. Books have empowered us and given voice to our thoughts and emotions. They are not just words written on paper.

It beautifully imparts an important message and I wish this book had come out when I was a kid. It would have made me fallen in love with books even more.
" said.

"I'd like to develop some sort of "librarian appreciation" unit that injects a little world view, and came across this book as a recommendation in the NYSUT newsletter.

Although this is a child's book, (primarily recommended for 3rd - 5th grade), I would like to try using this as a read aloud to kick off the unit in conjunction with the New York Times article ...

I think it might work best with middle school students, but I'd use it in high school as well, as I think most American teenagers may not realize how lucky they are to have a public library at their finger tips, not to mention education in general.

Sometimes I wish it were as easy to just "inject" caring into their brains, but since that's not possible, this book is a decent plan-B. :)
" said.

" Borrowed this from PNM via Overdrive. I love the illustration. But the story-telling pace is a bit off for me.Can't imagine the actual struggle to take good care of the books Alia Muhammad Baker owned from one place to another safely. 30,000 books!!! When you love books and realize the importance to preserve it, no difficulty come in the way will be able to stop you. " said.

August 2019 New Book:

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