Midnight at the Library
NLA Publishing, 2018
36pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99
A long time ago a boy looked out of a window and wondered about the world. And as he thought and wondered, his head filled with words and they came out of his head, down his arm, into his hand and into his fingers and onto the page… Over time and place that little book was opened and loved, given and taken, closed and lost, found and forgotten as it journeyed until it is now waiting to be discovered in a library.
In this beautifully written and stunningly illustrated story by the familiar team of Dubosarsky and Brooks, young readers are introduced to the concept of a book and its critical place in society as the purveyor of stories that tell us about who and what has gone before, the roots of who we are as a nation and indeed, as people. And just as this little book lives on in the library to tell its seekers its stories, young readers can imagine what story they could write today to be discovered and revered years and generations hence.
As well as telling the story of the book, Dubosarsky and Brooks also celebrate the importance of libraries as the safe havens of the written word, a concept also explored on the final pages as some of the books, as magical as that in the story, that are available to be explored at the National Library of Australia are highlighted.
Apart from just being a wonderful read, the potential to use this book across the curriculum is almost endless as students consider the role of the written word, the history of its communication, the changes in format, the types of books and stories on offer and the need for a common set of symbols, syntax and semantics to make our message understood regardless of the language we speak.
Formal teachers’ notes are available but for me, this has so much more potential than just satisfying some AC outcomes. It’s all wrapped up in the universal wonder of story.