The Lady with the Books is based on the inspirational story of Jella Lepman. Lepman was a Jewish woman that was forced to leave her home in Germany during the Nazi occupation. When she was finally able to return, she decided to help the children that had been impacted by the war. She did this by bringing back books that had previously been destroyed by the Nazi regime. To rebuild the collection, Lepman reached out to twenty other countries asking them for donations. She believed that children needed to “feel connected” to other children around the world. Lepman used the donations to create a book exhibit that traveled around Germany. Eventually, she created the International Youth Library which is located in Munich’s Blutenburg Castle today. It is “ the largest international collection of children’s books in the world.”
This book is written from the viewpoint of a young girl and her little brother. In the midst of the ruins of WWII, they stumble across Lepman’s traveling exhibit. They start to find joy again while visiting the library regularly despite the pain and suffering that is all around them. I love how this story is written from a child’s perspective. Rather than a simple biography of Lepman’s life, it shows the impact of her work. Just like the fictional characters in the story, the books she read and provided for children gave them strength for the long journey of reconstruction while helping them maintain parts of their childhood.
Author: Kathy Stinson Home – Kathy Stinson
Illustrator: Marie Lafrance Marie Lafrance | Kids Can Press
Publisher: Welcome | Kids Can Press
Add to your bookshelf!
In one of the books the children read the character had a pet horse, so to pair with this book we made a horse-shaped book corner!
I was kindly given this book for my honest review but all opinions are my own.
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