Books·Canadian

The Lady with the Books

A picture book by Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Marie Lafrance.

Kathy Stinson, illustrated by Marie Lafrance

Inspired by true events, a fictionalized retelling of how one woman brought a world of books to children in Germany after World War II, and changed their lives forever. Anneliese and Peter will never be the same after the war that took their father's life. One day, while wandering the ruined streets of Munich, the children follow a line of people entering a building, thinking there may be free food inside.

Instead, they are delighted to discover a great hall filled with children's books — more books than Anneliese can count. Here, they meet the lady with the books, who encourages the children to read as much as they want. And she invites them to come back the next day. Eventually, she will have a greater impact on the children's lives than they could ever have imagined.

This picture book, written by award-winning author Kathy Stinson, is based on the real-life work of Jella Lepman, founder of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) and the International Youth Library. Lepman's collection of children's books from around the world traveled throughout Germany after World War II in the hope of building "bridges of understanding" between countries.

Brought to life by highly acclaimed illustrator Marie Lafrance, this book carries an important message about international cooperation that still resonates with world events today. It includes further information about Lepman and her work as well as historical photos. This story of the children who survived the war offers a unique and often unexplored perspective for history lessons. It also makes an excellent choice for character education lessons on resilience. A portion of the author's royalties will be donated to IBBY's Children in Crisis Fund. (From Kids Can Press)

Kathy Stinson is a prolific Canadian children's writer from Ontario. She is the author of more than 30 children's books, including Red Is Bestillustrated by Robin Baird Lewis, and The Man with the Violin, illustrated by Dusan Petricic.

Marie Lafrance is an artist and illustrator from Quebec. She also illustrated Oscar Lives Next Door by Bonnie Farmer and Bunny the Brave War Horse by Elizabeth MacLeod.

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