Quote of the Month

When love and skill work together, expect a miracle. John Ruskin

Monday, April 29, 2019

Always The Light

Sometimes it feels more like home than home.  It's as if all the stories, real and imagined, are cloaking you in complete comfort.  For centuries this space has been a sanctuary; a sanctuary always worth saving.

Our libraries, public, academic, school and personal, whether housing 168 million items like the largest library in the world, The Library of Congress or a shelf in a home holding a few treasured volumes, represent our ability to rise to new heights.  The Library of Ever (Imprint, Macmillan Children's Publishing Group, April 30, 2019) written by Zeno Alexander takes us on a search for something we are unaware we need.  It asks and answers questions.  It leaves us with thoughts to ponder.  Nothing in eleven-year- old Lenora's life will ever be the same again.  Do you dare to have your life change, too?

Lenora was wretchedly unhappy.

Her parents on a global tour have left her with an inattentive nanny intent on turning every day into a shopping spree.  Naturally, Lenora is dragged along in her wealthy parents' limousine, but she would much rather be in any other place offering her mental stimulation.  When they make an unexpected stop at the library, it's a golden opportunity for Lenora.

Having slipped away from her absentminded au pair, Lenora first comes to the assistance of another child being bullied by a strange man wearing unusual attire and claiming to be a librarian.   She then suddenly finds herself standing in front of an enormous stone entry where there was previously a blank wall.  Above the archway the words read


A tall, tall woman, obviously someone in charge, comes up to Lenora as she is trying to take in the sight around her.  In this place there are bookshelves lining the walls beyond visibility above and below her as she stands on a bridge spanning a tower.  After answering four crucial questions from the woman with the emphatic words, I do, Lenora finds herself hired as a Fourth Assistant Apprentice Librarian.

Well, readers, hang on to your proverbial hats.  In each room, of this collection of all knowledge in the universe, in which Lenora finds herself, those four crucial questions she answered assist her as she travels through space and time, battles the worst kind of enemy imaginable repeatedly, sails seas in a row boat on a gigantic globe, shrinks and unshrinks herself (How else can she help ants and tardigrades?), assumes the shape of an animal to find that which is lost and suffers the fate of falling into an frightening trap.

From one breathtaking adventure into the next, continually followed by malevolent forces, Lenora, using what she knows and what she learns, barely survives.  A lost soul adds frightening information to the girl's daring assignments.  With an astonishing blend of action, the final chapter reveals a mind-blowing cliffhanger loaded with anticipation.

The mysterious author Zeno Alexander, traveler of history and world libraries and provider of exquisite dinner parties and caretaker of extinct plants writes with sure knowledge based upon his friendship with Lenora.  With adept descriptions this entire narrative plays like a movie in your mind.  We are keenly aware of every moment through the mix of Lenora's thoughts and the characters' conversations.  We experience amazement, increasing confidence, unbelievable circumstances and chilling adversaries.  No one will look at librarians in quite the same way again; unless, of course, you are a librarian.  Here are some passages.

"But wouldn't it make more sense for me to 
work on things I already know about?" Lenora
"Not at all!" Malachi arched one eyebrow.
"Whyever would you want to do THAT? You'd
learn absolutely nothing!"

She looked up at the skylight.  She thought the
sun would keep the room comfortable.  But the sun,
didn't seem to be shining anymore. In fact, out of
nowhere, dark clouds had gathered high in the sky.

That still didn't explain the cold, which was
getting worse by the second.  Patrons were beginning
to look around with concern, muttering about
the temperature.

Lenora thought perhaps she could find a thermostat 
somewhere and turn up the heat.  She peered
beneath the desk.

And then she heard something.
A muffled crash, far away among the stacks.
And she thought:
Something fell.
Other than that crash, everything was quiet.
The usual busy library sounds had gone dead silent.

. . ."I thought you were wise enough to
understand that children must be discouraged
from asking questions that will make them curious
and fretful.  Perhaps I overestimated you.  After all,
you're just a child yourself."
"Maybe," said Lenora, with equal frost.  "But
I'm also a librarian.  And I'm not going to hide the
truth from anyone."

Are there action-packed feats? Indeed, there are.  Is there a cast of out-of-this world characters?  Without a doubt there are.  Are there profound truths woven into this tale of Lenora about light versus dark, the power of knowledge and the utmost need to protect it? Yes! Yes! Yes!  These things in this book, The Library Of Ever written by Zeno Alexander, the first title in a new series will appeal to a wide range of readers of many ages.  I highly recommend this book for your professional and personal collections. 

To learn more about Zeno Alexander please follow the link attached to his name to access his website.  He maintains accounts of Instagram and Twitter.  At the publisher's website you can read an excerpt. There is an activity guide here.  This interview of Zeno Alexander at The Winged Pen gives you insight into his personality.  We're in for quite a ride, readers.

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