Parents' Guide to

The Library Card

By Matt Berman, Common Sense Media Reviewer

age 9+

A mysterious library card affects four lives.

The Library Card Poster Image

A Lot or a Little?

What you will—and won't—find in this book.

Community Reviews

age 9+

Based on 3 parent reviews

age 7+

Great handbook for delinquents!

Hated this. Angry it was given to my 3rd grader. For all of the questionable youth activity: Repeated Shoplifting and Vandalism, Defying all teacher, adult and parenting relationships, quitting/skipping school, cutting, hijacking and hitchhiking to name only a few! All with no real consequences... Poorly strung together, it is more of a handbook for delinquency than shining example of how books can save people. Forget about any sense of morals or authority figures helping troubled kids!
age 10+

Good book for middle grades

This book was so-so. Overall it has a positive message about the value of books/the library - however that positive message is only inferred so the reader must be mature enough to recognize it. This book also has some mature themes - it infers that one of the characters may be suicidal, a couple other characters shoplift and vandalize. Another character is homeless and lives in a car with his uncle. These dark themes tend to overshadow the positive message. Additionally, the imagery and figurative language used by the author is somewhat complex and the reader would need to have the maturity level to comprehend it.

This title has:

Great messages

Is It Any Good?

Our review:
Parents say (3 ):
Kids say (4 ):

Each story here is a small gem, and each is an imaginative, offbeat, and often poignant reminder of the power of books and libraries. And, of course, of the wisdom of librarians, who know that placing just the right book in a child's hands can change his life forever.

Jerry Spinelli has had a strange career. For a long time he was a competent toiler in the orchards of children's literature, producing a number of perfectly decent novels, nothing special or unusual, but enjoyable. Then, like a bolt from the blue, came Maniac Magee, a novel so far superior to anything else he had done that I had to wonder what profound change had come over him. It earned him a Newbery Medal and a place in the pantheon of truly great children's novels. I thought he had ascended to a new level of writing, and eagerly awaited his next. But when it came it was another of his perfectly respectable, not-going-to-set-the-world-on-fire novels. So it seemed that maybe he just had this one, truly great novel in him, and now that it was out, he could go back to being a mere mortal.

But wait. While The Library Card is not on the same level with Maniac Magee (maybe that's not really possible or fair to expect), it is far better than his ordinary books. Like Bruce Brooks's What Hearts, its structure is of four related novellas. What ties these stories together, however, is a mysterious blue library card that has a powerful impact on the life of whoever finds it. It leads its possessors to a library whose enigmatic librarian seems to know more about them than they know themselves.

Book Details

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