A Lot or a Little?
What you will—and won't—find in this book.
This book follows a group of four young strangers who are struggling through life for very different reasons
Positive Role Models
Lots of bad behavior: shoplifting, vandalism, tagging, mooning, mouthing off to adults.
Violence & Scariness
A threat with a razor blade.
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Products & Purchases
Numerous candy brands mentioned.
Drinking, Drugs & Smoking
A reference to a mother who died of a drug overdose.
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Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that this book follows a group of four young strangers who are struggling through life for very different reasons, and that some of them serve as better role models than others -- at least initially. One, an inner-city dweller, spends his spare time spray-painting graffiti with a friend. Another is grappling with his mother's recent death.
Is It Any Good?
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.
Did we miss something on diversity?
Research shows a connection between kids' healthy self-esteem and positive portrayals in media. That's why we've added a new "Diverse Representations" section to our reviews that will be rolling out on an ongoing basis. You can help us help kids by suggesting a diversity update.