Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books
Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt's Treasured Books
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Annotation: Describes the human chain citizens formed to protect the public library of Alexandria, Egypt during widespread protests and chaos in 2011.
Genre: World history
Catalog Number: #5170049
Format: Publisher's Hardcover
No other formats available
Common Core/STEAM: Common Core Common Core
Publisher: Dial
Copyright Date: 2012
Edition Date: 2012
Pages: 40
Availability: Available
ISBN: 0-8037-3747-5
ISBN 13: 978-0-8037-3747-1
Dewey: 962.055
LCCN: 2011038198
Dimensions: 24 x 28 cm.
Language: English
Reviews:
ALA Booklist
Straight from recent headlines, this stirring picture book tells of young people's role in leading the Egyptian uprising. Both the direct free-verse lines and pictures reveal the exciting story of how crowds of kids join hands with the library director to protect the beautiful modern building and its more than one million books and up-to-date technology. Then the young marchers spread a huge Egyptian flag across the library steps. One child is excited and hopeful: They raised their voices / and many others followed. But there is also fear: What if angry protestors tried to burn down the precious library? Roth's collage illustrations contrast scenes of the library's interior with marchers in the streets of Cairo and Alexandria. The extensive back matter includes translations of the Arabic protest signs, facts about Alexandria then and now, and photos of the library reets packed with fierce protestors and the real flag on the library steps. A great title for cross curricular sharing.
Horn Book
When Egyptians began protesting and calling for Mubaraks resignation in 2011, people feared for the safety of the beautiful Bibliotheca Alexandrina--the library built in 2002 near the ancient site of the Great Library of Alexandria. In this lovely tribute to the spirit of cooperation, Roths trademark collages exuberantly illustrate the human chain that surrounded the library to save it.
Kirkus Reviews
Freedom and libraries: an essential combination. During the tumultuous days of the Arab Spring when Egyptians marched to bring down their government, youthful demonstrators and library staff stood together to protect the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, contemporary counterpart to the Great Library of Alexandria, from vandalism. Roth's exuberant collages capture these heady moments, blending photos, papers and fabrics to bring the people's positive actions and the building's intriguing facade together in a celebration of patriotism and libraries. The co-authors personalize the historical events by using Shaimaa Saad, a former children's librarian, as the narrator. The text begins traditionally but quickly changes to indicate that this is a contemporary story: "Once upon a time, / not a long time ago, / many people in Egypt / were sad and sometimes angry, / because they were not free to speak, / or vote as they wished, or gather in groups." Young people one by one join Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the library's director, in a human chain around the building and unfurl a giant Egyptian flag on its steps (also shown in photographs at the end) with palpable ebullience. Extensive and accessible backmatter includes information about the ancient and modern libraries, the January 25, 2011, Revolution, an author's note, resources, protest-sign translations and graphic motifs. A stunning visual recreation of a recent historical event. (Informational picture book. 6-9)
Publishers Weekly
As she did in Listen to the Wind, the picture-book adaptation of Greg Mortensen-s Three Cups of Tea, Roth brings to the fore a hopeful story from a politically charged country. Roth and journalist Abouraya, in her first children-s book, transport readers to Egypt in January 2011 where, after years of living under an oppressive government, -Egypt-s young people decided/ it was finally time/ to let their voices be heard,/ and so they began to march in the streets.- The narrator, a participant in the protests, describes how young people joined the library director to form a
School Library Journal
Gr 3&11;6&12; During the 2011 Egyptian Revolution, hundreds of young people, led by library director Ismail Serageldin, joined hands around the world-famous Alexandria Library to protect it from damage by the marching crowds. Although much property was destroyed and many people died, the library survived unscathed. Roth and Abouraya invest this story with emotion and suspense by adopting the point of view of a fictional librarian at first caught up in the excitement of the march, then worried about the library, then proud of her countrymen for this act of love and peace. Roth's collage art is, as always, especially appealing to young people. Her naive, frontal compositions are constructed from brightly colored paper in a variety of textures: crinkled, fuzzy, fibrous, corrugated, and even iridescent. Protest signs in Arabic appear throughout the book, and though one page contains images of violence, in general the energy, scale, and potential havoc of the march are skillfully communicated by spreads depicting large crowds. The back matter is especially informative: it includes the history of the ancient and the modern Alexandria Library, a brief discussion of the Egyptian Revolution, a few translations of words on the protest signs, and, perhaps most importantly, photographs of the events described in the book. These pages use collage representations of quilt squares as a border, suggesting that the immense crowds that marched in Egypt were made of a kaleidoscope of unique individuals.&12; Paula Willey, Baltimore County Public Library, Towson, MD
Starred Review for Kirkus Reviews
Freedom and libraries: an essential combination. During the tumultuous days of the Arab Spring when Egyptians marched to bring down their government, youthful demonstrators and library staff stood together to protect the Bibliotheca Alexandrina, contemporary counterpart to the Great Library of Alexandria, from vandalism. Roth's exuberant collages capture these heady moments, blending photos, papers and fabrics to bring the people's positive actions and the building's intriguing facade together in a celebration of patriotism and libraries. The co-authors personalize the historical events by using Shaimaa Saad, a former children's librarian, as the narrator. The text begins traditionally but quickly changes to indicate that this is a contemporary story: "Once upon a time, / not a long time ago, / many people in Egypt / were sad and sometimes angry, / because they were not free to speak, / or vote as they wished, or gather in groups." Young people one by one join Dr. Ismail Serageldin, the library's director, in a human chain around the building and unfurl a giant Egyptian flag on its steps (also shown in photographs at the end) with palpable ebullience. Extensive and accessible backmatter includes information about the ancient and modern libraries, the January 25, 2011, Revolution, an author's note, resources, protest-sign translations and graphic motifs. A stunning visual recreation of a recent historical event. (Informational picture book. 6-9)
Bibliography Index/Note: Includes bibliographical references.
Word Count: 1,221
Reading Level: 5.1
Interest Level: K-3
Accelerated Reader: reading level: 5.1 / points: 0.5 / quiz: 153893 / grade: Lower Grades
Reading Counts!: reading level:4.6 / points:1.0 / quiz:Q60987
Lexile: 680L

The inspiring true story of demonstrators standing up for the love of a library, from a New York Times bestselling illustrator

In January 2011, in a moment that captured the hearts of people all over the world, thousands of Egypt's students, library workers, and demonstrators surrounded the great Library of Alexandria and joined hands, forming a human chain to protect the building. They chanted "We love you, Egypt!" as they stood together for the freedom the library represented.

Illustrated with Susan L. Roth's stunning collages, this amazing true story demonstrates how the love of books and libraries can unite a country, even in the midst of turmoil.


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