Thankfully, library closures aren’t common in Ireland but this isn’t the case elsewhere, sadly. In recent years, hundreds of public libraries have been closed across the United Kingdom and the United Sates due to government cutbacks and this has had a major impact on local communities. We Want Our Books is the story of a young girl who discovers her local library has been closed. The machinery to demolish the library and turn it into a restaurant is already on site. Together with her sister she decides to do something about it, but can two children really save the library from the wrecking ball? Will her community be interested in helping or are they just too busy to care?
The illustrations in We Want Our Books are quite striking and showcase the diversity of people living within the local community. Many of the scenes will be recognisable from Alexander’s Macmillan Children’s Book Prize winning Can I Read My Books, Please?. For those particularly interested in illustration, it’s worth noting that on the publication page it specifically points out that the illustrations were created using pencil, paper and procreate.
Although We Want Our Books is a picturebook, it could certainly be used with older children as a discussion starter on wider topics such as the relevance of libraries in communities, the need for books, the power of children’s voices and more.