The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman
The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman

The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman

Written by Kathy Stinson & illustrated by Marie Lafrance
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Oct 6, 2020
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What Does Bookroo Think of This Book

The power of books pervades this meaningful story based on true events.

Anneliese doesn’t understand why the women try to clean the streets of rubble when the town will never be the same. With the nagging pain of hunger and the lingering heartache from losing her father in the war, Anneliese and her brother stumble upon a book exhibition, where “the lady with the books” introduces and engulfs the children in fun, relatable, hopeful, and resonating stories like Ferdinand the Bull, The Story of Babar, and Pippi Longstocking. One night, after eating a delicious stew due to the generosity of the farmer (and her mother’s selflessness trading an heirloom teapot and skill in catching a pigeon) and retiring to bed, Anneliese awakes and slips outside into the moonlight. She resolves to hope for a better future and join the women with their brooms the next day, but for now will sleep and dream, “like Ferdinand in his field of flowers.” This touching and powerful work of historical fiction is based on the true story of “the lady with the books,” Jella Lepman, who is introduced further in the inspiring back matter at the end of the book. This powerful story doesn’t shy away from or dwell on realities of war, leaving a predominant feeling of hope. Lafrance creatively integrates characters from the exhibition books peeking around the illustrations, adding additional hope to a city torn by war and further showcasing one of the powerful themes of the book, and Jella Lepman’s driving goal, of using books as “bridges of understanding.”

What Kind of Book is The Lady with the Books: A Story Inspired by the Remarkable Work of Jella Lepman


girls and womenbooks and librariesWorld War IIbooks


What Should I Know As a Parent

Families are unique and have different expectations for the books they choose to read. The following are concepts included in this book that some parents may wish to seek out or avoid.

Note that this list is not exhaustive and there may be concepts in this book that are not included or have been insufficiently or incorrectly detailed here.


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The Creatives Behind the Book

What Has Kathy Stinson Said About This Book

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Book Details

Publication Date
October 6, 2020
Kids Can Press
Text Details
The text is set in Bauer bodoni.
Illustration Details
The artwork in this book was rendered in graphite pencil and colored digitally in Photoshop.
Page Count
Lexile® Level
Est. Fountas & Pinnell Level
Est. ATOS® Book Level

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