Everything in Its Place by Pauline David-Sax

Published on November 30, 2022

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Everything in Its Place: A Story of Books and Belonging

By:  Pauline David-Sax

Illustrated by Charnelle Pinkney Barlow

Reviewed by Elizabeth DeVincenzo

Shy Nicky would rather spend school recess in the school library reading books and shelving them.  She does not fit in with any group of children during recess and prefers the quiet atmosphere and companionship of Ms. Gillam, the school librarian.  When Ms. Gilliam announces, she is going to a library conference for a whole week, Nicky feels nothing but dread- a whole week of recess and no library to seek solace and comfort in!   After school, Nicky goes to her mother’s café, where she visits with Maggie, one of the regular customers.  Maggie is someone Nicky can relate to- she loves to read, and she wears scruffy clothes like Nicky.  When Maggie finishes reading a book of poetry, she lends it to Nicky.  Nicky observes Maggie leaving on her motorcycle and asks if it is scary.  Maggie replies, “Everything in life is a risk”, and with a smile takes off.  Over the weekend, Maggie returns to the café with her motorcycle group.  Nicky observes how all the women in her group are different, yet they are all friends despite their differences.   On Monday, Nicky returns to school and during recess she buries her head in her poetry book.   Within a few minutes, a girl who is playing in one of the groups comes over and joins Nicky. The girl also loves poetry and   Nicky remembers Maggie’s words about taking risks.  Together the two girls lean against the wall and read.   This heart-warming picture book would appeal to book and library lovers.  It also carries an empowering message for children who are shy and lack the confidence to make friends.  The Dewey decimal numbers alongside the subjects of Nicky’s books and collage illustrations of library due date cards give this book a cozy, nostalgic feel.  An excellent book promoting the importance of libraries and the way books help foster connections between people.

Target age group: Ages 3-7

Kirkus- starred review- 2022, Children’s best book of the year- 2022

Publisher’s Weekly- starred review-2022


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