“The Lonely Book”


Sometimes it takes a poignant children’s story to remind us about the power of a book.  “The Lonely Book” by Kate Bernheimer is one such example. 

A new book arrives at the library.  It is displayed in the new book section and is often chosen by a child to take home.  Eventually, it is moved to the shelves with all the other children’s books.  Although it is no longer new, it is still very popular.  Years passed and the book was only rarely checked out.  “The book became lonely” until is was discovered by a young girl named Alice.  She didn’t mind that the book’s cover was faded or that the last page was missing.  She loved the story.  She took it to school every day.  She presented it at show and tell.  One day, when she was at the library, she forgot to renew it.  On her next library she could not find the book on the shelf.  (A volunteer had picked it up and put it in the basement for the next book sale.)  The book got lonelier.

Of course, Alice and the book are reunited at the end of the story at the library’s book sale.  She is so happy and the book “felt sublime in its always-and-forever home.”

After recently weeding the JE books, I felt a pang of guilt after reading this new addition to our collection.  Had I removed a book from the shelf that had been someone’s favorite story?  Someone who might look for it again?  Silly maybe, but that is the power of a book.

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