About the Holiday
Established in 1989 by the Center for the Book and Pizza Hut as a way to celebrate reading and invite kids and adults to discover the fun and benefits of reading, Young Readers Week is a favorite on any book-lovers’ calendar. Bringing together businesses, schools, families, and libraries, the Book It! program offers encouragement and resources to get kids excited about reading. To learn more and find activities, printables, reading trackers, and other resources for schools and families, visit the Book It! program website.
Thank you to Roaring Brook Press for sending me a digital copy of Ronan the Librarian for review consideration. All opinions about the books are my own. I’m excited to be teaming with Tara Luebbe in a giveaway of the book. See details below.
Ronan the Librarian
Written by Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie | Illustrated by Victoria Maderna
With his skills for invading, raiding, and trading, Ronan was a great leader of his barbarian community. “Ronan was legendary for finding the best pillage… until one raid went horribly wrong.” The traders took one look at the book he’d brought back and turned away. After all “barbarians didn’t read books.” Ronan contemplated all the ways he could use this “useless thing” and had finally settled on toilet paper, when he caught sight of a picture and was hooked.
He was still reading the next morning when his raiding partners came to find out where he was. “‘Ronan, you dunga! What are you doing?’ asked Gunnar.” When they found out he was reading, Helgi thought he’d gone berserk. So he joined the crew on the day’s raid, but once they were done, he didn’t stick around for the trading, but hurried home to read some more.
Now whenever Ronan raided took the books while the other barbarians hauled away the gold and silver and jewels. Now he read at home and on the job, and his collection of books grew so enormous that formed tall, precarious stacks all over his house.
But Ronan was not only a reading barbarian, he was a smart barbarian. He took all of those books and built a library. How did the other barbarians like his grand opening? They loved… the refreshments. “‘Uff da! I must conquer my own village,’ he declared.”
One day he looked around at his busy villagers and began to read a thrilling tale about Odin aloud. But this story didn’t make a dent in the din. The next morning, Ronan went to his library only to find that it had been invaded… and raided. Barbarians young and old sat on the floor with book, clung to the shelves with books, and clutched armloads of books. It turned out that “barbarians do read books.”
Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie’s clever old, old world tale will delight both avid and reluctant readers with hilarious dialogue, rambunctious characters, and enough invading and raiding to satisfy any little barbarian. Ronan’s conversion from raider to reader—complete with puns and fun-to-say words like “dunga” and “uff da”—is sure to entice reluctant readers to discover the joy of reading, and book lovers will cheer when the villagers embrace the new library.
Victoria Maderna’s laugh-out-loud illustrations shine with piles of gold, silver, jewels and other shiny pillage as well as kid-pleasing details that will bring on plenty of giggles. Late-night book-sneakers will appreciate the images of Ronan so busy reading in bed that he forgets to put on pajamas or even take off his shoes and trying to share his enthusiasm with his fellow barbarians. These long-haired villagers, decked out in fur and spikes and sporting Viking helmets are a tough bunch who ride wild boars to pillage, sail the wild seas, and… wear fuzzy wild boar slippers.
Kids will love keeping an eye out for the page-nibbling goat and Ronan’s constant companion (a raven that alludes to Poe’s famous poem?). Maderna’s dramatic rendering of the story of Odin that so fascinates the barbarians may well inspire children to invade their own libraries—just like a barbarian.
A treasure for all young readers, Ronan the Librarian will be a favorite for rollicking story times and is highly recommended for home, classroom, and public library collections.
Ages 4 – 8
Roaring Brook Press, 2020 | ISBN 978-1250189219
Discover more about sisters Tara Luebbe and Becky Cattie and their books on their website.
To learn more about Victoria Maderna, her books, and her art, visit her website.
Young Readers Week Activity
Bookmobiles are love on wheels! If libraries are some of your favorite places, you’ll like making this bookmobile from a recycled box! You can even use it as a desk organizer!
- Printable Book Shelves and Sign Template
- Cardboard box, 16-oz pasta or other recyclable boxes work well (I used a 5” x 7 ¼ -inch pasta box)
- Small wooden spools or wheels
- X-acto knife
- Strong glue
- Paint brush
1.Gently pull the box apart at the seam and lie flat with the unprinted side facing up
2. To Make the Awning:
- On one of the wide sides of the box, measure a rectangle 1 inch from the top of the box, leaving at least 1 ¼ inches at the bottom of the box and 1 ¼ inches on both sides
- With the x-acto knife or scissors cut the sides and bottom of the rectable, leaving the top uncut
- Paint the top and underside of the awning (if you want to make stripes on the awning lay strips of tape side by side across the awning. Remove every other strip of tape. Paint the open stripes one color of paint. When the paint dries replace the tape over the paint and remove the tape from the unpainted stripes. Paint those stripes a different color.)
3. Paint the rest of the box on the unprinted side any way you like, let dry
4. Cut the Printable Book Shelf template to fit the size of your window opening, leaving at least a ½ inch margin all around
5. Tape the book shelf to the inside of the window
6. Reconstruct the box, making the original seam an inside flap
7. Glue the flap and sides together
8. If using small spools for wheels, paint them black. Let dry
9. Glue the wheels to the bottom of the box
10. Attach the Bookmobile sign, found on the printable template, above the awning
To Make a Desk Organizer from the Bookmobile, cut an opening in the top of the bookmobile with the x-acto knife or a scissor
You can find Ronan the Librarian at these booksellers
Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Books-a-Million
To support your local independent bookstore, order from
Picture Book Review