Book Uncle and Me

Uma Krishnaswami (Author) Julianna Swaney (Illustrator)
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Every day, nine-year-old Yasmin borrows a book from Book Uncle, a retired teacher who has set up a free lending library next to her apartment building. But when the mayor tries to shut down the rickety bookstand, Yasmin has to take her nose out of her book and do something.

But what can she do? The local elections are coming up but she's just a kid. She can't even vote!

Still, Yasmin has friends -- her best friend, Reeni, and Anil, who even has a black belt in karate. And she has grownup family and neighbors who, no matter how preoccupied they are, care about what goes on in their community.

Then Yasmin remembers a story that Book Uncle selected for her. It's an old folktale about a flock of doves trapped in a hunter's net. The birds realize that if they all flap their wings at the same time, they can lift the net and fly to safety, where they seek the help of a friendly mole who chews a hole in the net and sets them free.

And so the children get to work, launching a campaign to make sure the voices of the community are heard.

An energetic, funny and quirky story that explores the themes of community activism, friendship, and the love of books.

Product Details

$14.95  $13.75
Groundwood Books
Publish Date
September 13, 2016
5.2 X 0.6 X 7.7 inches | 0.55 pounds
BISAC Categories:

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About the Author

Uma Krishnaswami is the author of more than twenty books for children, from picture books, The Girl of the Wish Garden, Bright Sky, Starry City and Out of the Way! Out of the Way!, through novels for young readers, The Grand Plan to Fix Everything. Her books have been published in eleven languages and have been picked for CCBC Choices, Parents' Choice, IRA's Notable Books for a Global Society, the Scientific American Young Readers' Book Award, Bank Street Best Books of the Year and the Paterson Prize. Originally published in India, Book Uncle and Me won the Scholastic Asian Book Award. Born in New Delhi, Uma teaches at Vermont College of Fine Arts in the MFA program in writing for children and young adults.

Julianna Swaney is an artist, designer and printmaker specializing in watercolors. She lives in Portland, Oregon.


USBBY's Outstanding International Books List

Cooperative Children's Book Center Choices

NPR's Guide to 2016's Great Reads

A Bank Street College of Education Best Children's Book of the Year

Little Free Library Action Book Club Selection

International Literacy Association Social Justice Literature Award

"Yasmin's campaign should help inspire young readers to believe in their own potential to make a difference and teach the valuable lesson that sometimes it takes several small actions to make big moves." -- Kirkus, starred review

"This sweet slice-of-life tale...demonstrates that children can be empowered to effect change in their own neighborhoods. This is also a perfect title to shine a light on elections taking place elsewhere." -- School Library Journal, starred review

"[Readers] will surely be charmed by Jasmin's upbeat personality and determination." -- The Horn Book

"In this celebratory homage to reading -- heightened by Julianne Swaney's charming illustrations -- Krishnaswami adroitly inserts important lessons on politics, leadership, government processes, grassroots activism and the importance of every single vote." -- Shelf Awareness