The Brilliant Ms. Bangle

Feiwel & Friends. Jun. 2023. 32p. Tr $18.99. ISBN 9781250247704.
PreS-Gr 2–Ms. Bangle, who is Black, is the new librarian at Belford Elementary, and she knows how to pick books that students love. The very first picture of her—wearing plaid pants, red clogs, sunflower socks, a gigantic bun, and with a pile of books balanced on her shoulder with loose sheets of paper flying around—conveys her energy, her goofiness, and her charm. However, the diverse students don’t want to give her a chance. Change can be hard, and they believe they should remain loyal to their former librarian, an elderly woman who was kind. When the students refuse to listen to her story, Ms. Bangle doesn’t protest. Instead, she gives the students jobs in the library while she takes the afternoon off. Before long, the students realize that library work stinks and that hearing a story might not be so bad. In fact, after listening to the story with Ms. Bangle, they realize their new librarian is pretty great, and pretty sneaky about getting them to accept her. The bright, watercolor illustrations capture the upbeat mood of the story, and the large eyes on the children showcase their uncertainty and wonder equally well.
VERDICT A story that celebrates librarians, reading, and how the right teacher can ease the fear of change.

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