Bananas for books: Funny things overheard at the library.


Kids and books can be a hilarious combination.  As most of you know, I work in a library, and one of my favourite things is to see children having fun with reading and enjoying a good story.  Last week, I was tidying up the toys in the play area and I heard a mother reading aloud to her young son, who was about three or four years old.  She was telling a story about farm animals, and she came to a part where she questioned her child, “What animal says ‘moo’ and gives us milk?”

The little one thought about it for a moment (I figure he was pausing for dramatic effect), and then shouted mischievously, “A GORILLA!”

I burst out laughing, and the mother was just in stitches.  You really have to wonder how kids come up with these things!

I think most libraries nowadays have a Reader’s Advisory program, which patrons can use to find new authors, books, and materials they otherwise wouldn’t know about.  They’ll obtain this information by talking to a librarian in their local branch, checking the Hotlist, browsing through display areas, or surfing the home page or blog on the library’s website.  Sometimes I hear patrons soliciting the opinions of other patrons – they’ll see someone with a particular book in hand and simply go up and ask them about it.  Everyone is always happy to offer an opinion on a book.

Case in point:  a couple of weeks ago, I was putting away some board books in the children’s area, when I overheard the greatest book recommendation ever.  One little guy – he couldn’t have been more than six years old – was enthusiastically broadcasting to his younger brother the merits of a certain volume he had picked up.  “You’ll LOVE this book!” he exclaimed.  “It has a booger in it!” *

Children’s book authors, take note – that’s the magic stuff, right there!  Five stars!

*(Subject matter, not actual object. Ewwwww…).


How do you get your book recommendations?  Do you check out book reviews on the web, or ask other readers?  Do you pick up books from the displays at your local library?  Are you part of a book club?


  1. Great post, Sheryl! I had to pause for a moment, too, thinking that the book contained actual nose debris. Funny! I love reading to my boys and picked up books based on memories of things I loved, while exploring different interests of theirs. I read a lot of tractor books in my day, followed by trains and finally into Beverly Cleary who is still alive and close to 100 years old.

    • How amazing is it that Beverly Cleary just celebrated her 100th birthday! I remember reading her books and we have a huge collection of them at work that still circulates like crazy.

      We have an interesting display in our children’s library – a bunch of child-accessible boxes that contain themed books. One of them is “Things That Go,” which covers everything from tractors and trains to fire trucks and boats. Kids – and parents – love this set-up, they can just grab and go or sit and read for a while and then browse the boxes for “more like these.”

      • That’s right, she did just turn 100. What an amazing milestone for this brilliant writer. Her books are timeless, even though firmly rooted in a different generation. Her characters are so lovable and easy to relate to, even poor Ramona. I like the idea of child-accessible boxes by theme. My younger son was obsessed with pumpkins for several years. I’m pretty sure we read over 100 books on the subject, both fiction and non-fiction. Some of the beautifully illustrated ones remain favorites. I wish I had kept a log of those beloved books before passing them on to a friend with young children. My boys are now almost 16 and 19.

  2. I love this, Sheryl. Thank you for sharing. And as you may also know, I love libraries. They, and librarians, are featured fondly in my next book, with good reason.

  3. Thanks for the belly laugh. Working in a library or bookstore was always a dream. Since I couldn’t, I started my own. My kids had hundreds of books which we donated back to the school library. They are still avid readers of everything the mind can conceive. I was with Alys when I first read the sentence. What a great way to get kids interested in books.

  4. Too funny! How do I find books to read? Sometimes I think they find me. One book leads to another and on it goes 😉

  5. I love to hear what other people are reading or I look on Goodreads for reviews. If I find an author I like, I sometimes read several of their books.

  6. I get a little frustrated when I ask the librarians for recommendations. As primarily a horror reader, every time I see our shelves which are primarily stocked with Stephen King books, I want to bash my head against the wall. There’s more horror writers out there than just King. Even worse, try to get recommendations for hard sci-fi. People just look at you like “Wha???”

    So I tend to do random grabs, and browse book reviews online. Occasionally stuff passes my way. Honestly 90 percent of my reading material anymore comes from review requests, but I still love our weekly trips to the library as a family.

    Side note: Also a pain in the rear to get recommendations for a just-turned-7’er that reads at a fourth grade level.

  7. I LOVE this! What is it with little boys and gross things?! My grandsons are obsessed with things like boogers and . . . well, you get the idea. I think librarians have the best stories.

  8. Being a book blogger, I follow all kinds of lists online. Our local library has a wonderful newsletter, with lists of their new books, and it’s a great way to find out about new books as well as get the books that are on my to-read list once they’ve arrived at the library.

  9. Love your sharing! I smiled in front of my laptop while reading the post. Tell me how we don’t love kids, especially kids who love books! I am a graduate teacher, been to school where literacy were not promoted at home. This made me sad when you saw them could not tuck their heads in the magic world.

I'm delighted to hear from you - thanks so much for your comments!

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.