Two intrepid librarians

Two intrepid librarians review the best nonfiction books for children

Monday, February 11, 2013

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise by Jan Pinborough

Miss Moore Thought Otherwise
Written by Jan Pinborough; illustrated by Debby Atwell
Houghton Mifflin. 2013
ISBN: 9789547471051
I received a copy of the book from the publisher.

In the 1870’s many people thought a girl should stay inside and do quiet things such as sewing and embroidery. But Annie thought otherwise.

And so begins Miss Moore Thought Otherwise: How Anne Carroll Moore Created Libraries for Children written by Jan Pinborough; illustrated by Maine artist Debby Atwell.

Pinborough uses simple language to introduce to readers the real-life accomplishments of Anne Carroll Moore, the person credited with defining the role of children librarians. Born in Limerick, Maine on July 12, 1871, Moore graduated from the Pratt Institute one-year library program in 1896. Her first job was organizing a children’s room at the Pratt Institute. Some libraries were beginning to let children come inside, but Annie’s library had something brand new – a library room planned just for children. Children could come in and takes books off the shelves. And in the evenings Annie read aloud to them—just as her father had read to her.

After ten years working at Pratt, Moore became supervisor of the children’s section of all thirty-six branches of the New York Public Library. She saw that many librarians did not let children touch the books, for fear that they would smudge their pages or break their spines. They thought if children were allowed to take books home, they would surely forget to bring them back. But Miss Moore thought otherwise. While at the New York Public Library, she encouraged librarians to talk with children and share stories. When it was announced that a grand new library would be built on Fifth Avenue and Forty-Second Street, Miss Moore was determined to make its new Central Children’s Room the best it could be for all the children of New York.

Gracing the text is the folksy art of Maine artist Debby Atwell. Her primitive style illustrations use acrylic paint in thick strokes and bold colors and show adults and children enjoying the many wonderful opportunities at Miss Moore’s library.  

Pinborough includes an author’s note and a good listing of books for further reading. Watch the book trailer created by the Mooresville Public Library.

All that librarians do everyday to enrich the lives of children, encouraging them to love books with a wide variety of programming can all be traced back to this quintessential librarian. Maybe we could encourage ALSC (the Association for Library Service to Children) to create an Anne Carroll Moore Day as a way to acknowledge and celebrate Moore and her contemporaries for their work in making libraries accessible to children.


  1. Thank you, nicely done. It's on my " to buy" list now.

  2. I can't wait to read this book -- just up my alley! Thanks for sharing this book. I just tweeted about it.

    You might like to read an interview I just did (for ALA's I Love Libraries) of the children's librarian at my local public library -- she was named person of the year (even beating out George Lucas). Let's hear it for children's librarians!