Ask a Giraffe

Giraffes and librarians. They have a lot in common. Seriously.

by ForeverOtaku Click to link to artist!

by ForeverOtaku
Click to link to artist!

Both can reach high trees and shelves to find important sustenance for body and mind. Both have a way of seeing the big picture; giraffes with their long necks and librarians (even the short ones) with their far-reaching research chops. Both have ways of effectively defending themselves; giraffes with swift kicks and librarians with the swift truth. Take that “alternative facts!”

Not Today!

Not Today!

And, of course, giraffes and librarians both love their children!


Unfortunately, giraffes and librarians both have one more thing in common. They are both endangered. Even though the link between well-staffed school libraries and higher school test scores has been thoroughly documented, school libraries across the United States continue to fall behind in needed funding and school librarians continue to be “phased out.” The world needs giraffes and civilization definitely needs librarians. More than sixty-five percent of all incarcerated inmates are classified as having a low rate of literacy. Librarians matter. Librarians kick back at the lions of ignorance and do everything in their power to educate children and gift them with the power of literacy.

In honor of giraffes and librarians, and in keeping with the promotion of April as both “Library Month” and “Poetry Month,” here is a poem for our beloved giraffes and librarians. Enjoy and pass it along to your favorite giraffe or best-loved librarian:

Ask a Giraffe  

Art by Julia Collard Click for link to purchase

Art by Julia Collard; Click for link to purchase

If you want to know

How the treetops grow

Or how it feels

To eat leafy meals

Just ask a giraffe


If you like the way

That dolphins play

And you’d like to be

Deep down in the sea

Go sail with a whale

Download from; click for link

Download from; click for link


If you want to unearth

Our earth’s ancient birth

Or investigate rock

From diamond to chalk

Sit alone with a stone


If you’d like to look

At a curious book  child_on_giraffe_head

And use your mind

To seek and to find

If you love to be

In the library

Then come sit with me


– Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud



– Ruth Gilmore Ingulsrud


The Write Stuff

Why is it that so many children’s book authors are (or were) librarians? Children’s book authors have also frequently been teachers and tree climbers… okay, maybe not tree climbers, but that is a good way to get perspective. The librarian-author connection is obvious, in a way, but it is worth looking into. Being immersed in books all day does help one develop the right stuff for launching into the realm of storytelling and publishing.

This connection has been on my mind lately after watching a lovely Academy-Award winning movie directed and written by William Joyce, produced by Moon-Bot Studios:

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore

And here is the link for purchasing the full digital version which has been getting great reviews:

iTunes Apple; The Fantastic Flying Books

The main character of the story, starts out as an avid reader of books and has begun to write his own. A library adopts him as their caretaker, and by the end of the tale, he is back to being a writer once more, and is succeeded by his works even as he takes his leave of mortal life, pulled gently aloft by his beloved flying books. His own authored work is left behind to be discovered by an eager young reader who wanders into the library.

Producing books that may one day immortalize an author might seem to be a compelling reason to write, but I think that realistically, this is seldom the impetus for a writing career, or even for a single story. It is, instead, more the result of a story needing desperately to be told. There are some nights, when a story will not let one sleep, will not cease from jumping up and down upon one’s head, until it is written down. Writers don’t approach stories, as often as stories approach authors. I think the images in the “Fantastic Flying Books” movie have it right, with the books walking up to Mr. Morris and swooping down at him from their perches on the shelves. The prospective author just has to catch the inspiration and have enough patience to polish the tale.