Jorge Luis Borges, Argentine novelist & poet, wrote ” I have always imagined that Paradise will be a kind of library.” Rip, the main character in this young adult book by Anthony Collins & Harold Kenner, would go even further in his description. To him, the library is a sanctuary, and more of a school for him than his school.
Rip establishes a routine to help increase his reading ability and comprehension, all taking place in his public library, but with the encouragement of several caring teachers and librarians. These mentors were alive in his brain, if not available in person, and he even had a “super” librarian who came and helped him during the story. Rip was told many times that “reading is power,” neatly being the same as his initials, reinforcing his dedication to improve his reading ability.
RIP will provide an incentive for those young people who also have a reading problem. All of the problems Rip faces and overcomes are ones the young people face everywhere. Using creatures with super powers is standard in any video game will appeal to that age group. Rip, perhaps more than most young people, respects everything associated with school, learning and libraries, and aspires for more. So, for Rip and myself, “if you can read this, thank a teacher (and/or a librarian!)”
Guest reviewer Sue Norman is a retired academic librarian and longtime literacy advocate and tutor.