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The Keeper of Stories

Illustrated by Selina Alko

About The Book

In this stunning and uplifting true story of community, a neighborhood comes together in the wake of a library fire to save the stories within, offering a timely reminder of the essential role libraries and books play in our communities.

A library is a keeper of stories. A keeper of memories. A keeper of hope. But what happens when that keeper is threatened?

When a fire broke out at New York’s Jewish Theological Seminary library in 1966, firefighters raced to the rescue. But by the end of the day, thousands of books had been turned to ashes and the ones that remained were on the brink of ruin. The community was devastated. Would the priceless stories in those waterlogged pages be lost forever? Or could helping hands from every background and corner of the neighborhood come together to become keepers of stories, too?

This powerfully told and lushly illustrated true story is a welcome example of how we all can come together to keep libraries and the books within safe for generations to come.

About The Author

Photo Courtesy of the Author

Caroline Kusin Pritchard grew up as the youngest of four children in Dallas, Texas, and spent her childhood sneaking extra helpings of noodle kugel from her bubbe’s kitchen. Her debut picture book Gitty and Kvetch was a Tablet Magazine Best Jewish Picture Book of 2021, and her other books include Where Is Poppy? and The Keeper of Stories. Caroline lives in the Bay Area with her husband, three kiddos, and their 120-pound dog.

About The Illustrator

Selina Alko grew up in Vancouver, British Columbia, surrounded by the melody of words and stories from different places. Selina’s books include The Case for Loving: The Fight for Interracial MarriageDaddy Christmas and Hanukkah MamaStars of the Night: The Courageous Children of the Czech Kindertransport, and I Is for Immigrants, which garnered a silver medal from the Society of Illustrators. Selina lives in Brooklyn, New York, with her children and her cat Czen. Visit her work at

Product Details

  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers (February 4, 2025)
  • Length: 40 pages
  • ISBN13: 9781665914987
  • Ages: 4 - 8

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