Title: Sass and Traz Save the Library
Author: Michelle Worthington
Publisher: Daisy Lane Publishing
Published: 20th October 2021
Synopsis: Sassafras and Alcatraz are twins who couldn’t be more different, except for the fact that they love their local library, and their mother is best friends with the librarian. They sit in the library while their mother coaches their older brothers football team. The librarian, Ms Burns, tells them the mayor is going to demolish the library to make way for a car park and there is nothing she can do about it. When Sass goes down to the basement for the packing boxes, she puts her hands on the old library files that hold the Dewey Decimal Cards and something magical happens. She calls the characters of the books to life. The library is helping them to find a way to fight. Can they find the right combination of characters, including the knights, pirates, and scientists, to stop the council and save the library?
Books that celebrate books and libraries are having a fantastic moment. In the past few years, there have been so many, that listing them all would take forever, and I have read many of them. Sass and Traz is the latest book that celebrates the magic of stories and the beauty of an old library card system, for this is where the magic of Sass and Traz’s library lies. As they prepare to spend their final day in the library before the evil mayor demolishes it for make way for more carparks, the library begins to fight back – releasing knights, pirates, a scientist, and dinosaurs to help save the library.
Sass and Traz is first and foremost a book about the joy, magic, and delight of libraries and books, celebrating the power libraries have to inspire everyone and are a community hub, where people can be part of a community, find safety, acceptance, and a place where everything is okay. Libraries and books are portals and windows to new worlds, history, times, and places that capture our imaginations through fiction and non-fiction, through educational reading and reading for pleasure. Libraries offer this and so much more, but the beauty of this book is in its dedication to the bookish world that so many of us love to inhabit.
Books can save us in many ways and unite us – as they do for Sass and Traz, and like Sass and Traz, many of us find solace in books – especially when we feel as though we may not fit into society, or there are people we have conflicts with. Books, stories, and libraries can be reassuring places – and to lose these, as Sass and Traz find out, can be devastating for the community – and can drastically impact how people interact with their community and each other, as well as ideas and stories.
It looks at the value of stories, libraries, and books, and the role they play in our lives, coupled with the idea that these aren’t important – and that there will always be people who deem something like a carpark more important than books and the nourishing role that they play in our lives. This book is a delightful ode to stories, education, and sharing stories with others, and shows that there is power in oral storytelling and reading.
It also allows the characters to be who they are and shows disability as part of the character – as well as the realities of what Traz faces, but the way it is dealt with shows that we can all find ways to help and adapt, as well as pointing out that accessibility is important for people like Traz and his family – making the story relatable for many readers. It is a fun story, and one that readers aged seven and older will love – for all the reasons I’ve discussed, and maybe, will make us realise that not only are books important and essential, but it is our differences that helps us build a community, and there are many ways to improve a community other than building carparks.