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Pajama Press

The Library Bus
By (author): Bahram Rahman Illustrated by: Gabrielle Grimard
9781772781014 Hardcover, Reinforced binding, Printed dust jacket English Juvenile: Age (years) from 5 - 8, Grade (CAN) from K - 3, Grade (US) from K - 3 JUVENILE FICTION / Books & Libraries Afghanistan Nov 24, 2020
$21.95 CAD
Active 9 x 10 x 0.38 in | 0.87 lb 32 pages Full-colour illustrations throughout Pajama Press Inc. Pajama Press

Author Bahram Rahman grew up in Afghanistan during years of civil war and the restrictive Taliban regime. He wrote The Library Bus to tell new generations about the struggles of women who, like his own sister, were forbidden to learn.

It is still dark in Kabul, Afghanistan when the library bus rumbles out of the city. There are no bus seats—instead there are chairs and tables and shelves of books. And there are no passengers—instead there is Pari, who is nervously starting her first day as Mama’s library helper. Pari stands tall to hand out notebooks and pencils at the villages and the refugee camp, but she feels intimidated. The girls they visit are learning to write English from Mama. Pari can’t even read or write in Farsi yet. But next year she will go to school and learn all there is to know. And she is so lucky. Not long ago, Mama tells her, girls were not allowed to read at all.

Brought to life by the pensive and captivating art of award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard, The Library Bus is a celebration of literacy, ingenuity, and the strength of women and girls demanding a future for themselves.

  • Fictionalized story with historical grounding in the childhoods of the author and his mother in Afghanistan that is explained in an author’s note
  • Bahram Rahman’s mother was the first girl in her village to get an education; she became a teacher. When the Taliban took over in 1996, Bahram vividly remembers the day his mother had to hide her teacher’s uniform, and the day his sister had to burn her books when the family was turned out of their home. Bahram threw away his own books too, not understanding that he would have been allowed to keep them.
  • #OwnVoices story by an author who grew up in Afghanistan during the civil war and the Taliban’s regime
  • Curriculum links for social studies
  • A compelling day-in-the-life snapshot of a lifestyle unfamiliar to most North American readers
  • Celebration of literacy and the power of education
  • Award-winning illustrator of Stolen Words and Nutcracker Night
  • Classroom guide for educators forthcoming

Bahram Rahman was born in Kabul, Afghanistan, and grew up during the civil war and the Taliban regime. He earned a medical degree at Kabul Medical University and a master’s degree in public policy at the University of Erfurt, Germany, while also working as an activist in Afghanistan in the areas of gender equality and youth political participation. Bahram came to Canada as a refugee in 2012, and today he is a senior policy advisor at the Ministry of Health in Ontario. He wrote The Library Bus, his first picture book, to document the struggle for education experienced by the women in his own family and to draw attention to the barriers that still exist for millions of children, especially girls, living in war torn countries today.

Gabrielle Grimard transformed her love of design into a career in illustration over the course of her studies at Concordia University and the University of Quebec. In 2018, Gabrielle’s picture book Stolen Words won the Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award and was a finalist for the TD Canadian Children’s Book Award. Not My Girl was a USBBY Outstanding International Book. Her creativity has been applied to children’s publishing, advertising, and educational contexts.

Contributor Website
For more information, please contact

Laura Bowman, Sales & Marketing Manager
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West Coast, Quebec, East Coast:
Louis Anctil, Louis Anctil Agency
[email protected]
For more information contact
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Praise for The Library Bus

2020 Northern Lights Book Award: Multicultural Category Winner

? STARRED REVIEW “The conversational text is great for one-on-one sharing, but this will also come in handy at story times, for a celebration of reading, and for a glimpse of Afghani culture.”—School Library Journal Starred Review

“In a story inspired by the first library bus in Kabul, Afghanistan, where Rahman grew up during the civil war, it brings books to girls in remote villages and refugee camps who have no other access to education.”—The New York Times

“The girls’ individualized faces and emotions will establish a bond with children everywhere as Rahman celebrates the brave and resourceful Afghani women teachers from his childhood who found creative ways to educate girls.”—Booklist

“An inspiring story that conveys the power of education—paying it forward and meeting avid readers where they are.”—Kirkus Reviews

“The reassuring watercolor and digital illustrations help convey Rahman’s assertion that ‘when you are born in war, you are truly unaware of the alternative, peace. War is your normal.’”—The Horn Book Guide

“Bahram Rahman, who worked as a gender equality activist in Afghanistan, delicately portrays in his first picture book the continued effects of the Taliban’s prohibition on female education….Closed with an author’s note sharing his connection to the story, The Library Bus extols the soaring spirit of those who value learning.”—Shelf Awareness

“Bahram Rahman’s The Library Bus is inspired by growing up in Afghanistan and by the children he met during visits to orphanages and camps in Kabul....Gabrielle Grimard’s characteristically warm style and her animated representation of Pari and the other children beautifully brings to life the vitality and potential of the girls in the book.”—Quill & Quire

“Although the book deals with heavy and complex themes, there is still a lightness to the story that attracts and engages young readers….The illustrations by Gabrielle Grimard are equally appealing and capture Rahman’s tone and the power of books and education, while celebrating the bond between mother and daughter.”—Asian Review of Books

“The story is simple and heartwarming and underscores the importance of literacy and schooling for girls and gently points to the political challenges—repressive regimes, poverty, refugee camps—that preclude education for young girls.”—The International Examiner

The Library Bus reminds us what a luxury it is to learn to read....Award-winning illustrator Gabrielle Grimard brings this story to life with water-colour paintings of the refugee camps, villages, and the little children who live there.”—Montreal Review of Books

“Drawing upon very real conditions confronting Afghanistan girls wanting an education, The Library Bus by the collaborative team of author/storyteller Bahram Rahman and artist/illustrator Gabrielle Grimard is an extraordinary, original, thoroughly ‘kid friendly’, and highly recommended addition to family, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”—Midwest Book Review

The Library Bus is a gentle day-in-the-life book that introduces readers to a beautiful country. Highly Recommended.”—CM Magazine

“Inspired by the first Library Bus to operate in Kabul, Bahram Rahman…has written The Library Bus to show how important it is for girls to be allowed to go to school….Gabrielle Grimard’s pictures wrap around whole pages with watercolour and digital abandon.”—Winnipeg Free Press

“This nicely illustrated picture book looks at the importance of education for everyone. At the end of the book the author writes about what it was like growing up in Afghanistan.”—Postmedia

The Library Bus by Bahram Rahman is a picture book, a gently told story of Pari and her mother who operates a library bus in Afghanistan….A great read to discuss the plight of refugees with young children.”—The International Educator

Also Available

Stolen Words Melanie Florence 9781772600377 $19.95 CAD Sep 05, 2017
Lila and the Crow Gabrielle Grimard 9781554518586 $21.95 CAD Oct 11, 2016
Not My Girl Christy Jordan-Fenton 9781554516254 $21.95 CAD Jan 09, 2014
Nutcracker Night Mireille Messier 9781772780918 $22.95 CAD Sep 27, 2019

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