More Meta! Books About Books, Part 2

Editor’s Note: This is the second part of a two-part series. Read part one, “Getting ‘Meta with It: Books About Books,” in TulsaKids’ July issue.

One of my favorite “meta” moments with books actually comes from television – Seinfeld, specifically. When Jerry’s friend, Cosmo Kramer, sells a coffee table book, the value-add is that the book turns INTO a coffee table.

How great is that?

None of these books becomes furniture, but they do help children think about books and reading through the format of books, which is wonderfully meta as well.

The Book With No Pictures by B.J. Novak

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I’ve made kids laugh before. I’ve even made kids bend over with laughter. But this is the only book that literally made one child flip over backwards. While you, as the reader, are making completely ridiculous sounds and saying completely ridiculous sentences (choice example: “My head is made of blueberry pizza”), you are also teaching children how books work. That is, that text on the page translates into sounds and words. Learning about print conventions was never so silly – and fun!

We Are in a Book! written and illustrated by Mo Willems

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This is the meta book-about-books to end all meta books-about-books. Our friends Elephant and Piggie realize that they are characters in a book, which is pretty cool. But THEN they realize that books must end; what will happen to them then? (Spoiler alert: They are fine.)

This Is a Story written by John Schu and illustrated by Lauren Castillo

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The cover of this gentle book is of a child hugging a book, and that’s the feeling we want children to have with reading, isn’t it? A love poem to books and reading – including how books help you explore, imagine, laugh and connect – this will make you want to hug it, too!

How Do Dinosaurs Learn to Read? written by Jane Yolen and illustrated by Mark Teague

How Do Dinosaurs

The How Do Dinosaurs… series is an absolute rock star in children’s books, using dinosaurs as quasi-children who must learn how to go to school, be kind to others – and read! In this case, they are taught to be careful and gentle with books, including not soaking them in the bathtub.

Waiting for the Biblioburro written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra

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This lovely bilingual book explores the real-life phenomenon of libraries using animals, bikes and buses to get books to children and families who don’t live near a library building. While a young girl waits for the “biblioburro” (donkeys carrying books), she writes her own book!

Once Upon a Book written and illustrated by Grace Lin


Have you ever felt like you’ve stepped INTO a book’s world? The multitalented Grace Lin shows how one character does exactly this, while returning to her “real” world and back again. A magical journey that your child will want to look at again and again – and that expresses the worlds that reading can open for us all.

I’ll Build You a Bookcase / Te Haré Tu Propio Librero written by Jean Ciborowski Fahey and illustrated by Simone Shin


When you have books, you need a place to put them! Warning: Your child may ask you to build a bookcase after reading this sweet tale.

Our Incredible Library Book written by Caroline Crowe and illustrated by John Joseph

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As this book continues, it becomes crumpled, slightly stained – and well-loved by all of the children who check it out. It follows the different children who check out a book and is very satisfying, “meta”-wise.

Laura Raphael is the Children’s Services Coordinator for the Tulsa City-County Library system.

August 2023 Books About Books Pin

Categories: Books and Literacy