What Gets Them to Read Like That?

The Story of the Woman Who Got Millions of Children to Read

Author: Geneviève Patte

Translator: Tegan Raleigh

Price: $55

Published: June 2022

ISBN: 978-1-63400-132-8

240 pages

Thousands of children have discovered the joys of reading thanks to Geneviève Patte, a pioneer in establishing libraries specifically for children and promoting literacy in France. What Gets Them to Read Like That? is the remarkable tale of Patte’s life story and her social engagement as a librarian, which originated with her appreciation of stories told by Parisian refugees her family hosted during the period of the Nazi occupation.

Patte’s experience in the United States as a Fulbright scholar in the 1950s and travels throughout the world have confirmed her dedication to creating the library as a welcoming place, particularly for immigrants and children from marginalized communities. For Patte, the library is somewhere that everyone belongs and everyone’s voice can be heard. What Gets Them to Read Like That? is a passionate story and an ode to the imagination, illustrating the vital importance of granting children autonomy through reading and community-building.

This book was originally published in French as, Mais qu’est-ce qui les fait lire comme ça? Patte is currently the director of “La Bibliothèque Ronde” in the working-class Parisian suburb of Clamart.