The librarian’s special book is The Pictorial History of the War Between the States.
The librarians provide Bud with many different kinds of books. After all, Bud is a boy on a mission. He wants to know more about his past, and he is not content with orphanages and foster homes. He finds solace in the library, where he gravitates toward books he can learn from. When the librarian gives Bud a book of maps, for example, she comments that he is very different from his mother.
She said, "And if I remember correctly you and your mother had quite different tastes in books. I remember your mother used to like mysteries and fairy tales, isn't that so?" (Ch. 9)
She remembers that Bud used to ask about the Civil War a lot, and tells him she has a surprise for him. He tells her he is excited, but he is not too hopeful because he knows “the kind of things librarians think are special” and they are usually not the kinds of things boys do.
Bud does not want to tell her that history is not his thing, but he liked the gory pictures from the civil war books. However, he did like this book because it was a pictorial history so it was full of those gory pictures he liked, so he decided it “really was a great book.” Before he knew it, he had spent the whole day reading. Engrossed in the book, Bud hadn’t known time had passed.
The library becomes a home to Bud when he doesn’t have one. It is a connection to his past, and an escape from his present. The librarians get to know him and appreciate him, and they nurture his mind and body. Like the woman who remembered his mother, they look out for him. They provide a safe place for him, and nourishment for his body and mind, but also his heart.