The Story of a Book (Hardcover)

The Story of a Book By Joy McCullough, Devon Holzwarth (Illustrator) Cover Image
By Joy McCullough, Devon Holzwarth (Illustrator)
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A gorgeous, joyful picture book following the lifespan of a book as it comes across different readers—and creates a kind of magic along the way.

A new book is
fresh ink on crisp pages
never opened
the words inside
just waiting to be read.

An incredible journey begins for every person who turns the pages. Together, book and reader make a special kind of magic—a magic that’s even sweeter when you share it!

About the Author

Joy McCullough writes books and plays from her home in the Seattle area, where she lives with her husband and two children. She is the author of the middle grade novels Across the Pond, A Field Guide to Getting LostNot Starring Zadie LouiseCode Red, and Basil & Dahlia and the picture books Harriet’s Ruffled Feathers, Champ and Major: First Dogs, and The Story of a Book. Her debut novel Blood Water Paint was longlisted for the National Book Award and was a William C. Morris Debut Award Finalist. Visit her at

Devon Holzwarth is an award-winning American children’s book illustrator. She grew up in Panama, surrounded by nature, her dad’s art supplies, and piles of books. Today, she lives in Aachen, Germany, along with her husband, two kids, a galgo from Spain, and a dachshund from Romania. Visit her on Instagram @DevonHolzwarth and at

Praise For…

"Loosely tracing the circulation cycle of a library checkout, McCullough sings the praises of books and the magic they make with their “perfect reader” in this inviting tribute. . . Vibrantly saturated colors infuse Holzwarth’s curvaceous artwork, which traces whimsical doodles emanating from the treasured object." 


Publishers Weekly

"Children will find much to engage them in the gorgeous gouache and colored pencil illustrations, with dreamy pink and orange trees, yellow houses, and floaty spirals and swirly symbols flowing out of the book indicating the 'magic.' The cast of characters is a lively mix of ethnic backgrounds." 


School Library Journal

"This timely story for book lovers of all ages captures the spirit of connection between book and reader. . . Graceful illustrations project an atmosphere of positivity." 


"In a paean to literature, reading, and choice, a purple book with a yellow star ends up in the hands of different readers. . .  Colorful, detailed illustrations show a diverse cast engaging with the book in school, at home, and around nature." 

Kirkus Reviews

Product Details
ISBN: 9781665903851
ISBN-10: 1665903856
Publisher: Atheneum Books for Young Readers
Publication Date: August 29th, 2023
Pages: 40
Language: English