Collection Development


(Compiled by Aldona Salska, PALA’s co-founder and first president.)


Targeted audience: non-Polish speaking librarians responsible for Polish language collections at public libraries

Goal: to provide a body of knowledge that can guide in developing attractive and respectable Polish collections
at public libraries



Useful websites:

  1. Wikipedia Polish literature. This article describes the major periods in the history of Polish literature and lists the most significant authors and works of each period.
  2. “Popular Polish Classics Books” This website consists of a list 70 significant classic and contemporary Polish titles.

Polish Nobel laureates:

    1. Henryk Sienkiewicz (1905) (literature)
    2. Władysław Reymont (1924) (literature)
    3. Czesław Miłosz (1980) (literature)
    4. Wisława Szymborska (1996) (literature)

Nike Literary Award winners (Polish Pulitzer Prize)

      • This website consists of all prizes awarded since 1997 and the newest nominations.
      • This website consists of prizes awarded up to date with a division between Jury awards and Audience awards

You may consider purchasing these authors and titles for your Polish collection. They are either important classics, or well-known and respected pieces of Polish literature.

      • Adam Mickiewicz (1798–1855), Dziady, Pan Tadeusz
        Dziady is a poetic drama, considered one of the great works of European Romanticism ranked with such works as Goethe’s Faust and Byron’s Manfred Pan Tadeusz, is an epic poem first published in June 1834 in Paris. It is considered by many to be the last great epic poem in European literature. Pan Tadeusz is recognized as the national epic of Poland. A film based on the poem was made in 1999 by Andrzej Wajda.


  • Józef Ignacy Kraszewski (1812–1887), Stara baśń
    Stara baśń is a historical novel published in 1876. The action of the novel takes place in late pre-Christian times, during the reign of mythological ruler Popiel. The story was adapted for the screen by director Jerzy Hoffman in 2003.


  • Juliusz Słowacki (1809–1849), Kordian
    Kordian is a drama published in 1834; it is one of the most notable works of Polish Romanticism.


  • Eliza Orzeszkowa (1841–1910), Nad Niemnem
    Nad Niemnem was written in 1888 during the foreign Partitions of Poland. It portrays the Polish society of mid–19th century in context of the Polish January Uprising against the Russian occupation. The novel was made into movie in 1986 by Zbigniew Kuźmiński.


  • Henryk Sienkiewicz (1846–1916), Quo Vadis; Nobel Prize, 1905, Ogniem i Mieczem, Pan Wolodyjowski
    Quo Vadis? was published in 1896. The title alludes to a New Testament verse (John 13:36). The novel is set in ancient Rome during the reign of the emperor Nero. It has as subtext the persecution and political subjugation of Poland by Russia. In 1905 Sienkiewicz was awarded a Nobel Prize for this novel. It was made into a movie in 1951 by Mervyn LeRoy and in 2001 by Jerzy Kawalerowicz. Ogniem i Mieczem, Potop, Pan Wołodyjowski — trilogy of historical novels published between 1884 and 1886. In 1884 Poles felt powerless against the Partition, only a few remember free country. Raised in the patriotic tradition, Sienkiewicz places these novels in the 17th century –a period of greatness in Polish history that would “revive the heart of” compatriots, and re-establish it in the events of the seventeenth century. The trilogy was made into a movie in 2002 by Jerzy Hoffman.


  • Bolesław Prus (1847–1912), Lalka
    Lalka was published as a book in 1890. It gives a comprehensive, compelling picture of a Polish society in the 19th century. According to many critics of Polish literature Lalka is the greatest Polish novel.


  • Władysław Reymont (1867–1925); Chlopi Nobel Prize in Literature1924
    Chłopi is a novel in four parts published between 1904 and 1909. Each of the four parts represents a season in the life of the peasants — Autumn (published in 1904), Winter (published in 1904), Spring (published in 1906), and Summer (published in 1909). This division underlines the relationship of human life with nature. A film based on the novel was made in 1973 by Ran Rybkowski.


  • Witold Gombrowicz (1904–1969), Ferdydurke
    Ferdydurke is a metaphorical novel published in 1937. It has been translated into many languages and recognized as one of most outstanding works in Polish literature.


  • Jarosław Iwaszkiewicz (1894–1980), Sława i Chwała
    Sława i Chwała is a novel in three volumes published between 1956 and 1962. It is a saga that describes the lives of several families from different social circles over the span of 23 years – from 1914 till 1947.


  • Bruno Schulz (1892–1942), Sanatorium Pod Klepsydrą
    Sanatorium pod Klepsydrą is a novel in the form of a collection of dreamlike, poetic short stories that reflect on death. It was made into a movie in 1973 by Wojciech Jerzy Has. The film won the Jury Prize at the 1973 Cannes Film Festival.


  • Melchior Wańkowicz (1892–1974), Ziele na Kraterze, Tworzywo
    Ziele na Kraterze is a novel published in 1957. It takes a reader through family memories, funny, and sometimes poignant. It is an affirmation of life and love.


  • Wisława Szymborska (1923–2012), Nobel Prize in Literature, 1996 Miłośċ Szczęsliwa i Inne Wiersze
    Miłość Szczęśliwa i inne Wiersze was published in 2007; it is a collection of love Poems.


  • Stanisław Lem (1921–2006) Solaris
    Solaris is a science fiction novel published in 1961.The book is about the ultimate inadequacy of communication between human and non-human species. Made into a film in 2002 by Steven Soderbergh.


  • Czesław Miłosz (1911 – 2004), Nobel Prize in Literature, 1980 Dolina Issy
    Dolina Issy is a novel first published in 1955. It describes life in Lithuanian village at the beginning of 20th century. It is based on the author’s memories of his childhood.


  • Ryszard Kapuściński (1932–2007) any of his works


2) POLISH AUTHORS LOVED BY MANY POLES (frequently checked out at our libraries)

  1. Bakuła, Hanna
  2. Chmielewska, Joanna
  3. Gretkowska, Manuela
  4. Grochola, Katarzyna
  5. Fleszarowa-Muskat, Stanisława
  6. Gojawiczynska, Pola
  7. Kalicińska, Małgorzata
  8. Krajewski, Marek
  9. Kuncewiczowa, Maria
  10. Lemańska, Hanka
  11. Łysiak, Waldemar
  12. Myśliwski, Wiesław
  13. Nurowska, Maria
  14. Osiecka, Agnieszka
  15. Redliński, Edward
  16. Rodziewiczowna, Maria
  17. Rudnicka, Olga
  18. Samozwaniec, Magdalena
  19. Sapkowski, Andrzej
  20. Siesicka, Krystyna
  21. Stec, Dominika
  22. Sowa, Izabela
  23. Szwaja, Monika
  24. Wiśniewski, Janusz
  25. Wolski, Marcin
  26. Wołoszański, Bogusław

3). LISTS OF BESTSELLING TITLES IN POLAND (Polish and international authors)

  1. List of 100 bestselling books in Poland, almost all the titles can be found in vendors of Polish books in Chicago.
  2. List of bestselling books in Poland



  1. EMPIK On this Polish website you will find a wide selection of audiobooks on CD. An average price of one book including shipping is about $12.00



    1. Popular Polish Authors Writing for Children
      • Bahdaj, Adam
      • Brzechwa, Jan
      • Cichy, Ludwik
      • Chotomska, Wanda
      • Domańska, Antonina
      • Gellner, Dorota
      • Iłłakowiczówna, Kazimiera
      • Janczarski, Czesław
      • Jaworczakowa, Mira
      • Jurgielewiczowa, Irena
      • Kamieńska, Anna
      • Kern, Ludwik Jerzy
      • Konopnicka, Maria
      • Korczak, Janusz
      • Kownacka, Maria
      • Kruger, Maria
      • Makuszyński, Kornel
      • Musierowicz, Małgorzata
      • Mycek-Wodecki, Anna
      • Nienacki, Zbigniew
      • Niziurski, Edmund
      • Nowacka, Ewa
      • Nowak, Ewa
      • Papuzińska, Joanna
      • Porazińska, Janina
      • Siesicka, Krystyna
      • Szelburg-Zarembina, Ewa
      • Szklarski, Alfred
      • Tuwim, Julian
      • Twardowski, Jan


  1. Childrens literature recommended by ABCXXI – All of Poland Reads to Kids Foundation
    Złota Lista / Golden list of Reading” for ages from 0-16.




    1. D & Z House of Books
      5714 W Belmont Ave Chicago, IL 60634
      Tel. 1-773-282-4222


    1. Polonia Bookstore
      4738 N Milwaukee Ave Chicago, IL 60630
      Tel. 1-773-481-6968


    1. Quo Vadis Polish American Bookstore
      3400 N Harlem Ave Chicago, IL 60634
      Tel. 1-773-622-1271