I’m a library dog and I’m interested in all things library. I love my local public library and the libraries at the local schools. They are fabulous, magical places always filled with kids. Kids that are travelling to far away places in their imaginations. But did you know that there are places in the world that don’t have libraries? Can you imagine being a child and not being able to visit a library? Imagine not having books in your home or at your school? Imagine not having a school?! There are places like this for real! Not just imaginary places.
I found a book about just such a place. In Columbia, which is far away in South America. The book is called Biblioburro. It is written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter. ( This is the author who gave us another book about a library — The Librarian of Basra.) It was published in 2010 by Beach Lane Books. It’s suitable for ages 6 and up.
This is a true story about a truly remarkable man. From the book – “Deep in the jungles of Colombia, there lives a man who loves books. His name is Luis. As soon as he reads one book, he brings home another. Soon the house is filled with books.” He needs to find something to do with all of his books! So Luis decides he can share them with people in the faraway hills who have no books.
He gets 2 donkeys to carry the books and paints a sign to hang on their backs: BIBLIOBURRO. Which means donkey library! Every week he loads books onto the donkeys and travels far away through rivers and jungles, over mountains and past bandits until he reaches a village where the kids have no library and no school and no books. And he tells them stories and reads them books and leaves each child with a book to take home. Then Luis makes the long trek back to his own home to read his own book.
This is such a heartwarming story! It’s nice to think that there are people like Luis in the world who can make such a positive difference in a child’s life! The illustrations in the book are quite lovely as well. They are big and bright and give the feel of the jungle and the happy kids.
We read this book with some 4th graders and had a nice discussion about what it would be like to not have a library. Then we talked about how special Luis is. The kids tried to come up with ways that they could be special, too. They thought about learning about other places that might not have books and about trying to collect books to donate to kids who need them. We even have kids in our own community who don’t have books at home. That’s a sad thing. Books are powerful things and have the ability to connect us all.
So now your heart is warmed and full and you can go check out the book — Biblioburro! You’ll be glad you did!
And then you can check out all the other Perfect Picture Books at Susanna Hill’s blog. Enjoy! And go out and do something powerful!