This sweet story of a traveling library is inspired by the real-life story of Luis Soriano, a librarian from Colombia. Ana, a young girl in a small mountain village, loves to learn, but after her teacher leaves, has no access to school. Everything changes when a man arrives with his ‘biblioburro’, a moving library that comes to visit her village. Ana and her friends listen to story after story, until the biblioburro moves on. While Ana is sad that he is no longer around, she (thanks for some prompting from mom) continues to replay stories in her imagination and eventually realizes that she has new stories of her own to share.
John Parra, yall. His work is a straight up Latin-whimsical-fantasy-dream. If you haven’t heard me talk about Parra yet, here we go: He draws on his own Latino heritage for inspiration in his work, and his love for Mexican folk art is apparent in this story. He weaves together a world through the eyes of a young child’s imagination, and his illustrations literally feel like they are opening possibilities all around, unlocking and inspiring stories all around us.
We love this glimpse into a rural village in Latin America (presumably Colombia). We love the way the characters are portrayed– displaying the beautiful creative power in Ana and her friends, and showcasing the heroic selflessness of the bibliotecario(librarian). Ana is relatable and inspirational, both for kids who share similar stories, and for those kids who don’t, but who can connect with her big-dreams-wild-imagination child-heart.
The Biblioburro has inspired us in so many ways. Our first biblioburro came with us to our annual reading festival, Book Fiesta, and he continually inspires us to fight for ways to get good books into the hands of children who don’t have them.
Waiting for the Biblioburro
Written by Monica Brown
Illustrated by John Parra
Pick it up at your local independent bookstore,
like Starline Books in Chattanooga,
or find it here at Amazon!
(There’s a bilingual version here!)
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Learn more about Luis Soriano & his Biblioburro!
Here’s some lesson material from PBS
it’s for highschoolers, but can easily be adapted for younger students!