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Waiting for the Biblioburro


Ana loves stories. She often makes them up to help her little brother fall asleep. But in her small village there are only a few books and she has read them all. One morning, Ana wakes up to the clip-clop of hooves, and there before her, is the most wonderful sight: a traveling library resting on the backs of two burros-all the books a little girl could dream of, with enough stories to encourage her to create one of her own.

Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, award-winning picture book creators Monica Brown and John Parra introduce readers to the mobile library that journeys over mountains and through valleys to bring literacy and culture to rural Colombia, and to the children who wait for the BiblioBurro.

A portion of the proceeds from sales of this book support Luis Soriano's BiblioBurro program.

La premiada autora Monica Brown y el aclamado ilustrador Joe Cepeda se unen para crear éste impresionante tributo a dos de las personas mçs influentes del siglo veinte.

Reviews and Awards:

medal From The Christopher Awards

In Waiting for the Biblioburro (Tricycle Press/Random House Children's Books), author Monica Brown and illustrator John Parra craft a tale for kindergartners inspired by traveling librarian Luis Soriano who carries books to children in rural Columbia on his two donkeys.

From Kirkus Starred Review

Inspired by Colombian librarian Luis Soriano Bohórquez, Brown's latest tells of a little girl whose wish comes true when a librarian and two book-laden burros visit her remote village.

Ana loves to read and spends all of her free time either reading alone or to her younger brother. She knows every word of the one book she owns. Although she uses her imagination to create fantastical bedtime tales for her brother, she really wants new books to read. Everything changes when a traveling librarian and his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, arrive in the village. Besides loaning books to the children until his next visit, the unnamed man also reads them stories and teaches the younger children the alphabet. When Ana suggests that someone write a book about the traveling library, he encourages her to complete this task herself. After she reads her library books, Ana writes her own story for the librarian and gives it to him upon his reappearance—and he makes it part of his biblioburro collection. Parra's colorful folk-style illustrations of acrylics on board bring Ana's real and imaginary worlds to life. This is a child-centered complement to Jeanette Winter's Biblioburro (2010), which focuses on Soriano.

The book is perfect for read-alouds, with occasional, often onomatopoeic Spanish words such as "quiquiriquí," "tacatac" and "iii-aah" adding to the fun. (author's note, glossary of Spanish terms) (Picture book. 4-8)

From Publishers Weekly

Brown (Side by Side/Lado a lado) and Parra (Gracias/Thanks) gently portray alifestyle 180 degrees from modern, technology-centric schooling. In rural Colombia, "Ana bathes her little brother and feeds the goats and collects the eggs to sell at the market," all the time longing to be back in her house reading her one and only book. The arrival of a librarian riding a burro brings more books and inspires Ana to write a book of her own. The traveling librarian and his donkeys, Alfa and Beto, are based on a real Colombian biblioburro, also the subject of Jeanette Winter's Biblioburro (2010). Parra's naïve-styled acrylics brim with scenes of country life. A palette of salmon pinks and turquoise and sky blues, painted on board, give the book a rough-hewn, handmade quality and an innocent, childlike appeal (with her wide face, delicate features, and rouged cheeks, Ana even resembles a porcelain doll). In a metafictional ending, readers will notice that the book Ana hands the bibliotecario upon his return is this very book--fitting, as this truly is Ana's story. Ages 4-6. (July)

From The Horn Book

"Ana has read her book, her only book, so many times she knows it by heart." The resourceful girl has also been making up cuentos for her little brother ever since the teacher left her remote village; still, the unexpected arrival of a librarian riding a burro, bringing stories to tell and books to share, is a joyful event. Impatiently awaiting the bibliotecario's next visit, Ana reads avidly, draws, and writes, finally creating her own book. This sample of the impact of traveling librarians on rural children, inspired by a Colombian teacher-librarian, not only celebrates their work but eloquently portrays a matchless way to inspire learning: by feeding the natural hunger for story. Parra's decoratively stylized acrylic scenes portray a sunny, orderly village with adults at work while cheerful children take responsibility for tasks, yet still have time for imaginative play, eager reading, and listening. Small, brown-faced Ana's enthusiasm is contagious, and the satisfying denouement, in which she donates her homemade book to the traveling collection, is just right. Spanish words (defined in context and in a glossary) add a useful dimension, as does an author's note.

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