What It Is
This new book features the true story of a young man, named Luis Soriana, who lives in the jungles of Columbia and loves books. But, he had so many that they took up too much space in his house, and his wife asked him to do something about it. He came up with the idea to share his books with kids in poor regions and set out with his burros who he called the “Biblioburro” or “Burro Library.” Every week they travel to a different village and encounter some challenges, such as a stream which one burro hesitates to cross, and even danger as they are held up by a robber looking for money. (The inclusion of a gun in the illustration, however, hardly seems necessary.) The children eagerly welcome Biblioburro’s arrival as Luis stays to read a story and allows each child to borrow a book. At the end of the book, there is a brief history of Biblioburro, which Luis began in 2000 with just 70 books and, through donations, now has a library of 4,800.
Why It’s Fun
Luis’ story is a great example of the rewards of “paying it forward.” A person can make a difference even if they have very little themselves. Luis shared his passion for reading with those less fortunate and, as Jeanette Winter beautifully writes, “a small corner of the world is enriched.” Her illustrations have a very joyful feel and seem to reflect the Columbian culture, which is a nice change from traditional children’s books.
Who’s Going To Love It
Non-fiction and biographies should be a part of a child’s literary repertoire and this is a great choice as a book to borrow from the library because it is a very light and quick read. Plus, it’s a great bonus for parents when they can teach young ones about another culture. Of course, adults may learn something new too! The publisher’s recommended age is 6-9, and while Luis’ mission is inspirational, kids older than six can absorb more details so I’d actually recommend this book for kids six and under.
About 2-3 minutes
7 out of 10
By: Written and Illustrated by Jeanette Winter
Published by: Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing (2010)
Approximate retail price: $16.99 (hardcover)
Publisher’s recommended ages: 6 - 9