Every once and a while we come across truly wonderful and inspiring people who see a need that requires fulfilling and figure out how to do that. Often times their stories are covered up by those who deserve less attention. But! Sometimes, when the stars align, their stories become wonderful books, videos and inspirations. Meet: Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter and the real life heroes who inspired her tale: Luis Soriano Boroquez, his burros Alfa and Beto, and their amazing traveling library! That’s right: traveling library, soak up that goodness for a second.
In Biblioburro, we meet Luis and his donkeys through gorgeously lush illustrations (also by Winter) that accompany vibrant text. Biblioburro is about a man who spends his spare time bringing books to rural children who would otherwise have no access to them (he even helps them with their homework!). Luis runs this operation like a true library: he keeps track of which books the kids check out and when he comes back to their village, they can exchange them for a new one. Yes, libraries, borrowing books, exchanging one great tale for another, remember those kids?! Winter’s text is right on point for the targeted age group (K-2) and the bright cheerful pictures make this book perfect for story time.
I love this story. Allow me to say it again: I love this story. A man who wants to share his love of books with the world. A man who recognizes that you don’t have to save the whole world to truly be a hero, a bastion of compassion, sharing and friendship. Winter’s text and beautiful illustrations capture this little corner of Colombia perfectly, teeming with flora and fauna. Her book would lend itself well to small discussions on what it means to live somewhere without books (which would probably have to be explained after you explain how people live places without PlayStations and DirecTV…but maybe that’s just me being cynical). What if your kids were so inspired by Luis and his burros Alfa and Beto (HA! get it: “Alfabeto” Spanish for alphabet) that they want to do something for the impoverished children in your town who don’t have access to books? Now wouldn’t that just be something truly grand?!
I cannot recommend this little gem of a book about this incredible man enough. I solemnly guarantee your kids will be enthralled by Winter’s illustrations and this not-so-tall tale.
Cheering for everyday heroes everywhere,
Bonus: Here’s a great little (5 minute) documentary about The Biblioburro. Spanish with English subtitles).