Every time I say Waiting for the Biblioburro, it makes me smile. I love the word biblioburro and I love the sweet story and the librarian who inspired it.
Waiting for the Biblioburro, by Monica Brown, tells the story of a village that has lost the teacher who was the sole source of books for the children. The illustrations, by John Parra, are beautiful and sprinkled with Spanish words, many of which are defined in the glossary.
In the story, the Biblioburro arrives unexpectedly but to the delight of the children.
The librarian tells the children that the Biblioburro is his moving library.
He reads books to the children and encourages them to select books to borrow until he returns.
Ana, the main character, reads of far away places in the books and finds it difficult to wait for the Biblioburro’s return. For me, as I sit in a house full of books, it’s hard to imagine life without books or even ready access to them in a library. Waiting for the Biblioburro may be a child’s tale, but it makes me stop to think about what I have and whether there a way to share my abundance of books.
The story itself is based upon real life librarian, Luis Soriano Bohorquez in Colombia who developed the Biblioburro with the belief that education can change a society. He spends hours on the weekends, after a week of teaching school, traveling to villages to deliver books to children and to spread that message.
PBS has a collection of videos and news articles devoted to Luis Soriano Bohorquez and his Biblioburro. And if you’re interested in supporting his work or other literacy projects, PBS tells you how here.