The Biblioburro

Real-life everyday heroes deserve to have their stories told, and thanks to these two great picture books, kids can read about the inspiring Biblioburro — a travelling library that operates from the backs of two burros (donkeys) — from two different perspectives: that of the Biblioburro’s humble creator, primary-school teacher Luis Soriano, who started the ambitious initiative in La Gloria, Columbia, as a means for him to bring books to the children living in poor rural villages who have no access to any (in Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro); and that of a fictional little girl Ana, who lives in one of these small villages that the Biblioburro travels to (in Monica Brown and John Parra’s Waiting for the Biblioburro).

For the past 15 years, Luis has been tirelessly hauling up to 200 books to and from the various remote villages with the help of his faithful burros, riding for arduous hours under the scorching sun to get to his destination — yet it’s easy to see his motivation when you watch the YouTube video below showing the bright-eyed and enthusiastic children who eagerly anticipate his visits. Besides supplying books for the children to read, Luis also reads to them and helps them with their schoolwork.

Thus, both Biblioburro and Waiting for the Biblioburro show how one person’s determination and commitment can make a real, positive difference in the world; Luis’s Biblioburro and the children who depend on him are also a stark reminder of the importance of books, literacy and the public libraries that we tend to take for granted.

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