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).

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The Snatchabook by Helen Docherty and Thomas Docherty

Any kid who counts snuggling with a book as part of his/her nightly bedtime ritual, should definitely consider him/herself lucky, since there are millions of children out there who unfortunately do not get to enjoy this often taken-for-granted privilege for various reasons. That said, it’s safe to say that the majority of children who do get the opportunity to read, or be read, this wonderful story belong to the fortunate former category.

What makes The Snatchabook particularly successful is not just the fact that the story is highly original and entirely written in rhyming prose that reads beautifully, but that it is structured to be a meta bedtime story about a threat (albeit a not-so-serious one) to bedtime stories. It helps also, of course, that children will have a hard time tearing their eyes away from the seriously staggeringly beautiful illustrations that bring this heartwarming story to life.

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The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore by William Joyce

Sometimes, especially in this era of information glut, it’s easy to forget that there are real people behind the books or even pieces of writing that we read without a second thought — or worse, that we don’t read at all. The truth is, writing from the heart can be a terrifying thing since you are putting a part of yourself out there, to be judged by everyone and anyone, and sadly, as a result, not many people do — write thoughtfully, that is.

Books are inanimate objects, but they come alive when we read them because they’re someone else’s thoughts, ideas and imagination painstakingly put into words. When you think about it, isn’t it quite incredible that a small part of who a person is can live on long after they’re gone, via their words and stories?

The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore is thus a timely paean to books that will be etched in your memory for a long time, particularly if you are a bibliophile.

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