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Waiting for the Biblioburro/ Esperando el Biblioburro

Region: Latin America, Colombia


Author: Monica Brown

Original Language: Bilingual: Spanish-English

Translator: Adriana Domínguez

Illustrator: John Parra

Genre: Contemporary fiction

Descriptors: animals; friendship; literacy; traveling libraries

Age: 2-8 years old


Waiting for the Biblioburro, written by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, is a magical story about a young girl’s search for literacy in a remote village near La Gloria, Colombia. After her teacher moves away, Ana reads the same book until its words are etched in her memory. She makes up stories of her own to lull her little brother to sleep at night. Then, one day, an unexpected visitor rides into town on two donkeys. This man is a bibliotecario, a librarian who travels with books strapped to his donkey friends, Beto and Alfa. Tantos cuentos! So many stories! Ana’s world opens up just a little wider when the librarian clippity-clops into town with Alfa, Beto, and dozens of books. This story is special because it is based on a real Colombian librarian named Luis Soriano Bohórquez. This traveling librarian and his donkeys brought books to children in remote villages of northern Colombia for over ten years. Monica Brown’s picture book has many appealing elements, such as the art and language. The illustrations are so detailed that there are new pieces of art to discover each time the story is read. The colors featured in the story immediately draw attention because they are rich and vibrant. Additionally, the writing on each page is short, making it accessible to beginning readers and independent readers alike. The English translation has many Spanish words interwoven to keep the cultural integrity of a book written about Colombia. Finally, Brown’s picture book has been published in print and is now available through eBook. Waiting for the Biblioburro is a story that allows children to see how their peers live in a different part of the world.  

More About This Book

Reviewed: Reviewed: print book by Trycicle Press (2016). ISBN 9780553538793. 31 p.  



Reviewed by: Raquel Martinez 

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