Read/watch this when you need inspiration

At the beginning of each new school year I like to share books like these when we talk about leading a readerly life and the importance of libraries.  This year I’ll be adding Jeanette Winter’s Biblioburro:  a true story from Colombia to my arsenal.  This is a beautiful account of Luis Soriano and his mission to bring books by burro to remote villages in his homeland.  As she does with all of her books, Winter takes something  complex and simplifies it for children.  The story is a powerful one and she tells it (and illustrates it) beautifully.

Back in July, PBS aired a documentary on their POV program about Luis Soriano and his Donkey Library.  This is taken from the PBS site:

A decade ago, Colombian teacher Luis Soriano was inspired to spend his weekends bringing a modest collection of precious books, via two donkeys, to the children of Magdalena Province’s poor and violence-ridden interior. As Soriano braves armed bands, drug traffickers, snakes and heat, his library on hooves carries an inspirational message about education and a better future for Colombia.

I watched the film in July when it premiered and I was blown away by the dedication, the compassion, and the selflessness of this man.  Singlehandedly he is an ambassador for literacy under extremely difficult circumstances, and at great personal sacrifice.   Watch the film or read Winter’s book when you need a little dose of inspiration.  Then count your lucky stars!  Here is a lesson plan that you can use with the book and film.  Included in the plan is a link to a 17 minute clip from the full documentary that might fit perfectly in elementary fixed schedules.

According to the PBS site this streaming version of the film will only be available until September 18.  Act now–you’ll be glad you did.

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