September 2005

October 2010
Dear Hewlett School Friends,
Don’t you love October?! The cool, crisp mornings, the leaves falling from the trees
in various shades of red, yellow and brown and the smells of apple cider and pumpkin
bread remind us that autumn’s glory beckons. October is also a favorite of mine
because it is National Book Month and like booklovers the world over, there’s a lot of
great reading to look forward to this season.
Since it is National Book Month, it has become a tradition at our school to put a
spotlight on books this month. A list of activities will be included in this letter, and as
always, October’s Book of the Month selection provides a heartfelt story about the
value of books in a child’s life. Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown is
based on the true story of librarian Luis Soriano Bohorquez who travels to remote
villages in Columbia, with the help of his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto, delivering
books to children. His Biblioburro program has become an inspiration worldwide.
The back pages of the book provide a website where you can learn more about Luis
and other traveling libraries. Below is a brief synopsis from Children’s Book Review
and you can click on the short video link from Dateline that is well worth watching.
Ana is probably eight or nine years old; she and her family live in a small village in
rural Colombia. Ana owns just one book, a gift from her teacher before she moved far
away from the village. Remembering the books she has read in the past, Ana tells
these stories to her younger brother.
One morning a stranger comes to the village with two burros carrying crates of books
on their backs. The man explains:
… “I am a librarian, a bibliotecario, and these are my burros, Alfa and Beto.
Welcome to the Biblioburro, my biblioteca.”
“But, señor,” Ana says, “I thought libraries were only in big cities and buildings.”
“Not this one,” says the librarian. “This is a moving library.”
Then he spreads out his books and invites the children to join him under a tree.
The bibliotecario travels from village to village,
allowing children to borrow books for the weeks or months between his visits. Ana is inspired by
the new books she reads to uses her imagination and creates stories of her own.
The author/illustrator partnership is perfect. Monica Brown tells the story in the simplest terms for
the young reader, but the message is carried to all of us. Her incorporation of Spanish words
emphasizes the setting, and extends the learning (the meaning of the words are somewhat obvious
from context, and Brown includes a glossary of the 20 or so Spanish words used in the book). John
Parra‘s illustrations are whimsical (large proportioned heads, fantasy scenes of Ana’s imagination),
yet peppered with details of local culture – clothing, farms, the countryside. You can get an idea of
the quality from the book cover and the inside spread I photographed (admittedly, my photo doesn’t
do justice to the illustrations in the book itself).
An Author’s Note in the back pages of the book tell the story of the real-life librarian who inspired
this picture book. Luis Soriano Bohórquez travels to remote villages near La Gloria, Colombia, his
own Alfa and Beto laden with books. Here’s a great video from Dateline about his mission; the 10minute segment is long, but it will make your day:
Let’s all join in and celebrate our love of reading and books in the following ways.
PTA Scholastic Book Fair - Tuesday, October 4th - Friday, October 7th
PTA Meeting- Tuesday, October 4th - 7:30 pm – Family Literacy
Principal’s Book Club Meetings – Fridays during the lunch hour
October 21st - Grade 5
October 28th - Grade 4
Literary Character Pumpkin Patch - Monday, October 24th- Friday, October 28 th
Book Drops - Book Drops will be placed in the main lobby and outside the office so
students can pick up a new book or drop off an old one.
Guest Readers- Devote a morning to read aloud and follow-up interviews with
grandparents, relatives or people who work in our building who usually don’t have a
chance to read aloud including our secretaries, security guard, custodians
Book of the Month Bulletin Board – Staff and students are invited to bring in
pictures of themselves reading to be posted on our October Book of the Month board
by the library.
The Teachers College Reading & Writing Project 81st Saturday Reunion
140 free workshops throughout the day on state-of-the art methods in the teaching of
reading and writing for grades K-8.
Naomi Shihab Nye- opening keynote speaker
Mo Willems- closing keynote speaker
No registration required. For more information, visit TCRWP website at:
Happy Reading!