Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Author Monica Brown talks about growing libraries

Dear Santiago,

I’ve been reading your words and looking at your beautiful art and Wow! I love the idea of “growing” libraries, because like flowers and gardens—libraries need special attention. They may not need sun and water, but they need parents and children and librarians who care about books—children just like you. When I was a kid, I was always escaping into a book. No matter if I was bored or lonely or grumpy—I could open the pages of a book and escape into an adventure of words and art. I think every child should be able to fly away with books, don’t you?

I just finished writing a very special book, called Waiting for the Biblioburro, illustrated by John Parra. I learned so much about libraries and what hard working people will do to bring books to children. Did you know that in Kenya, there are camel caravans that deliver books to nomads in the desert? In Sweden, there’s a “floating library” that delivers books to islands. And my book is about Luis Soriano, who lives in Colombia and who delivers books to poor children in remote villages with the help of his two donkeys, Alfa and Beto! If they can do it—so can we. And I’d like to help by donating a few books to YOUR library of choice.

From one book-lover to another, I wish you and the children of your community the very best!


Dear Monica-
Thank you for writing back to me!
You are incredible and have made so many wonderful books that I have seen like My name is Celia about Celia Cruz who sang so beautifully. You made books about other famous people like My Name is Gabito, My Name is Gabriela. These people are famous writers, poets and music makers right? I like reading and learning about these people who did great things.

What a great idea for a story Monica to write about Luis Soriano delivering books to kids on a burro. I live part of the year in a town in Mexico called San Miguel de Allende and every day I see burros coming down the hill. They carry wood or sacks of dirt in baskets that the farmers sell in town. How I wish that there was a burro in our town who would bring books to kids out in the country who can't get to the library. That is such a good idea I will have to tell the librarians I met there about it and and I can't wait to read this and look at all the pictures.

The story you wrote goes so well with our project of growing a library that it would make me so happy if you would help us get your book.
Could you sign it for our school when it is ready for kids to read? We are making the San Diego Cooperative Charter School library and you can write on the front page that is for us kids. Thank you for sending the pages as I love those amazing pictures by John Parra, I really like how he draws because it makes you feel like you are there and are part of your story. I asked mom today to help me write to him to see if he can talk to us about making art for children's books. Thank you for helping us with this Peace Project and now I know how much you like books like me. I thought you did but now I am sure it's true.

My parents helped me go to your website. Because you are a teacher and a mom they told me how you made a list of all these ideas to help teachers and kids learn more about the books you wrote. I hope people will click here to see all the good things you are doing:


John this last painting is my favorite. I love the one with all the kids listening to stories. There is a drawing I saw once by a great artist Diego Rivera and a teacher is sitting out in the country reading to kids. I will try to find that picture to show you and Monica. It reminds me of when my teacher Mrs. Merrill reads to us. She has a beautiful wooden rocking chair and a beautiful smile and very curly hair.

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