Sunday, January 22, 2006

My Librarian is a Camel: How Books are Brought to Children Around the World

Ruurs, Margriet. 2005. MY LIBRARIAN IS A CAMEL; HOW BOOKS ARE BROUGHT TO CHILDREN AROUND THE WORLD. Honesdale, PA: Boyds Mills Press. ISBN 1590780930 [Suggested Grade Levels 3-6]

Most of us have probably never stopped to think about how children around the world get library books or even if they do. In this delightful volume, Ruurs highlights 13 countries to show us exactly how it is done. Beginning with Australia and its high-tech solar paneled mobile libraries, we then move on to more rural countries such as Azerbaijan, and then to the Inuits of Canada who receive their books in the mail. For each country presented, there are photographs of children reading books, information about how long they may keep their library books and how they return them. There is also an inset with a map that covers the basic geographical facts of each country as well as a picture of its flag.

The most inspiring stories are those from countries such as Indonesia where the books come from boats and then are bicycled throughout the rural countryside to reach children who are hungry for books. In Kenya, camels bring the books and they are set up on wooden shelves with grass mats set up for children to sit on. In Pakistan, foreign aid has provided librarians with book buses to bring books to children. Unfortunately there are too few books to share. Children are given one hour to read their book and then they must return them to the bus. The extent to which adults are willing to go to get books to children who are eager to read is an inspiration, especially to us Americans who are lucky to have so many choices.

Invite children to write to one of the aid organizations listed in the back of the book to determine how best to help out.

Mora, Pat. A LIBRARY FOR JUANA. ISBN 0375806431
Winter, Jeanette. THE LIBRARIAN OF BASRA. ISBN 0152054456

By Cay Geisler

No comments: