Monday, January 13, 2020

Biblioburro: Lesson Plans, Videos, Books & More

Biblioburro Lesson Plans, Videos, Books

Do you know about Luis Soriano? Are you looking for resources to teach about this remarkable man who travels far and wide the mountains of Colombia on his little burro to deliver books to children in remote villages?

His story came across my desk once more this morning and I started thinking that I should share some resources for his inspirational story. So here you go!

This post contains book affiliate links.

Printable Activities & Lesson Plans:




Below are the two children's books that I love. I'm starting with Monica Brown's "Story Behind the Story," in which she shares how she was inspired to write Waiting for the Biblioburro (aff link). This post was originally published first on the Latin Baby Book Club, which is no longer available online.

By Monica Brown
Illustrated by John Parra

The Story Behind the Story
by Monica Brown

I love librarians.  Like me, (and I’ll bet you too if you are reading this), librarians are book people. Book people find joy between the pages of a book, but their passion doesn’t stop there. True book people must share books with others. They believe that placing books in young hands and sharing stories with young minds is meaningful. Luis Soriano is a book person. Luis first came to my attention when I read the New York Times article, “Acclaimed Colombian Institution has 4,800 books and 10 legs” by Simon Romero. Fascinated, I did some research and came across Valentina Canavesio’s short film Biblioburro—The Donkey Library. The story filled me with joy and not a little pride in the resourcefulness and passion of the Latino culture that Luis and I share. Growing up, Luis Soriano did not have the benefit of extensive formal studies and unlimited financial resources. What he did have was vision—and two donkeys named Alfa and Beto. For years, Maestro Soriano has delivered books in rural Colombia to children who don’t have access to libraries. Some don’t even have teachers or schools. But Luis, who received his school degree at 16, and then became a teacher and librarian, has made it his life’s work to change that.

When I wrote Waiting for the Biblioburro, I didn’t want to presume to tell Luis’s story for him, so I created a fictional story inspired by his, from the perspective of a little girl whose life he changes. I contacted Mr. Romero, the writer, and Ms Canavesio, the filmmaker, and through them, reached Luis himself. I knew as I was writing this book that I wanted Luis’s blessing 
— I was lucky enough to get it, and to get to know Luis over the phone and through emails. I also wanted to make sure that his foundation shared in the profits from this work, which my publisher made happen. When I first spoke to Luis over the phone and across thousands of miles, I was felt that I was in the presence of greatness—he is great man with a great heart. Luis shared with me his wish to sow the seeds of creativity and to cultivate dreams in the minds of children.

After talking with Luis, I felt inspired to write an imaginative rendering of Luis’s legacy — a legacy not only of literacy, but of sharing one’s own stories with the world. My story is about a creative little girl named Ana who loves books and reading, but who doesn’t have access to a library, books, or even a teacher.  It’s her story of waiting, discovery, and finding a voice.

I hope that Ana’s story, like Luis Soriano’s vision, will inspire us all to be literacy workers and activist librarians, teachers, parents, and friends. What would you do to bring books to children?  Would you ride a donkey for miles, risking attack and robbery? Would you build a library with your own hands? Luis Soriano did. And we can too. 

Watch the book trailer:

OR you can watch the book being read aloud by Brightly Storytime:

Be sure to visit Monica at

** MommyMaestra note: If you visit Monica's website you can download a curriculum guide for her book for free!

by Jeanette Winter

What a treasure this little book is! Biblioburro is based on the true story of Luis Soriano, a bibliophile and school teacher, whose desire to share the beauty of words with others takes him on a selfless mission throughout the isolated villages of northern Colombia. In 2000, Luis began carrying books to the people in remote areas of his country. His initial collection of 70 books has grown to over 4,800!

Winter tells the joyful story of how Luis began his work and some of his experiences as the mobile "librarian" who delivers books with the help of his burros, Alfa and Beto.

Winter's folk-like artwork is - as usual - a visual treat for children, and captures the tropical setting beautifully. My own children enjoyed drawing scenes and characters from this book after reading it.

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