Latino/a Kid Lit Challenge: Biblioburro

Today we are reading for the 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge:

2014-reading-challengeand for our ongoing Library Week.


The story of Luis Soriano Bohórquez and his quest to bring books to inaccessible areas of Columbia via burros is inspiring. We are featuring two picture books that share his story with children: Waiting for the Biblioburro by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, and Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter.


Waiting for the Biblioburro is told through the point of view of Ana, a child who loves to read books. Ana has read her few books many times, so she is excited when the librarian who carries his library on the backs of donkeys visits her. She has new books to read!

Brown uses a touch of magical realism and a sprinkling of Spanish words to give the story a sense of place. There is a glossary of the Spanish vocabulary in the back matter.

Monica Brown has a curriculum guide to accompany her book (see left sidebar at website).

Age Range: 5 – 8 years
Publisher: Tricycle Press (August 9, 2011)
ISBN-10: 1582463530
ISBN-13: 978-1582463537



Told from Luiz’s point of view, Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia reveals the details of how Luiz conceived of his idea for the traveling library and some of the challenges he faces. It is filled with bright, colorful illustrations.

This video shows real life Luiz and his library:

PBS has a film about Luiz and his Biblioburro, plus a plethora of background information for educators.

It was interesting to read some of the criticisms of these two books when preparing for this post. Some people criticized Monica Brown’s book for not exposing the truth about the hardships Luiz faces in Columbia (for example, here). In fact, Brown does not identify Luiz by name in the text. In contrast, Winter’s version specifically mentions that Luiz has been threatened by a robber, which some parents have thought was too disturbing for their children to read.

What do you think? Should children’s picture books reflect harsh political realities or should the back stories be left to the individual parents or educators to supply?

Age Range: 6 – 9 years
Publisher: Beach Lane Books; 1 edition (June 8, 2010)
ISBN-10: 1416997784
ISBN-13: 978-1416997788

Also available in Spanish:
Biblioburro: Una historia real de Colombia

Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Juventud (October 2010)
Language: Spanish
ISBN-10: 8426138160
ISBN-13: 978-8426138163

Look for 2014 Latin@s in Kid Lit Reading Challenge books on the third Wednesday of each month.

Interested in multicultural children’s books? Follow the our pinterest board.

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