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.

Disclosure: I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Library Week: Honoring Libraries Around the World

Did you know February is Library Lover’s Month is some regions? To honor the importance of libraries, we are holding Library Week here at Wrapped in Foil. Look for a series of posts about big libraries, little libraries and libraries with four legs. Find out about some unique and special ways people are distributing books to their communities, protecting libraries, and promoting literacy around the world.


What better way to honor libraries than with books? Let’s start out with My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World by Margriet Ruurs, which lives up to its intriguing name by revealing ways people find to distribute books to children in remote areas of countries from Australia to Zimbabwe.


You may be familiar with bookmobiles, but would you believe libraries that share books by wheelbarrow, libraries by boat, by bicycle, by elephant and yes, even by camel? Ruurs has collected the stories over the years, and gives them a personal touch by corresponding with the librarians who have found surprising ways to supply books to their clients in the most remote locales. In fact, the color photographs scattered throughout the book were taken by the local librarians documenting their exceptional libraries.

In addition to teaching children about libraries, My Librarian Is a Camel could also be used to accompany a unit on geography. There is a map of the world with all the countries from the book labeled, as well as smaller maps for each country in sidebars with the country’s map, capital, population and official language.

Age Range: 8 – 12 years
Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (August 1, 2005)
ISBN-10: 1590780930
ISBN-13: 978-1590780930

Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books by Susan L. Roth, Karen Leggett Abouraya and illustrated with collages by Susan L. Roth would also be useful to accompany a geography/history lesson, and much more.

Hands Around the LibraryBased on events that occurred in January 2011 during the nationwide protests in Egypt, this book reveals a spontaneous demonstration of support for the Alexandria Library. As crowds of protesters streamed by the library, some people were concerned there might be looting or worse. Instead, some of the protesters broke away, joined hands, and formed a human chain around the library to protect it. To them, the contents of the library represented freedom, a freedom that deserved protection.

In addition to the collage illustrations, the book contains a two-page spread of photographs of the library, the protesters, and the human chain. The notes in the back explains how author/illustrator Susan Roth has a personal connection with Egypt through a friend and had visited the library prior to 2011. She also facilitated a Skype sessions between students in the U.S. and Egypt (see more at the website). In the back matter she explains the connection of the new library to the ancient Great Library of Alexandria, which was burned down in 400 CE. She is obviously very passionate about this.

Although the suggested age range for the book is 3-5 years old, I would say this book would work best with early elementary, especially if you extend it using the back matter and educational activities from the accompanying website (link below).

Hands Around the Library: Protecting Egypt’s Treasured Books is a great way to start conversations about libraries, but also many other topics as well. Delve into it today!

Fabulous educational links and activities about libraries:

Hands Around the Library educational activity page has an extensive list of original news stories from the 2011 revolution in Egypt, suggested questions for discussions, and eight project ideas to extend the book, including making a collage about your own library.

A World of Readers: Libraries Around the World lesson plan (uses links to libraries around the world)

List of library projects around the world

Age Range: 3 – 5 years
Publisher: Dial; First Edition edition (August 30, 2012)
ISBN-10: 0803737475
ISBN-13: 978-0803737471

Disclosures: These books were from my local public library. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.


Nonfiction Monday is a blogging celebration of nonfiction books for kids. Join us at the new Nonfiction Monday blog.

Observing Multicultural Children’s Book Day with Lin Yi’s Lantern

Since I decided to make this a year of multicultural reading, it was thrilling to find out about Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature coming up on January 27, 2014.

Pinterest collage

The co-creators of this event are Mia Wenjen from Pragmatic Mom and Valarie Budayr from Jump Into a Book/Audrey Press. They have done a wonderful job generating excitement and promoting the event. The two women have gained the support of several groups interested in creating diversity in children’s literature, including the sponsors  Wisdom Tales Press, Lee & Low Books Chronicle Books, and Susan Daniel Fayad: Author of  My Grandfather’s Masbaha.

After agreeing to participate, I found out I would be receiving a picture book from Barefoot Books World Cultures collection to review (they have been publishing multicultural children’s books for over 20 years!) I couldn’t wait to find out which one. Imagine my pleasure when I found out it was about a Chinese boy getting ready for a festival. What a perfect accompaniment to the books about the Chinese New Year already featured this week! The book:



Lin Yi’s Lantern by Brenda Williams and illustrated by Benjamin Lacombe is a fictional picture book about a young Chinese boy who is helping his family get ready for the autumn Moon Festival.

The first thing you notice when you open the book is the delicate gouache illustrations by Benjamin Lacombe. If you have never seen his work, try his website which is currently featuring a book trailer for his mind-blowing Madame Butterfly (also available at YouTube.)

Although the art catches you eye, what draws you in is Brenda Williams’ soft, yet compelling text. The story starts with Lin Yi’s mother reciting a list of items Lin Yi needs to buy at the market for the Moon Festival. Lin Yi repeats the list several times as he tries to navigate the perils of the market. He has to chose between his duties and his desire to have a red rabbit lantern for the Moon Festival. Should he buy the lantern, even though it would mean not buying one of the items on his mother’s list? If he doesn’t, will the lantern be gone?

The back matter includes “The Legend of the Moon Fairy,” which ties in with the story, instructions for making a Chinese lantern out of paper (see below) and a discussion of “Market Life in China.” All are excellent ways to extend and add depth to the story.

Lin Yi’s Lantern is a beautiful book with an important message. It is one to relish again and again, and would be a lovely addition to any library.

Related Activities:

Barefoot Books has a free downloadable instructions for the activity to make a paper lantern on its Arts and Crafts Activity page for kids (scroll down)

Reading is Fundamental has several free downloadable educator and activity guides to accompany this book, as well.

Red Ted Art has more instructions for making paper lanterns and for attaching small ones to fairy lights.

Paperback: 32 pages
Publisher: Barefoot Books (September 1, 2012)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1846867932
ISBN-13: 978-1846867934


Why should we read and promote multicultural books? The mission statement for the event explains:

Despite census data that shows 37% of the US population consists of people of color, only 10% of children’s books published have diversity content. Using the Multicultural Children’s Book Day, Mia and Valarie are on a mission to change all of that. Their mission is to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these types of books into classrooms and libraries. Another goal of this exciting event is create a compilation of books and favorite reads that will provide not only a new reading list for the winter, but also a way to expose brilliant books to families, teachers, and libraries.


And even more:

On January 27, 2014 Barefoot Books will be hosting a giveaway on their Facebook page.

Bloggers participating in Multicultural Children’s Book Day: Celebrating Diversity in Children’s Literature are shown below. Most will be posting this week and all the posts will be linked up to the book day site on Monday.

2GirlsLostInaBook · 365 Days of Motherhood · A Bilingual Baby · A Simple Life, Really? · Africa to America · After School Smarty Pants · All Done Monkey · Andi’s Kids Books · Anita Brown Bag  · Austin Gilkeson · Barbara Ann Mojica ·  Books My Kids Read · Bottom Shelf Books · Cats Eat Dogs · Chasing The Donkey · Children’s Book-a-Day Almanac · Children’s Books Heal · Church o Books · CitizenBeta · Crafty Moms Share · Discovering The World Through My Son’s Eyes · Early Words · Flowering Minds · Franticmommy · Gathering Books · GEO Librarian · Gladys Barbieri · Going in Circles · Growing Book by Book · iGame Mom · I’m Not The Nanny · InCulture Parent · Itsy Bitsy Mom ·Just Children’s Books– Kid World Citizen · Kristi’s Book Nook · Mama Lady Books · Mama Smiles · Mission Read · Mother Daughter Book Reviews · Mrs AOk · MrsTeeLoveLifeLaughter · Ms. Yingling Reads · Multicultural Kids Blog · One Sweet World · Open Wide The World · P is for Preschooler · Rapenzel Dreams · School4Boys · Sharon the Librarian · Spanish Playground · Sprout’s Bookshelf · Squishable Baby · Stanley and Katrina · Teach Mama · The Art of Home Education · The Brain Lair · The Educators’ Spin On It · The Family-Ship Experience · The Yellow Door Paperie · This Kid Reviews Books  · Trishap’s Books · Unconventional Librarian · Vicki Arnold · We3Three · World for Learning

Getting Ready for the Chinese New Year with Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas

To get ready for the Chinese New Year, which starts January 31 in 2014, we are participating in a blog tour for the lively picture book Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas by Natasha Yim and illustrated by Grace Zong.


Goldy Luck isn’t enthusiastic about taking turnip cakes to the Chan family for the New Year. After all, things hadn’t been going that well for her the previous year and she just woke up. Things get even worse when she spills the turnip cakes on the Chan’s floor, is so hungry she eats their food without permission, and accidentally breaks their furniture. Will her bad luck ever end?

Author Natasha Yim has built her story on the familiar and comfortable tale of “Goldilocks and the Three Bears,” but has made it fresh by adding details of Chinese New Year traditions and a new ending that gently teaches children about responsibility and conflict resolution. I was not surprised to learn that Yim has training in counseling as well as English, because her expertise shows.

Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas is delightful. After reading it, I was excited to come up with some ideas for activities to extend the book. I hope reading it encourages you to learn more about the Chinese New Year and Chinese traditions, too.

Craft and Activity Ideas Inspired by Goldy Luck and the Three Pandas and to Celebrate the Chinese New Year:

 1. Find the Chinese New Year’s items in the illustrations

With a copy of the book, can you spot these items/things traditionally associated with the Chinese New Year (in the illustrations)?

  • A red envelope
  • Peach or plum blossoms
  • Oranges
  • Red and gold decorations
  • A dancing lion
  • Lanterns
  • Chinese animal zodiac (not the one in the back)

Can you find any other items with symbolic meanings? Use the Author’s Note in the back matter for clues.



2. Make Congee

The type of porridge mentioned in the book, congee, is made of rice that has been boiled until soft. Often chicken broth or stock is added for a savory dish, but it can also be made using water and adding fruit or sweeteners when served.

A child-friendly congee can be made overnight in a slow-cooker.


  • 1 cup jasmine rice
  • 8 cups water

Have the child(ren) measure rice and water into slow-cooker (crock pot). Cook on low setting overnight, or eight to ten hours.


Allow to cool slightly and add ingredients you might add to a bowl of cooked oatmeal.


  • Sweeteners such as brown sugar, honey, maple syrup, or agave syrup, to taste
  • Fruit such as sliced apples, peaches, apricots, bananas, etc.
  • Small amounts of milk, soy milk or rice milk

Two out of three members of our household love this!

The Red Gingham has a chicken and corn congee made in a slow cooker more suitable for an evening meal.

3. Obtain and learn how to use chopsticks

Learning how to use chopsticks is a wonderful way for children to develop fine motor skills and hand strength. For example, Montessori programs often incorporate chopsticks in their lessons.

This video shows both the technique of using chopsticks and and some of the traditions surrounding their use. To add depth, the narrator speaks in Chinese as well as English.

Aren’t the “Hello Kitty” chopsticks cute?

Family Chic has a DIY Dinner Table Game using chopsticks and blocks that looks like a lot fun, and which could be adopted to an educational setting.

4. Make paper cut-outs

The Chinese have been making paper cut outs or paper carvings called Jianzhi for many centuries.


This video contains a tutorial on how to start some simple designs.


  • Colorful paper cut in a square
  • Scissors
  • Pencil
  • Examples of Chinese Jianzhi (see for example my Pinterest board below)

Fold the paper into a triangle, and then cut shapes from it (basically like the traditional paper cut snowflake). Unfold and see the design. Great for teaching symmetry.

Display in a window for the Chinese New Year.

Want even more? Try:

Nonfiction children’s books about the Chinese New Year (from Monday’s post)

For more crafts, try my Chinese New Year Crafts Pinterest board.

Jeff at NC Teacher Stuff also has a review.

Be sure to see this guest post about how the book came to be.

Age Range: 4 – 8 years
Grade Level: Preschool – 3
Hardcover: 32 pages
Publisher: Charlesbridge (January 7, 2014)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1580896529
ISBN-13: 978-1580896528

Disclosures: The book was provided electronically for review purposes by the publisher. I am an affiliate with Amazon so I can provide you with cover images and links to more information about books and products. As you probably are aware, if you click through the highlighted title link and purchase a product, I will receive a very small commission, at not extra cost to you. Any proceeds help defray the costs of hosting and maintaining this website.