Books Books about Books Dusty Bookshelves and Library Loot Meta-Reading Non-fiction Wednesday Nonfiction Picture Books Reading Themes

[Nonfiction Wednesday] Bringing Books to Children Across Countries – and a Call for Organizations, Scholars, Institutions that Use PictureBooks for Social Justice


Myra here.

We are delighted to join the Nonfiction Picture Book meme 2017 hosted by Alyson Beecher @ Kid Lit Frenzy. We would also be linking our nonfiction choices with our reading themes throughout the year.

This book landed in my hands at the perfect time. My co-researchers and I are working on an edited book where we hope to highlight how organizations, academics, teachers, librarians, publishers use picture books for social justice. This non-fiction text is a clear example of such an initiative.

My Librarian Is A Camel: How Books Are Brought To Children Around The World

Written by: Margriet Ruurs
Published by: Boyds Mills Press, 2005
ISBN-10: 1590780930 (ISBN13: 9781590780930) 
Borrowed from the Jurong West Public Library. Book photos taken by me.

This book is inspired by a newspaper article that the author read about a camel in Kenya that brought books to young people in remote, desert villages. This sparked off an idea which made Margriet Ruurs learn about initiatives that are being done across 13 countries: Canada, England, Finland, Azerbaijan, Pakistan, Mongolia, Peru, Zimbabwe, Kenya, Thailand, Indonesia, Australia, and Papua New Guinea.

I hesitate saying “around the world” since 13 countries do not necessarily a whole world make. Regardless, I remain amazed by how much the author has learned through her research and it does make one reflect on whether we appreciate our community libraries enough.

While we do have quite a number of wonderful libraries here in Singapore with lots of new titles, I did not grow up with that kind of privilege back in the Philippines. Hence, I make it a point that my daughter and I visit the library every week. This book shows readers just how problematic the access is to really good learning materials in some areas, and how deeply committed people are in bringing truckloads or boatloads of books to impoverished areas. Some even bring books by elephant – how cool is that?

These are the kinds of initiatives we hope to feature in our academic professional development book. If you know of any more literacy projects that are similar to these kinds of grassroots-driven initiatives that aim to use picture books for social justice, please do leave a comment in this post and I will do my best to reach out to you.

Myra is a Teacher Educator and a registered clinical psychologist based in Al Ain, United Arab Emirates. Prior to moving to the Middle East, she lived for eleven years in Singapore serving as a teacher educator. She has edited five books on rediscovering children’s literature in Asia (with a focus on the Philippines, Malaysia, India, China, Japan) as part of the proceedings for the Asian Festival of Children’s Content where she served as the Chair of the Programme Committee for the Asian Children’s Writers and Illustrators Conference from 2011 until 2019. While she is an academic by day, she is a closet poet and a book hunter at heart. When she is not reading or writing about books or planning her next reads, she is hoping desperately to smash that shuttlecock to smithereens because Badminton Is Life (still looking for badminton courts here at UAE - suggestions are most welcome).

3 comments on “[Nonfiction Wednesday] Bringing Books to Children Across Countries – and a Call for Organizations, Scholars, Institutions that Use PictureBooks for Social Justice

  1. I loved this book. It’s wonderful that the author researched and found so many ways that people delivered books. Each time those books arrive, it must be a celebration! The bookmobile is a fond memory for me growing up in a little town. The librarian began to bring books for me after learning what I loved to read. Thanks, Myra.


  2. I enjoyed this book and loved seeing the creative ways people have promoted literacy!


  3. What a fascinating project you are working on! I’m looking forward to hearing more about the completed book!


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

%d bloggers like this: