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.