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My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World Hardcover – August 1, 2005

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 3-5–Ruurs visits 13 countries and explores the manner in which librarians provide services to patrons using everything from boats and wheelbarrows to elephants. Many of the full-color photographs were actually taken by the librarians themselves. A boxed section also provides a map and basic facts about the featured country. While this is an attractive browsing item, the amount of text on each page and the textbook style of writing may discourage students from reading it cover to cover. However, with little information available about libraries of the world, this title offers a glimpse into the world of books, which several countries consider as important as air or water. This might be an interesting revelation to many students who consider reading a laborious task and to those who take an abundance of books very much for granted.–Anne L. Tormohlen, Deerfield Elementary School, Lawrence, KS
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 3-5. Bookmobiles are only the beginning. For less-accessible locales think donkey cart, bicycle, camel back, elephant, even wheelbarrow. In a series of compelling case studies, Ruurs presents examples from 13 countries--Azerbaijan to Zimbabwe--of children and books being brought together thanks to dedication, hard work, and ingenuity. Specific details are sometimes scant, and readers eager to know more about or wanting to support these grassroots efforts will be disappointed by the incomplete contact information. Still, this inspirational survey, with lots of color photographs of children with books in their hands, adds a worldwide perspective to Kathi Appelt's Down Cut Shin Creek: The Pack Horse Librarians of Kentucky (2001). For readers a little hazy on the location of the 13 countries, a tiny map and a capsule description are included on each spread. John Peters
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved

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Product Details

  • Age Range: 8 - 12 years
  • Grade Level: 3 - 7
  • Lexile Measure: 980L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 32 pages
  • Publisher: Boyds Mills Press (August 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590780930
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590780930
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 9 x 10 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #43,000 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Books - they are windows to the world and truly open doors. I have written over 27 books for children and read books all the time - from Avi to Zolotow.

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

9 of 10 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on October 4, 2005
Format: Hardcover
How are books brought to children around the world? We're used to a library consisting of a building - but some move from place to place by bus, boat, and even animal or wheelbarrow. Mobile libraries are often the only ways books come to remote world locations - and My Librarian Is A Camel comes from libraries around the world. Margriet Rurrs asked librarians to share stories about their libraries: the result often was not only a verbal description and stories, but color photos: all of which are included in this lively, unusual, and enthusiastically recommended title.
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By mcHaiku on June 22, 2006
Format: Hardcover
What could be a more precious gift than learning to read? It's time for Santa to take second place! Do children today really lack interest in our 'wider world'? Writers for newspapers & magazines frequently write about *GEOGRAPHICALLY-CHALLENGED* young people. Author Margriet Ruurs' book tells children of the many ways in which libraries are brought to the doorsteps of readers in thirteen far flung countries in this world. It isn't dry-as-dust information -- it is exciting & colorful; mind-boggling in some instances.

Our Bloomington (IN) daily paper does print a map frequently with squibs of news from about ten 'hot spots' on this Earth. Everyone could gain by studying such a map & adopting a regular habit of "connecting the dots" between countries and happenings, and between happenings and long-term effects on individual lives, and our Universe.

In Australia huge trailer-trucks are solar-powered & very high-tech, powering computers and air conditioning, plus. A librarian-storyteller travels with the materials and keeps kids' minds stimulated with stories.. In Azerbaijan (former Soviet republic) there are funds for sending library trucks to only two refugee settlements. In contrast beach deliveries of books are made in England with wheelbarrows!

Native Inuits in Canada rely on the mail service with prepaid 'returns.' Finland supplies a boat for service to outer islands, some of which are populated only during the brief summer. Indonesia provides boats & bicycles for deliveries. The most dramatic carriers are in Kenya where camels carry tents for 'setting up shop' with boxes of books . . . AND, in the mountainous areas of Thailand elephants go on 20-day round trips to make their deliveries! Imagine elephants instead of Bookmobiles here in the U.S.!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By M. Heiss on November 17, 2011
Format: Hardcover
We loved the book "Biblioburro" by Jeannete Winter, about a schoolteacher loading books onto a burro and traveling to remote villages in Colombia.

Having loved that book, we were not as wild about this book, "My Librarian is a Camel." For one thing, there were many variations on the "getting books to rugged areas" theme, but the answers mostly came down to:

a) transport the books to the people via some inventive local conveyance
b) mail the books to the people

For another thing, the book read like old Soviet propaganda, or like a UNICEF brochure. The tone is not as noticeable if you only concentrate on ONE culture's solution, but to read the whole book of them gets annoying. To quote, "When the Storyteller arrives at the gates of our school, we file out of the school in orderly lines and find our books." p.23

Lastly, at times there were very odd interruptions to talk about the eco-friendliness of the roving libraries.

13 innovative solutions, sorted by country name alphabetically:

Papua New Guinea

Do look into Biblioburro: Biblioburro
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Judy K. Polhemus VINE VOICE on December 1, 2007
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
"Neither rain nor snow, nor sleet nor dark of night shall stay these couriers from the swift completion of their appointed rounds." The postman's creed, you say? Yes, but now it applies to a new group of people: mobile librarians.

Margriet Ruurs, writer and educator, read a newspaper article describing the mobile library in the desert areas of Kenya. She began to wonder if children in other remote areas receive books. Thus began the scrapbook of mobile libraries from all over the world. After Ruur made the contact, librarians shared stories and photographs of their unique mode of book delivery. Ruur includes a total of thirteen mobile libraries. Each shows a two-page spread containing a map insert of the country's location, a box about the area, and the story and photographs of each mobile library in action.

Because there are thousands of islands in Finland's geography, the library goes to the children by boat. In the northern Lapland region of the Artic, a book bus serves Lapp children in Finland, Sweden, and Norway.

In Mongolia a book minivan and a horse-drawn wagon take books to the herders' children in the Gobi desert. In Azerbaijan a blue truck serves refugee settlements. The children love their "library-in-a-truck." In fact, the librarian wrote: Because these children have nothing, not even school, "the mobile library is as important as air or water."

Loaded with crates of books, elephants are library assistants in taking books to children in northern Thailand. Homeless children in Bangkok have access to a classroom and library in old, transformed train carriages in stations around the city.

The most dedicated delivery of books occurs in Papua New Guinea, where trucks with four-wheel-drives go as far as they can.
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