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My Librarian Is a Camel: How Books Are Brought to Children Around the World
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
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
on June 23, 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.! It might awaken our sensibilities to the lengths some governments go to take *LEARNING* to the people. In Mongolia motor bikes have replaced camels & horses to deliver books; in Peru & Zimbabwe donkey carts are used. All over the globe in hard-to-reach areas people are making great effort to bring literacy to children & others hungry for learning. We can cheer, too, for inter-library exchanges to fulfill assignments, for research and/or just plain JOY.

After reading a recent National Geographic poll we can see that people's apathy is as serious as gaps in knowledge. Reviewer mcHAIKU believes this would seem pathetic, if it were not so frightening. CHEERS for Ruurs' engaging book that brings us a gift of optimism.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
on November 18, 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:

Australia
Azerbaijan
Canada
England
Finland
Indonesia
Kenya
Mongolia
Pakistan
Papua New Guinea
Peru
Thailand
Zimbabwe

Do look into Biblioburro: Biblioburro
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
Format: HardcoverVerified 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. Then the librarians tote boxes of books on their shoulders for four hours. As they come to each village, they drop off books and medical supplies. In a few weeks they will repeat the process.

Ruur leaves a few questions unanswered. Who funds these libraries? Who funds these books, as surely all are not returned. She mentions one foundation in Mongolia, where there is almost no illiteracy! Other readers may be curious and want to participate.

Ruur makes clear the importance of the mobile library. What matters is that children are being served where they are. This is a very fine book about dedication at its best and and a promotion of the love of reading in the most unlikely places. Every school library in the United States should buy this book and every librarian should share it with her students, if only to show that children everywhere love books!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on January 4, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Each country that is discussed in this book is filled with children who love to read. It was most interesting to see the various methods of delivery of books throughout many countries in the world. This is also a great introduction to world geography.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on April 23, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
This is a great book for teachers and children alike. So much to learn and wonderful for cross curricular teaching.
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on March 21, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
I purchased this as a gift for our elementary school librarian. She was thrilled !! Lovely book !
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on November 1, 2014
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
My students and grandchildren love it!
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on October 14, 2011
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
As a preschool teacher, I'm required to expose my children to multi-ethnic and multi-cultural components. At the end of the school year, before they go to Kindergarten in the fall, we talk about the things that they will do at school and the people they will see. One of those things is going to the library to pick out a book to take home and the librarian. This book illustrates to American children children in other parts of the world "go to the library". The photos are fun and colorful and it amazes my 4s & 5s to see that children get to the library in different ways. Adults like this book too. Our parents and staff are always wanting to borrow it. Very informative and educational for children and adults, especially those who are librarians.
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on February 18, 2015
Format: HardcoverVerified Purchase
Great book!
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