Have you ever used a bookmobile? Hey, wait a second, Beth – bookmobile begins with B. You’ve already done B. Bear with me a moment, and you will C where I’m going with this. 😉

Bookmobiles are marvelous inventions that bring books to people who otherwise wouldn’t have access. Here in North America, there is usually a library somewhere, even if the bookmobile means nearby access.

For some people, both adults and kids, books are only available when the bookmobile arrives. Those bookmobiles can take many forms – including, sometimes, camels. (Aha! There’s the C!)

9781590780930_p0_v2_s192x300Title: My Librarian is a Camel: how books are brought to children around the world

Author: Margriet Ruurs

Publisher: Honesdale, PA : Boyds Mills Press, 2005

Genre: Picture book, nonfiction

Audience Age: 4 and up

Themes/Topics: access to books, bookmobiles, libraries, traveling libraries

Opening Sentences: In Australia, there are more than five thousand libraries. About seventy-two of those libraries are on wheels.

Synopsis: Through photographs and text, Margriet Ruurs takes her readers to thirteen countries, and introduces them to an amazing variety of traveling libraries.

Each two-page spread includes rich color photographs of traveling libraries, librarians and children using the libraries, vividly written descriptions of the libraries and the conditions in which they travel, and a side box with information about the country.

The countries span Australia, Azerbaijan, Canada’s extreme north, England, Finland, Indonesia, Kenya (that’s where they use camels), Mongolia (sometimes camels are used there, too), Pakistan, Papua New Guinea, Peru, Thailand, and Zimbabwe.

Besides the buses and trucks we might expect, there are also camels, elephants (in Thailand), donkey carts, boats, bicycles, and even wheelbarrows on the beach (in England).

People want and need access to books, and it is wonderful to see the creative ways libraries reach out to serve that need.

Here’s the author’s webpage about the book, including a video trailer and links to teacher’s guides.

For Further Enrichment:

This book gives a sampling of ways that libraries find to get books into people’s hands. It can be fun to research other ways that libraries do this, and ways that we can do this, as well.

The Book Bus organization provides access to books in Africa, Asia and South America. They champion literacy, as well. There are opportunities to get involved and to support their work on their website. (And there are fabulous illustrations by Sir Quentin Blake. I first became aware of the Book Bus organization when I purchased reusable book bags featuring Quentin Blake illustrations at Waterstone’s in Walton-on-Thames, England, in 2011.)

Give A Book is a yearly campaign that gets books into kids’ hands at this time of year. Information about this year’s campaign is available today, November 28. Check out their website and see how you can participate! (And look! Their logo is a WHALE!)

FirstBook is an organization that gets books into the hands of children year-round. You can learn more about this organization and donate, if you choose to, at their website.

Little Free Libraries is a program that gives you a hands-on way to share books. By putting up a small structure and stocking it with books that are free for people to take or contribute to, you’re helping to keep people reading. Here’s the website for more information.

There are many other ways to share books – please feel free to tell about those you know of in the comments.

Shiny Letter C

C? This post WAS about the letter C after all! C is for book-sharing CAMEL!

And a big thank you to my friend, Linda Boyden, who introduced me to this wonderful book!

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