Libros…travelling library, here we come!

My task, after wrapping up the homework help session with youth in Raimondi, …

???????????????????????????????…unwrapping and cataloguing brand new books as a start to making Centro Esperanza’s dream of a travelling suitcase of books a reality! Thanks to 3000 Nuevo Soles ($1148 CDN or $1083 USD) from Chalice, CE’s efforts to improve literacy skills and instill a love for reading in Project Chiclayo participants will be complemented with much needed materials. Last week I spent many hours with some co-workers looking for the best children’s books in Chiclayo, with the final six hours or so being spent in Chiclayo’s best bookstore.

We do not want to buy just any books, but rather, ones that promote (among other things) good values and virtues, gender equality, love for all people, creativity, the value of dreaming, appreciation for and protection of animals and the natural environment, and healthy self-esteem. This is not an easy task considering that so many books do not promote these values, but rather instill questionable ‘values’, machismo and racism, although sometimes in very discreet ways. As we were looking for books last week, we compared, discussed, laughed at book titles, their content and illustrations and reminisced about books we read as children. While the books we selected were certainly not all about jokes, one of the books we purchased is called Las princesas también se tiran pedos (Princesses also fart, a book that challenges both the typical vision of what a princess is supposed to be and gender norms). Needless to say, sometimes I forgot that I was actually reading children’s books as part of my job.

This reminded me of two quotes:
“Find a job you like and you add five days to every week.” -H. Jackson Brown, Jr. (with my current schedule, six days) and
“Far and away the best prize that life has to offer is the chance to work hard at work worth doing.” -T. Roosevelt

But back to the books: as of last week, about a third of the funds were spent on 54 quality books for children and youth, plus a couple for parents and our CE teaching staff to use as teaching resources. The main bookstore we purchased from gave us a 20% discount plus 20 entries into a draw for one of five 20000 Nuevo Soles prizes for the purchase of books–now wouldn’t THAT be a dream come true? Today as we celebrated the birthdays of five of the CE staff which fall this month here at the office, we all helped fill out the raffle tickets with the hope that we just may win, a dream that would allow us to purchase hundreds of books to share among some of the most culture-deprived citizens of the Lambayeque region. >>Keep your fingers crossed for us, will you?

Getting into the contagious spirit of reading, I recently treated myself to a book by a young Peruvian writer, Claudia Ulloa Donoso. I have not been making enough time to read while in Peru, and while I have enjoyed a few good reads so far, I hope to have a little more time over the holidays to soak up some Latin American literature.

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