Waiting for the Biblioburro

Written By: Monica Brown

Illustrated By: John Parra

Before Reading

Preview and Predict

Enjoy looking at the cover and illustrations with your child. Ask what s/he thinks is inside this story by asking:

What do you observe on the cover?

Where do you think this story will take place?

What do you think will happen in this story?

Have your child make guesses about the girl or the man on the cover. Ask questions like, “Who do you think this person is? What do you think s/he will be like?

Tell your child that this book is historical fiction. See if your child already knows what that means. If not, explain to him/her that means parts of this story are true, or based on truth, but the story itself is not real.

As You Read

Your child can easily pick up on the patterns of literature by talking about books as s/he reads. To help identify the setting of the story, ask your child:

Where does this story take place? How can we tell?

How is this place similar to where we live?

How is it different than where we live?

As this story begins, Ana is dreaming about the world beyond her village. What do you think that world is like?


Monitor Comprehension

As you read, remember to do simple comprehension checks, followed by making connections to your child’s everyday life. For example, “Here, Ana is writing stories. Do you like to write stories? Or, telling stories?” Or, “Ana just loves books. Do you love books?” “Where do we find books now? What would you do if we didn’t have easy access to books like we do?"

After Reading

Make Connections

To ensure comprehension, ask your child about what happened in the book. Who were the main characters, and were the primary places? What happened in the story? Try using the following questions to further explore his/her understanding of the book:

What was your favorite part of the story? Why?

What is the biblioburro? Is it just like a library?

Revisit the questions you answered before reading the book. Were you right? Now that you have read the book, what three words would you use to describe Jane?

Ana’s dream of having someone read her stories to other children comes true at the end of this book. What dreams do you have?


Talk About Dreams

Continue the conversation about dreams! Talk to your child about dreams and what we can make possible when we help each other. If your child has trouble coming up with dream to share, consider sharing one of your own dreams from when you were a child, or more recently, with your child. This will help start up the conversation.

Ana dreams of stories, cuentos, and writes a book. What are your dreams? What can we do to make this dream a reality? What do you think other kids your age dream about? What can we do to make their dreams a reality?

Luis Soriano Bohorquez and his Biblioburro inspired this story. What dreams did the librarian, bibliotecario, dream that made him want to bring a biblioburro to Ana’s village?

Extending the Story: Colombia Comes to Life

Supplies: Books or websites on Colombia and the Biblioburro, paper, colored pencils, a hole punch, and yarn for binding your book.


Ana lives in Colombia. Luis Soriano Bohorquez and his biblioburro in Colombia inspired the story Waiting for the Biblioburro. Do some research on the countries in Colombia and make your own Colombia book.

Create a colorful cover for your book, inspired by Colombian art. Write and draw what you learn about Colombia on each page. When your pages are complete, use the hole punch on the left side of each page, and bind the pages together using yarn. Some of the questions about Colombia that you may want to answer to get your book started include:

  • What are the villages and cities like?
  • How do they seem similar to or different from where we live?
  • What are schools like?
  • What do children do for fun?
  • What stories do children enjoy?
  • What special art or music do people love?
  • What foods do people eat?
  • What kinds of pets do children have?

When complete, consider making a book for your own city or town, including the same topics for each page. Then, compare locations!