Welcome to Kids’ Books Bolivia
Kids’ Books Bolivia is a series of bilingual children’s books written by undergraduate students on the SIT Study Abroad Program in Cochabamba, Bolivia. This reciprocity project contributes to the production of affordable books celebrating Bolivian reality and serves to raise international awareness about Bolivia’s rich cultures and pressing social issues.
We use all proceeds to subsidize low-cost books, book donations and workshops for Bolivian children, schools, libraries, community organizations and literacy programs.
During the months of May and June 2013, Skylar Sasson presented I Always Dreamed of Having a Store to several students at Avenues: The World School. Skylar began by reading to a class of third-graders on the afternoon of May 23, 2013. She was pleasantly astounded by their mature behavior and insightful inquiries and was excited to share new Spanish and Aymara words with the language-learning students.
Similarly, Avenues’ librarians were extraordinarily impressed with Skylar’s story and her interactions with the students. They not only invited her back to present to another third-grade class on June 4, 2013, but the school’s librarians also offered her the opportunity to be considered for the newly created position of Associate Librarian at Avenues NYC.
Through the “avenue” of I Always Dreamed of Having a Store and Kids’ Books Bolivia, Skylar developed a strong partnership with both the unique and newsworthy program of Avenues: The World School, as well as with its students and their teachers.
Kids’ Books Bolivia was invited to participate in the 2nd Feria de la Lectura in Sucre, Bolivia on April 27, 2013. This event was organized by La Fundación BibliWorks and included expositions and activities by a number of organizations working with children and youth in Bolivia. The event was attended by children from dozens of elementary and high schools in Sucre. Heidi Baer-Postigo represented Kids’ Books Bolivia at the event, accompanied by SIT Bolivia alumna Aliya Ellenby of Colectivo Katari and Julie Kurtz of Comunidad Ecoactiva Kusikuna. They organized activities with children using our new educator toolkits recently developed for use with 12 of the children’s books written by students on the SIT Bolivia program. The new educator toolkits are currently at press and will be available by the end of this week.
On April 5, 2013, Skylar Sasson returned to her alma mater, The Calhoun School, in New York City to share I Always Dreamed of Having a Store (Siempre he soñado tener una tienda) with a group of nearly fifty fifth-graders. As Calhoun purchased a classroom set of forty copies, most students had already read the book as an assignment for their Spanish class. Skylar’s presenting the book aloud in both Spanish and English solidified students’ understanding of the story and its themes and led to a robust dialogue about protagonist Lucy’s life in neighborhoods Villa Nueva Potosí and Tocoli, Bolivia. Calhoun’s Spanish students were shocked to learn about Lucy’s lack of indoor plumbing and could hardly believe that Skylar spent time in Bolivia without Facebook, cell phones, and television. Skylar urged them to apply for grants to travel abroad in middle or upper school, as she accomplished when traveling to El Salvador, Argentina, and Israel, in part through the Claudia Curfman Castellana Memorial Fund Grant of the Calhoun School.
The above image appeared in a post from Calhoun’s alumni Facebook page, with the following text:
Skylar Sasson ’08 dropped by today to read from and talk about her new book, I Always Dreamed of Having a Store, with 5th grade Spanish students in the library. Having already read the book, which draws on Skylar’s experience in Bolivia, the 5th graders were enthusiastic to meet the author and ask her questions.