CentroNía is a nationally recognized multicultural learning community based in Washington, DC. CentroNía’s mission is to educate children and youth and strengthen families in a bilingual, multicultural environment. The CentroNía family includes over 2,500 students and families in Washington, DC and Takoma Park, Maryland — and with the help of Kids’ Books Bolivia, CentroNía’s Library is bringing stories of Bolivian culture, cuisine, social issues, daily life, and customs of indigenous communities to those we serve.
CentroNía works to ensure academic excellence and reinforce the importance of reading and learning at school and at home. The generous donation of Kids’ Books Bolivia will give CentroNía’s students access to nearly 60 new bilingual and trilingual books written by undergraduate students studying abroad in Bolivia. These titles will be used in CentroNía’s community library, classrooms and homes to increase bilingual literacy and teach children about the colorful culture of Bolivia.
A big thank you from the children and families of CentroNía to Kids’ Books Bolivia!
To learn more about CentroNía and how to get involved, visit
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.
On October 12, Heidi Baer-Postigo and Aliya Ellenby (of Colectivo Katari) gave a presentation about Kids’ Books Bolivia and the upcoming teacher’s toolkits at the South America branch of the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY del Sur) during the International Book Fair in Cochabamba. The Kids’ Books Bolivia project was well-received by authors and literacy organizations in Bolivia and Argentina.
On October 9, 2012, Skylar Sasson traveled to P.S. 171 in East Harlem, New York City to read her book, I Always Dreamed of Having a Store, to a group of 30 fourth and fifth graders in the GOAL after school program. GOAL (Giving Open Access to Learning) is a NYC-based nonprofit that provides structured educational and motivational programs for kids in underserved NY communities. As a student-centered after school program, GOAL represents an early intervention strategy that helps these children succeed in school in order to obtain greater opportunities.
Because the message of I Always Dreamed of Having a Store so fully connects with that of GOAL, Skylar’s hour with these students made a truly exciting impact. GOAL students were utterly impressed that Lucy, the protagonist of I Always Dreamed of Having a Store, traveled by herself — at their age of ten — to a new city to work to make money for herself and her family. They were also thrilled that Skylar could speak, write and read Spanish –especially as the vast majority of their families derive from Spanish-speaking countries like the Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico. Students were very eager to learn about Bolivia’s weather and landscape, laughing at the number of animals Skylar was able to see in the Bolivian countryside. They marveled at the Bolivian handicrafts Skylar brought, including a woven bag with cholitas and earrings made from leaves of the jacaranda tree. Among other lessons, the GOAL students walked away repeating ja-ca-randa, ja-ca-randa with giggles and smiles.