Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built

Angela Burke Kunkel, illus. by Paola Escobar. Random House/Schwartz & Wade, $17.99 (40p) ISBN 978-1-984892-63-8
Spotlighting José Alberto Gutiérrez, who founded the first library in his Bogotá barrio by rescuing books from the trash, this moving tale details the power and pleasure of books, with a portion of the proceeds benefitting Gutiérrez’s foundation, La Fuerza de las Palabras. Employing the present tense, Kunkel absorbs readers with graceful prose that seamlessly incorporates Spanish, centering two Josés: one is a child who loves the library, one is the nighttime garbage collector who established it. With its small text size and elevated diction, the prose may initially intimidate, but paragraphs prove engaging (“The day stretches out/ before him, like the streets,/ like the hills”). Stylized digital illustrations by Escobar richly enhance the nonfiction narrative, and an author’s note offers more about Gutiérrez as well as selected online sources. Ages 4–8. (Sept.)
Reviewed on : 08/06/2020
Release date: 09/08/2020
Genre: Children's
Library Binding - 40 pages - 978-1-9848-9264-5
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