Saturday, December 10, 2016

2016 Libros para Todos weekend with Francisco Hinojosa

As the year comes to an end, we celebrated another wonderful weekend in and around San Miguel de Allende, MX with children and author Francisco Hinojosa.

Excitement at El Huizachel
Getting out of bed on Wednesday, Nov. 9th was indeed difficult for me - having to face the he election results in the U.S. The main hope that got me going that day was the realization that we would be among hundreds of children in rural communities of San Miguel who had read this year's chosen book "La Fórmula del Dr. Funes" by noted children's author Francisco "Pancho" Hinojosa. He was joined by his wife, Tanya Huntington. It was an easy way to take our minds off of the election.

A large gathering at El Huizachel.
Pancho signing books
Early we were off to the community of El Huizachel with 150 children, with many that were bused from other communities to join together. It is hard to describe the joy of the children when they realize that they are meeting the author of the book that they had all read together. Their teachers have been involved from the beginning. This year we held two teacher's workshops to help them plan their classes of reading with various exercises for the children. Besides reading, many wrote about each chapter in the notebooks that were provided to them as well as drawings.

Drawings about chapters in the book.
Pancho read one of his other books "La peor señora del mundo" which the children enjoyed. After questions and answers, Pancho spent time signing each book with the name of each child. This time also allows all of us volunteers to interact with the children, looking at their notebooks and enjoying the camaraderie. 

the mamas providing lunch for all
All the while on the side of the outdoor area where the children were sitting, the local mamas were preparing a lunch for their children, for us, and for the invited children from other schools. It is amazing to see how they can work with little to provide so much.

The after school programs meet in SMA
Handing out bookmarks
"Team" Libros - Armida, Susanita and Daniela

After leaving El Huizachel we headed back to San Miguel for another event at St. Paul's Church. Here we met with several after school programs which came by bus from their communities. Others were local to San Miguel. The program was similar - Pancho read his book, answered questions and again signed all the books. Each child also received a bookmark with information about Libros para Todos. Several of the children presented Pancho with special drawings that they made.


Signing books at La Cuarilla
Showing their notebooks at La Cuadrilla
La Cuadrilla
Thursday November 10th was another full day. First was the community of La Cuadrilla  for 75 kids and then directly to the community of Los Ricos where we were to meet 100. As in years past, this involved walking about one mile and crossing a little footbridge as during or after the rains, the road is flooded and impossible to pass with a vehicle. 

Authors of the last 3 years - display at Los Ricos
Walking across the bridge to Los Ricos
The events in each community were similar but the communities are all so different. The common ground was the fact that they were all so well prepared and the smiles would warm the hearts of all. We are working to find out whether these special events have long term effects for the children with respect to their reading. In this, our fourth year, we have seen more interest in the teachers, especially as a result of our teacher trainings.

Listening intently at Los Ricos

Friday morning the group had quite an adventure when they went to Estancia de San Antonio. The bus that had been hired to take the children from Naciones Unidas, a private bilingual school outside San Miguel was too large to go down the road to this small community. Somehow, another local bus was procured after waiting a bit at the side of the road. The children, along with Pancho, changed buses and off they went, only to break down at the side of the road along the way. After more time and a repair of the problem, the buses headed along to Estancia de San Antonio where the teachers, students and mamas were waiting (they were approximately one hour late). The plan was to share food - the parents of the local school preparing for the families in the campo and vice versa so there was NO way that we were not going to have this all happen. It did happen and went smoothly. For the children on the bus it was a real adventure and Pancho had time to sign all the books and make direct connections with all the children. As they say - a good time was had by all.

Saturday morning we had one large event of 200 people, mostly children from local schools as well as rural communities who were again bused into San Miguel. For these rural children, coming to San Miguel and to Bellas Artes, one of our most beautiful buildings, is a special treat. After the event when there was still time before their buses would pick them up, they were able to wander through the various art galleries. For many, this too was a first.

As we are now in the planning mode for the coming year I would like to THANK all our family and friends for the support for this project this year and the years past. I am proud to have started this and also proud of Daniela Franco who has taken the lead as the Director of this project and we are growing in many ways. Our team is larger and we have had some successful fundraising programs so that we will be starting the new year with a Writing Workshop for 20 children in February (they will write their own small books), a "Pop Up Library" that will be set up in one or more rural communities and plans for a "Spring" read with local authors. This is all in addition to our planning for another "Big Read" in November 2017. THANKS to all.

1 comment:

  1. Un gran año para nuestro proyecto Libros para Todos. ¡Vamos por otro gran año en 2017!