Thursday, May 22, 2008

A Little Gem of a Book

My Spanish book discussion book introduces me to all kinds of unique books written by Hispanic authors. In the course of the last few months, I’ve read a book narrated by a cow, a novel based on the horrific Trujillo regime in the Dominican Republic, and a novel about a man who is at his married lover’s house, together with the woman’s two year old child, when the woman suddenly dies.

This latest book, Kafka y La Muneca Viajera (Kafka and the Traveling Doll) by Jordi Sierra I Fabra is based on true events. Shortly before his death from tuberculosis at age 40, Franz Kafka was walking through a German walk when he saw a young girl inconsolably crying. Unaccustomed to children, he nevertheless approached her and asked what was wrong. She had lost her doll. In an effort to console her, he told her that her doll was not missing, but that she’d grown up and needed to leave home and explore the world on her own. He told her he was the doll’s mailman and that he had a letter for her from her doll, Brigida.

That night, he wrote the first epistle from Brigida in Paris. Over a period of weeks, he presented several letters to the girl from Brigida, describing her worldwide travels and life adventures, helping the girl to accustom herself to the loss and to take pride in Brigida’s growth.

It’s a beautiful, heartwarming tale – even better to know it really happened. It’s the kind of story I’d like to read more of.

Today I visited my local library and saw their children’s Spanish collection. Although it’s not extensive, they do have a selection of books, CDs and DVDs. Since it’s expensive to buy Spanish-language materials, I’m grateful for the public resources.

I also found out that they have a laptime story hour for babies up to 15 months twice a week and a story hour for 3-8 year olds in Spanish once a week. I’ll have to start taking River. I am a huge fan of public libraries and the promotion of questioning and learning. I feel so lucky to live near an excellent one.

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