Laguna BelAir School’s Teachers Feedback on the PaperTigers’ Book Sets (Part 3 of our focus)

Wednesday, January 30th, 2013

Yesterday on the blog we highlighted student feedback from Laguna BelAir School that we received on the 2010 and 2011 book sets. Today it’s time to read some of the wonderful comments we received from the teachers.  As I mentioned yesterday obtaining feedback from our participants is a crucial part of our WaterBridge Outreach project and we are most appreciative of the students and staff at Laguna BelAir School who took the time to share their thoughts and comments on the book sets.

Question: How specifically have the PaperTigers book/s (any of them) helped you to open your pupil’s minds and hearts to other places and other cultures

The PaperTigers books are stories of different countries. Because of this, the stories helped me in opening my pupils’ minds and hearts to other places and other cultures. For instance, the book Rain School relates the culture of children who don’t have a formal school to enter to, yet they still loved schooling despite of their unfortunate situation. The books tackled variety of stories introducing other places specifically remote places and containing adventures of young children. The lessons they hopefully learned might have opened their minds to the fact that more children are still wanting or excited to be educated and that my pupils are more fortunate than them. ~ Ms. Sheila Lumbay, English 1 and 2

Since most of my pupils don’t experience too many hardships in their lives, it is difficult for us teachers to open their minds in the reality of the world. But with the help of the PaperTigers books, they became aware of the different cultures. I have read a pupil’s answer regarding the difference of his life to the lives of the characters in the story. He said that he is fortunate because he doesn’t need to build his own school compared to the children in the book Rain School. With the help of the books, they become thankful with what they get, as well. ~ Ms. Karla Caling, English 3 and 4

Question: What was your favorite PaperTiger book/s among your pupils and why?

The favorite books among my Grade 5 students are One Hen and A Child’s Garden. But most of the students like A Child’s Garden because it is a story of hope despite local conflicts in the country. ~ Mr. James Alvin Mirador, English 5

Biblioburro was the favorite book of my pupils because most of them were able to read and to reflect in the story. The book has inspired them to read and borrow more from the library. In fact, one of their comments says that they also want to be like Luis who was a generous man and really loved reading books and shared those books to the children from far-flung places. ~ Ms. Sheila Lumbay, English 1 and 2

Question: How specifically have the PaperTigers book/s (any of them) helped you teach English and encourage reading among your pupils?

I learned a lot about other cultures and started to get fascinated in books. They said that if you want to learn more vocabulary words, try reading children’s books. It’s true! It widens not only my vocabulary, but also my students’. I could easily motivate them because I incorporated the stories in my lessons. The students and I were hooked with the books. ~ Ms. Emirose Gonzales, English 6 and English Coordinator

Do click here to read the entire teachers’ feedback document.

Highlighting Feedback from 2011 WaterBridge Outreach Participant: Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library, Sri Lanka

Friday, November 23rd, 2012

Our WaterBridge Outreach: Books + Water Nourishing the Mind and Body program (formerly known as Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach)  seeks to further the overall goals of the PaperTigers Program: bridging cultures and opening minds, promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. More specifically, WBOutreach works to advance education through books and reading, and development through clean and accessible water.

Today on the blog we are highlighting feedback from WBOutreach participant Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library located in the Dharma Chakkra Children’s Home in Weedagama, Sri Lanka. Established in 1998, the home provides housing and education for approximately 100 orphaned boys as well as for boys from unstable homes. In 2008 a second children’s home was opened exclusively for girls. Nia Murphy was instrumental in getting a 2011 Book Set to the Dharma Chakkra Child Foundation Library and  for providing us with this feedback:

The books were put in the children’s shared library. Dharma Chakkra has two hostels, one for the girls and then another, about 200 metres away and behind a wall, for the boys. The library is in the boys’ hostel. When I was last at the home the library was open in the evenings for the boys to use freely. Since then they’ve decided to shut it except at weekends when they have library time and English classes. I was told the books were used by the English teacher during these classes. However it was felt the books were a bit difficult for some of the children at the home, many of whom are still struggling with Sinhala, the local language. This is mostly true of the boys but the girls, who unfortunately have less access to the library, are at a higher standard. In hindsight I think a donation only for the girls’ hostel might have been a good idea. This was my mistake.

The overriding feedback was actually about the visuals: that the books showed children things they don’t normally see in ‘normal’ (read affordable) English or Sinhala books. Many of the books they have in the library are very old and extremely out of date. The affordable English books on the market in Sri Lanka are often things like The Radiant Way, which is a very dated old English sort of publication with smiling white children in high socks. Very simply, seeing children in picture books with brown skin is a rarity. So they were particularly excited about this, and the fact the children were seeing worlds not too dissimilar to their own but ones not normally presented in children’s books.

Click here to read the rest of Nia’s report.

New 2011 Feedback from Mount View School in India!

Monday, November 5th, 2012

Mount View School, administered by Mr Hotoshe Sema, is a Nursery to Class 10 school located in rural Suruhuto, in Nagaland, India. This school has participated in our WaterBridge  Outreach: Books + Water project for the past two year and we recently received students’ and administrators’ reactions on the 2011 Book Set.  Here is a brief selection; click here to read all.

Selected students’ feedback:

P:  Rain School – This is the first time I have heard of students and teachers building a school and I admire they way they did it. The language is quite simple and easy to understand. The main character Thomas’s eagerness to learn and read and his aim to have a new school was very inspiring as he had many obstacles but succeeded in overcoming all these with great determination.

A: Biblioburro – Through this book I come to know that without education, even a rich man is nothing. This is a good lesson for me in life.

K: A Child’s Garden teaches us not to give up in anything, especially when it is for good.

Selected teachers’ feedback:

Mr. Mughaka:
Biblioburro – Pleasant and inspiring, with sweet, little pictures.
Rain School – Rumford’s Rain School is an encouraging story which will bring smiles to the readers and listeners. Appropriate for kids of any age.
A Child’s Garden – It is a heartening story. It reminds us that hope and determination, and even little things, can do wonders.

Mr. Abenito:
A Child’s Garden – An appreciable illustration about a never ending (undying) hope and concern for that which matures in a person’s mind and soul for a better living and freedom.
Biblioburro – An inspiring and well illustrated story that imparts the significance an individual can play through books.
Rain School – Rumford’s depictions emphasizing a teacher in inspiring and molding a child are quite amazing and interesting.

New Spirit of PaperTigers feedback: Agape School, Kiphire, Nagaland, India

Tuesday, October 16th, 2012

Agape School has participated in our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach Program for the past two years and recently sent us their feedback (including some lovely photos!) on the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set which was comprised of the following three books:

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope, written and illustrated by Michael Foreman (Walker Books/Candlewick Press, 2009)

Rain School, written and illustrated by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010)

 Biblioburro, written and illustrated by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2010)

Agape School was established by Lipichem Sangtam, a former journalist who gave up his career to start his own school, and serves 180 primary students ages 4-11. In his 2011 feedback letter to us, Mr. Sangtam writes:

The students are doing well and have been greatly enriched by the story books that you have sent. The students composed illustrated stories in response to reading the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set. The beautiful pictures supporting the stories motivated them and they started small paintings with the few colours they have; and they started displaying in the school campus, which is encouraging. The students enjoy reading the books and the quality of the material, which is excellent.

English teacher Jevili Achumi comments:

The stories are filled with images and fanciful layers of illustration which attract the readers. The children were fascinated with the stories, the fanciful characters and the pictures which really take them to the roots. I also appreciate it if the illustrations and stories end up with a best moral.

Here is a sneak peek of the impressive artwork submitted to us. Do take the time to visit Agape School‘s page on our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach site to see more photos! Click here to be taken there.

Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach and feedback from Westwood School in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada

Tuesday, June 5th, 2012


The Spirit of PaperTigers (SPT) Outreach program seeks to further the overall goals of the PaperTigers Program: bridging cultures and opening minds, promoting greater understanding and empathy among young people from different backgrounds, countries, and ethnicities. More specifically, SPT outreach works to advance education through books and reading, and development through clean and accessible water.

Since 2009, the PaperTigers Program has put books into the hands of young readers through schools and libraries, encouraging literacy, developing understanding and making reading a lifelong habit.  Taking this work a step further, SPT outreach is seeking to ensure that, in areas where there is water stress or water scarcity, the children to whom the books are sent will have access to clean water and good sanitation. The possibility of effective education in certain parts of the world is linked to the basic realities of food and water.  By focusing on books and water together – nourishing both the mind and body – SPT continues to promote literacy and encourage children to become “hungry readers.”   Thus our Outreach motto: “Through Books and Water, Education and Development.”

For more information please head on over to our Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach page and be sure to read the latest feedback (and see photos!)  from Westwood Elementary School in Port Coquitlam, BC, Canada!


Reading the World Challenge 2011 – Update 3

Monday, October 31st, 2011

Since my last update on this year’s PaperTigers Reading the World Challenge, we have added some great books to our list.

Together, we have read two new autobiographical picture books: Allen Say’s Drawing from Memory (Scholastic, 2011) and Ed Young’s The House Baba Built (Little, Brown and Company, 2011) – both wonderful, and I’m not going to say much more about them here as we will be featuring both of them more fully on PaperTigers soon. Those are our reading-together non-fiction books for the Challenge.

As our local book, we tried reading a book of folk tales from the North York Moors, where we live in the UK, but discovered the stories formed part of a tourist guide, including instructions for getting around… we extracted what we could but it wasn’t a very satisfactory read. It has made us not take beautifully illustrated and retold folk tales for granted!

Older Brother has read Rainbow World: Poems from Many Cultures edited by Bashabi Fraser and Debjani Chatterjee , and illustrated by Kelly Waldek (Hodder Children’s Books, 2003).  He dipped in and out of it through the summer break and we had to renew it from the library several times…

Older Brother has also been totally captivated by A Thousand Cranes: Origami Projects for Peace and Happiness. After reading the story of Sadako for the Reading Challenge way back in its first year, he’s wanted to know how to make the cranes but I have two left hands when it comes to origami – or at least I thought I did, until I received a review copy of A Thousand Cranes from Stone Bridge Press.  Recently revised and expanded from the original book by renowned origami expert Florence Temko, it’s a super little book, with good clear instructions for beginners like us, and giving background about both the offering of a thousand origami cranes as a symbol of longevity, and specifically the story of Sadako and the Thousand Cranes.  Older Brother, now that he is older, (more…)

Jeanette Winter Gallery new on PaperTigers – and a Biblioburro video to watch…

Tuesday, September 27th, 2011

Enjoy illustrations from 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers book Biblioburro and other books by Jeanette Winter in our online Gallery. The majority of Jeanette’s books are inspired by real people and events: in her recent interview with us, Jeanette said:

I am drawn to true-life stories, and true stories that relate to world events. Stories about brave and courageous individuals are personally so inspiring to me, and I want children to know about these people. I feel that children have the capacity to understand the big issues of our lives, if in a simplified way.

Her books certainly succeed in drawing out the essence of the people and situations she profiles, in a way that makes them memorable and inspiring for children. For example, I love her book (included in our Gallery) Mama: A True Story, in Which a Baby Hippo Loses His Mama During a Tsunami, But Finds a New Home, and a New Mama (Harcourt Children’s Books, 2007) because really the story is told in the title. With only a few speech bubbles calling “Mama!” among the visually stimulating illustrations, the turmoil and ultimate reassurance are conveyed without over-frightening small readers.

A vibrant illustration from Biblioburro fronts Jeanette’s Gallery. It tells the true story of Colombian teacher and literacy advocate Luis Soriano, who founded his donkey library to take books out to remote villages and ensure that children have access to help with their schoolwork. Read this post from True Tales and a Cherry on the Top for a beautiful anecdote that exemplifies why he got started; and watch this video:

On Traveling Libraries and Heroic ‘Book People’: Inspiring children’s books about getting books to people in remote places and difficult circumstances

Thursday, September 22nd, 2011

Abigail Sawyer regularly reviews books for us here at PaperTigers, and she’s also, in her own words, “a lifelong library lover and an advocate for access to books for all”, so who better to write an article for us about “unconventional libraries” and the children’s books they have inspired. Abigail lives in San Francisco, California, USA, where her two children attend a language-immersion elementary school and are becoming bilingual in English and Mandarin: an experience that has informed her work on the blog for the film Speaking in Tongues. I know you’ll enjoy reading this as much as I have.

On Traveling Libraries and Heroic ‘Book People’: Inspiring children’s books about getting books to people in remote places and difficult circumstances

My sons and I paid our first-ever visit to a bookmobile over the summer.  For us it was a novelty.  We have shelves of books at home and live just 3 blocks from our local branch library, but the brightly colored bus had pulled up right near the playground we were visiting in another San Francisco neighborhood (whose branch library was under renovation), and it was simply too irresistible.  Inside, this library on wheels was cozy, comfortable, and loaded with more books than I would have thought possible.  I urged my boys to practice restraint and choose only one book each rather than compete to reach the limit of how many books one can take out of the San Francisco Public Library system (the answer is 50; we’ve done it at least once).

The bookmobiles provide a great service even in our densely populated city where branch libraries abound.  There are other mobile libraries, however, that take books to children who may live miles from even the nearest modern road; to children who live on remote islands, in the sparsely populated and frigid north, in temporary settlements in vast deserts, and in refugee camps.  The heroic individuals who manage these libraries on boats, burros, vans, and camels provide children and the others they serve with a window on the world and a path into their own imaginations that would otherwise be impossible.

Shortly after my own bookmobile experience, Jeanette Winter‘s Biblioburro (Beach Lane Books, 2010), a tribute to Colombian schoolteacher Luis Soriano, who delivers books to remote hillside villages across rural Colombia, arrived in my mailbox to be reviewed for Paper Tigers.  I loved this book, as I do most of Winter’s work, for its bright pictures and simple, straightforward storytelling. Another picture book, Waiting for the Bibiloburro by Monica Brown (Tricycle Press, 2011), tells the story of Soriano’s famous project from the perspective of one of the children it serves, whose life expands beyond farm chores and housework thanks to Soriano and his burros.

I was moved, of course, by Soriano’s story, which got me thinking about another favorite picture book my children found at our branch library a few years ago: That Book Woman by Heather Henson (Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2008) is a fictionalized account of one family’s experience with the Pack Horse Library Project, a little-known United States Works Progress Administration program that ran from 1935-1943.  The Pack Horse librarians delivered books regularly to families living deep in Kentucky’s Appalachian Mountains.  In this inspiring story (more…)

Week-end Book Review: Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter

Saturday, September 17th, 2011

PaperTigers is pleased to announce that Biblioburro: A True Story from Columbia by Jeanette Winter is one of the three books included in the Spirit of PaperTigers book set. For more information about the Spirit of PaperTigers Project, please click here.

Jeanette Winter,
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia
Beach Lane Books, 2010.

Ages 4-8

We have all met children with a never-ending hunger for books.  Some of them have shelves full of them, but it seems there can never be too many: the prospect of a new story always whets their appetite for more.

There are other children whose hunger for books goes much deeper.  These are the children who may read a single book over and over because it is the only book they have, children who dream about that book when they are not reading it and wish they had others.  Deep in the jungles of Colombia, some of these children’s dreams have come true thanks to the ingenuity and determination of Luis Soriano, a schoolteacher and avid reader who has devised a way to bring books to these isolated communities: The Biblioburro, a mobile lending library carried on the backs of two donkeys.

Each week Luis loads up books from his private collection and carries them from his remote village of La Gloria to even more remote villages in the Colombian jungle.  Luis and his burros, Alfa and Beto, endure heat, tiredness, and even bandits as they carry their precious cargo to people hungry for books.  When Luis arrives, he reads to the children before allowing each of them to select a new book and return their books from the previous week.  Then Luis returns home and reads his own book late into the night.

With characteristic simplicity and her signature bold, bright colors, Jeanette Winter tells the beautiful story of this man who has enriched the lives of hundreds through his efforts.  Children with an insatiable appetite for reading despite full shelves and access to local libraries will appreciate the tale of the Biblioburro that brings books to children who would not have them otherwise. The fact that Luis himself lives a simple life and is willing to endure inconvenience and even danger to bring books where there are none underscores the value and power of reading to those of us who have come to take it for granted.  Biblioburro is a heartwarming profile of one man who is making the world better in a simple yet profound way.

Abigail Sawyer
September 2011

Announcing the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set (originally posted Sept.6th)

Wednesday, September 14th, 2011

SPT SealFanfares! Drum rolls! We are very excited to be announcing today the 2011 Spirit of PaperTigers Book Set.

They are:

A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope by Michael Foreman (Walker Books / Candlewick Press, 2009)

Rain School by James Rumford (Houghton Mifflin Books for Children, 2010)

Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia by Jeanette Winter (Beach Lane Books, 2010)

All three are stunning picture books that were chosen for their engaging narrative and fine illustrations. By coincidence, all three are author-illustrated, something that only became evident after our choice had been made. We hope that the children participating in the Spirit of PaperTigers project will love the books as much as we do. They all encourage children to engage with big issues such as education and peace. They can, we believe, be enjoyed by a wide age range of children – an important consideration for the Spirit of PaperTigers project, as the books will also be read by older children who are learning English.

Following feedback from last year’s participant schools and libraries in the Spirit of PaperTigers Outreach project, we will be sending five copies of each of the three books that make up this year’s Book Set to each of the project’s participants. This will enable teachers to use the books more flexibly and allow for class input, as well as individual enjoyment.

To find out more about the Spirit of PaperTigers project, headover to our Outreach site, where you will find information about the Book Set gathered on one page. You will also be able to view feedback about the 2010 Book Set – and the site continues to be updated as new feedback come in.

The PaperTigers website will be featuring the SPT Book Set over the next few weeks: look out for Gallery Features of all three illustrators’ work, Q&As with the books’ editors, and more…

In the meantime, read reviews of:
A Child’s Garden: A Story of Hope
Rain School
Biblioburro: A True Story from Colombia

and enjoy these interviews with their creators:

Michael Foreman
James Rumford
Jeanette Winter

A big thank you to them and to their publishers. I’m sure you’ll agree that these are all exceptional books. We can’t wait to get them into the hands of readers around the world – we’ll keep you posted as to that, and look forward to featuring their feedback too.