Why Libros para Todos?
According to an article in the New York Times in March 2013, “Mexico took the penultimate spot, out of 108 countries, in a UNESCO assessment of reading.” This means that Mexican people do not rate high for reading comprehension. Furthermore, although there are more literate people in Mexico than in previous generations, fewer people are actually reading. In most public schools, children do not read works of fiction, and in poor communities, most children do not have any books at home.
This generation is losing the art of reading and this is worrisome because it is through books that children foster creativity and dream of new possibilities, as well as learn to appreciate the literary art form.
Reading fosters critical thinking skills, empathetic behavior, and better communication skills, all of which are necessary for maintaining a strong civil society and democracy.
Libros para Todos’ mission is to inspire children to read more and we focus our efforts on children from low-income families, in rural communities where access to books is limited.
Since our founding in 2013, we have worked with over 5,000 children in the state of Guanajuato.
How we came to be...
Libros para Todos began in 2013 with a group of enthusiastic readers who thought it would be a good idea to bring author Francisco Jimenez to San Miguel de Allende. These readers were so moved by Francisco’s autobiography about his childhood working in the fields of California, that they contacted him and bought 250 copies of his book which they began distributing to rural schools where books are scarce. Six weeks later, 235 children from underserved communities came together and were able to ask questions directly to Francisco and have their books signed. One child remarked, “This is a dream come true!”
It was then that our project really took root. We began to think long term about how to inspire children to read more. Doing a Big Read every year was a great way to get children excited about a book, but we also thought it would be a good idea to get the teachers involved more. In 2015, Libros hosted its first workshop for teachers in which teachers from various participating rural communities came together and talked about effective methods for getting children to enjoy reading. It was a success! Now we host these workshops bi-annually.
Since then we have added pop-up libraries, creative writing and art summer courses, and other special events to keep children engaged continuously throughout the year.
“The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go.”