Digging for Words: José Alberto Gutiérrez and the Library He Built
Kunkel, Angela Burke
A gorgeous and inspiring picture book based on the life of José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbage collector in Bogotá, Colombia who started a library with a single discarded book found on his route.
In the city of Bogata, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Joses. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays—that’s the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second Jose is a garbage collector. From dusk until dawn, he scans the sidewalks as he drives, squinting in the dim light, searching household trash for hidden treasure…books! Some are stacked in neat piles, as if waiting for José́. Others take a bit more digging. Ever since he found his first book, Anna Karenina, years earlier, he’s been collecting books—thick ones and thin ones, worn ones and almost new ones—to add to the collection in his home. And on Saturdays, kids like little Jose run to the steps of Paradise to discover a world filled with books and wonder.
With an evocative text by a debut author, and rich, stunning illustrations from an up-and-coming Colombian illustrator, here is a celebration of perseverance, community, and the power of books.