My Librarian is a Camel by Margriet Ruurs

Teacher Guide by Elizabeth Pedro

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My Librarian is a Camel Lesson Plans

Student Activities for My Librarian Is a Camel Include:

My Librarian Is a Camel is an informational text describing the ways children around the world access books.

My Librarian Is a Camel Lesson Plans, Student Activities and Graphic Organizers

Comparing and Contrasting

In this activity, students will compare and contrast different countries and their methods of accessing books. In this example, Finland, Indonesia, and Kenya are compared.

In Finland, children check out books by boat. "Since 1976, the Pargas Library has been bringing books to the people of these islands by book boat: Bokbat in Swedish or Kirjastovene in Finnish." In Indonesia, a bicycle delivers the books. "Children and their parents can borrow books from the bicycle library and exchange them the next time the library visits." In Kenya, camels deliver the books. "One camel may carry as many as five hundred books, weighing about four hundred pounds."

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Text Evidence

Copy Assignment

In this activity, students will be provided a question or prompt to answer using textual evidence. The prompt here is, “Describe the impact books have on children”. The three examples provided include:

  • Education: "The Books-by-Elephant delivery program serves thirty-seven villages, providing education for almost two thousand people in the Omkoi region."
  • Joy: "When they finally reach Amia, young people come running to meet them."
  • Eagerness: "The first time the Storyteller came, I ran to it and picked up a book of poetry. I started copying verses from it because I didn't know if it would ever come again."

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Assignment", change the description of the assignment in your Dashboard.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that answers the prompt using at least three examples from My Librarian is a Camel. Click on "Add Cells" to change the number of examples.

  1. Type the question into the central black box.
  2. Type a response to the question in your own words in the title box.
  3. Think about examples from the text that support your answer.
  4. Type text evidence in the description boxes. Paraphrase or quote directly from the text.
  5. Illustrate each example using scenes, characters, items, etc.

(Modify this basic rubric by clicking the link below. You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Copy Assignment

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Similarities and Differences in Point of View

In this activity, students will identify the similarities and differences between their own experiences with books while living in the United States, with those of children from other countries around the world. In this example, the United States is compared to Peru; the location of the books and the quantity of the books differ. Children in the United States can access books at a public library in their city or town. Many schools have libraries for children to check out books. In Peru, children get their books in a number of ways, including being delivered in wooden suitcases and plastic bags by donkey cart; the books remain in a reading promoter's home. In the United States, libraries have thousands of books for children to choose from. In Peru, each bag contains twenty books which families keep for a month; the books come in four different reading levels so that children can learn how to read.

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Integrating Texts

In this activity, students will read several nonfiction texts around a similar topic. They will compare, analyze, and synthesize the ideas in the texts and may draw new conclusions about the topic. In this example, students will have read My Librarian is a Camel, “Books Through Bars”, and “A Book Bike Brings the Library to Parks”.

  • My Librarian is a Camel: Children in countries around the world receive books in a variety of ways: camel, elephant, boat, bicycle, wheelbarrow, and more!
  • “Books Through Bars”: A Brooklyn group called “Books Through Bars”, collects donated books and sends them to inmates.
  • “A Book Bike Brings the Library to Parks”: Evanston Public Library, in Illinois, has a new book bike: a yellow, motorized bicycle with a cart carrying fifty popular books that delivers to parks and community centers.
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Keeping Track of New Vocabulary

In this activity, students demonstrate their understanding of vocabulary words using a Frayer Model. After choosing a word, students provide a definition, characteristics, examples (synonyms), and non-examples (antonyms) of the word. Students may be provided the vocabulary words, or they can use words that they have discovered through their reading of the text.

This example uses the word “nomad”.

  • Definition: a member of a people or tribe that has no permanent abode, but moves about from place to place, usually seasonally and often following a traditional route
  • Characteristics: "For centuries, people in Mongolia have led a nomadic lifestyle, moving across the steppe, a vast grass-covered plain, with their herds."
  • Examples: wanderer, vagabond, migrant, pilgrim
  • Non-Examples: homebody, dweller, inhabitant, resident, settler
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A Quick Synopsis of My Librarian Is a Camel (Contains Spoilers)

In Australia, huge trucks and trailers carry books to children who cannot access the library in a city. This mobile library is also solar-powered, which powers six computers, three air-conditioning units, fluorescent lights, nine spotlights, a stereo system, wheelchair lift, microwave oven, refrigerator, toilet, and two sinks.

In Azerbaijan, refugee children wait for the blue truck to deliver books. This library allows children to borrow books for a couple of hours each week. The trucks travel through two regions of this country; unfortunately, there aren’t enough trucks or books to reach all of the children of Azerbaijan.

In the arctic region of Nunavut in Canada, children access books through email or phone. The Borrow-by-Mail program sends books to children and even includes a stamped, addressed envelope for the children to return the books, free of charge. The children keep the books for six weeks and then walk to the post office to return them and wait for the next big brown package.

The Blackpool Beach Library in England brings books by wheelbarrow directly to people on the beach. People can return the books to the wheelbarrow on another day when it goes by. England also has a children’s mobile library van that travels to the countryside to deliver books to children that don’t have access to a regular public library.

In Finland, the Pargas Library brings people to the small islands by book boat. The boat, called Kalkholm, carries about six hundred books and consists of a librarian and an assistant. The boat only goes out from May to October due to the severe winters.

In Indonesia, rivers are the main means of transportation for floating libraries. The Kalimantan Floating LIbrary is a wooden boat that carries up to five hundred books. The librarians leave behind containers filled with books, allowing people plenty of time to read their books before returning them. In the city of Surabaya, a bicycle library makes its rounds every day; this library is powered by man, and easily gets around the narrow winding streets of the city, providing books to schools in the countryside and villages.

In the deserts of Kenya, library camels are on the road five days a week carrying heavy loads of books; one camel can carry as many as five hundred books! Students eagerly wait as the librarian pitches a tent and displays the books on wooden shelves. They may borrow their new books for two weeks, and then trade them in when the camel returns.

In Mongolia, the people live a nomadic lifestyle, therefore needing a horse-drawn wagon and a camel to carry books into the desert. A minibus, carrying ten thousand books, also makes trips to bring books to people in the countryside.

The Alif Laila Bookbus Society in Pakistan is a double-decker bus called Dastangou, or storyteller. This bus carries six thousand books to children in schools weekly or bi-weekly, but children may not take the books home, or else there will not be enough books for the next school.

In Papua, New Guinea, volunteers begin their journey in a four-by-four truck. Then they walk four hours in difficult terrain carrying the boxes of books on their shoulders. Not only do these volunteers deliver books, they also deliver medicines, such as antibiotics and aspirin.

In Peru, there are several ways that readers can access books. CEDILI-IBBY is an organization that delivers books in bags to families; each bag contains twenty books, which families keep for a month. In rural communities, books are delivered in wooden suitcases and plastic bags. The community can keep and share these books for three months and they are stored in the reading promoter’s home. In Cajamarca, the reading promoter orders books and lends them to his or her neighbors. Lastly, the Fe Y Alegria brings books to children’s schools by wagon.

In Thailand, most people cannot read or write, but elephant book delivery can hopefully change that. More than twenty elephants are used to carry books to thirty-seven villages, providing education for almost two thousand people. In Bangkok, old train carriages have been transformed into a library which serves homeless children; here, the children learn to read and write.

Zimbabwe uses a donkey cart to deliver books to schools in rural communities. Schools keep the books for a month at a time, and work hard to maintain a regular schedule. The donkey cart also brings a solar-powered TV and VCR to children who have never watched TV. They also plan to add a computer and satellite in the near future.

Essential Questions for My Librarian Is a Camel

  1. How do books play an important role in people’s lives all over the world?
  2. Do children in the United States fully appreciate books and libraries? Why or why not?

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•   (English) My Librarian is a Camel   •   (Español) Mi Bibliotecario es un Camello   •   (Français) Mon Bibliothécaire est un Chameau   •   (Deutsch) Mein Bibliothekar ist ein Kamel   •   (Italiana) Il mio Bibliotecario è un Cammello   •   (Nederlands) Mijn Librarian is een Kameel   •   (Português) Meu Bibliotecário é um Camelo   •   (עברית) הספרן שלי הוא קאמל   •   (العَرَبِيَّة) بلدي مكتبة هي الجمل   •   (हिन्दी) मेरे लाइब्रेरियन एक ऊंट   •   (ру́сский язы́к) Мой Библиотекарь Является Верблюд   •   (Dansk) Min Bibliotekar er en Camel   •   (Svenska) Min Bibliotekarie är en Kamel   •   (Suomi) Minun Kirjastonhoitaja on Camel   •   (Norsk) Min Bibliotekar er en Camel   •   (Türkçe) Benim Kütüphaneci bir Deve   •   (Polski) Mój Bibliotekarz Jest Wielbłądem   •   (Româna) Bibliotecarului meu Este o Cămilă   •   (Ceština) Můj Knihovník je Camel   •   (Slovenský) Môj Knihovník je Camel   •   (Magyar) Saját Könyvtáros egy Teve   •   (Hrvatski) Moj Knjižničar je Kamelija   •   (български) Моят Библиотекар е Камила   •   (Lietuvos) Mano Bibliotekininkas yra Kupranugaris   •   (Slovenščina) Moj Knjižničar je Camel   •   (Latvijas) Mans Bibliotekārs ir Camel   •   (eesti) Minu Raamatukoguhoidja on Camel