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Posted June 6, 2009
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Culture and Compassion, Hope and Healing
Although Armando and the Blue Tarp School by Edith Hope Fine and Judith Pinkerton Josephson is fiction, this bilingual treasure is based on the journey of teacher David Lynch, (Senor David) through the colonias of Tijuana, Mexico.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.
The saga centers around Armando, a young dreamer who yearns to learn but isn't able to devote time to school because his first duty is to work as a pepenador, a trash picker, to help the family.
As the story unfolds, Papa comes to understand that if Armando is to better his life, he must be allowed to pursue an education, so he lets Armando spend afternoons with Senor David in his ad-hoc classroom (the blue tarp of the title).
Armando and his friends are soon learning words in English and Spanish using flashcards, songs, games, and art.
When fire sweeps through his village, Armando loses his drawings but not his dreams. He returns to Senor David's makeshift classroom and exhibits his feelings about the tragedy with a sketch that draws the attention of a local newspaper reporter.
See what happens when Armando's picture makes the front page.
Beautifully illustrated by Hernan Sosa, this book offers many enrichment possibilities. As a former language teacher, I love the glossary in the back of the book that can springboard a lesson in Spanish vocabulary. As a counselor, I appreciate the healing effects of art therapy woven into this jewel. And as a character mentor, I imagine the potential for a dialogue about empathy using the Think and Discuss questions on the book's website.