Armando and the Blue Tarp School

( 1 )

Overview

Armando's family is pepenadores, trash pickers, living off things they can use, recycle, and sell from the city trash dump. Armando works with his father to help support the family, but he also finds things for himself—pencil stubs, a notebook, and an old paint set—with which to write and paint. One summer Señor David arrives and begins teaching school on a blue tarp spread on the ground. Armando’s parents finally decide that learning may help him find different work when he grows up, so he begins attending the ...

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Overview

Armando's family is pepenadores, trash pickers, living off things they can use, recycle, and sell from the city trash dump. Armando works with his father to help support the family, but he also finds things for himself—pencil stubs, a notebook, and an old paint set—with which to write and paint. One summer Señor David arrives and begins teaching school on a blue tarp spread on the ground. Armando’s parents finally decide that learning may help him find different work when he grows up, so he begins attending the blue tarp school. The children learn to read and write in Spanish and English. They learn math. And they draw, much to Armando’s delight. When a fire in the colonia burns down several homes, it is Armando’s picture of the fiery night that helps bring outside support and money to construct a school building. The story is inspired by the work of David Lynch, a teacher from New York who first began working in a colonia in Mexico in the early 1980s.

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Editorial Reviews

Children's Literature - Monserrat Urena
Armando lives in a poor neighborhood. He spends his days picking though the trash in the dump for objects his family can use or sell. This is the way things have always been, but a hopeful break comes in the shape of a teacher named Senor David. He comes to teach the children English in classes that are held on a blue tarp spread on the ground in their neighborhood. This picture book was inspired by the real work of David Lynch. He taught (and still teaches) children living in the neighborhood of the Tijuana city dump, beginning in the summer of 1980. The story of the blue tarp school is based on Lynch's actual first school where he taught. The young protagonist Armando is a model of the many children David Lynch met while working in the Tijuana colonia. This is a hopeful picture book that brings to life the work of one individual, an individual who changed the lives of those around him. As well as inspiring, this book's artistic work is eye-catching. The use of colors is energetic. The pictures work harmoniously with the story. This picture book would make a valuable asset to any home or school library. Reviewer: Monserrat Urena
Kirkus Reviews
This affecting tale-of a plein-air schoolroom in a deeply impoverished neighborhood populated by pepenadores (trash pickers)-springs from the real deal. Fine and Josephson have taken the story of David Lynch, who first went to Mexico in 1980 to teach children living in the Tijuana city dump, and fashioned it into a picture book. Fictional, yes, but only marginally so. Their story pivots around Armando, who scours the dump with his father all day long for anything of worth, and his thirst to join the classroom: a blue tarp on the bare ground. Though Armando's income is vital to the family, his parents come to understand that only an education will allow him to eclipse pepenadore life. The simplicity of the story is what lets it run deep, its bite of realism; no sermons are being delivered here, just a door thrown open to life under reduced circumstances (though Sosa's artwork, with its look of leaded glass, conveys a benevolent quality to the proceedings). Without patronizing, Se-or David defines the essence of humanitarianism, while the pepenadores, ever searching for beauty in the beast, find gold-and prize it. (Picture book. 5-9)
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781620141656
  • Publisher: Lee & Low Books, Inc.
  • Publication date: 3/15/2014
  • Age range: 7 years

Meet the Author

Edith Hope Fine is a former teacher who now writes full time. She is the author of several books for young readers, some of which were written in partnership with Judith Pinkerton Josephson. Fine lives in Encinitas, California.

Judith Pinkerton Josephson is also a former teacher who is currently a full-time writer of books for children. She lives in Encinitas, California, with her husband.

Hernán Sosa, born in Argentina and raised in Paraguay, received a degree in visual communications from the Colorado Institute of Art. He currently is a freelance graphic designer, focusing mostly on magazines, and illustrator of children's books. He and his wife live in Denver, Colorado.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Posted June 6, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    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.

    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.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
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