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 himselfpencil stubs, a notebook, and an old paint setwith 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.
About the Author
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.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.