El Bibliobandido is a living legend and literacy initiative I created in collaboration with the community of El Pital, a village in Northern Honduras where illiteracy rates average 80%.
In 2008, I taught a successful book making and creative writing workshop to several hundred kids. I left with the question of how to make this workshop ‘sticky” so that kids would continue teaching each other. Two years later, I returned to collaborate with a group of preteens (the town’s “library committee”) to invent “El Biblibandido.” As the legend goes, El Bibliobandido (or 'story thief') is a masked bandit who, ravenous for stories, terrorizes little kids until they offer him stories they've written — a prompt that invariably sends kids into a bookmaking frenzy.
This literacy initiative has become the most successful program in the region. On the third week of every month is Bibliobandido Week, the library committee collaborates with one of 19 neighboring villages to enact and rehearse a new Bibliobanddio 'episode,' reinventing and transmitting the tale as they go. Today, many of the 500 kids living in the region grow up 'believing in' El Bibliobandido, a character whose fame rivals Santa Claus.
A video I produced about the project has been shown at libraries, museums, schools, and film festivals abroad, casting a wide net of believers, storytellers, and fellow book-fiends eagerly anticipating more.
I now seek your support which will allow me the time to create a Bibliobandido Starter Kit that includes step-by-step instructions for making books out of everyday materials, 20 creative storytelling exercises, and suggestions for educators + parents. In Miami, I produced a first, simple version of this illustrated curriculum which was used to teach 600 kids to create delectable stories to lure (or appease) BB. I now seek to create a full-fledged Starter Kit in English/Spanish that will allow anyone to instigate and unleash the legend of El Bibliobandido.
Funded by Awesome Without Borders (December 2014)