Digging for Words
Written by Angela Burke Kunkel | Illustrated by Paola Escobar
A gorgeous and inspiring picture book based on the life of José Alberto Gutiérrez, a garbage collector in Bogotá, Colombia who started a library with a single discarded book found on his route.
In the city of Bogata, in the barrio of La Nueva Gloria, there live two Joses. One is a boy who dreams of Saturdays – that’s the day he gets to visit Paradise, the library. The second Jose is a garbage collector. From dusk until dawn, he scans the sidewalks as he drives, squinting in the dim light, searching household trash for hidden treasure . . . books! Some are stacked in neat piles, as if waiting for José. Others take a bit more digging.
Ever since he found his first book, Anna Karenina, years earlier, he’s been collecting books – thick ones and thin ones, worn ones and almost new ones – to add to the collection in his home. And on Saturdays, kids like little Jose run to the steps of Paradise to discover a world filled with books and wonder.
With an evocative text by a debut author, and rich, stunning illustrations from an up-and-coming Colombian illustrator, here is a celebration of perseverance, community, and the power of books.