The legend of the "book Thief"
Once a month, a community along the Cangrejal River transforms from its daily routines into a story book, literally.
Begun in 2010 by Marisa Jahn (Studio REV-) in collaboration with the community of El Pital, a rural community in Honduras with low literacy rates, the Bibliobandido (Spanish for "Book bandit," or "story thief") is a living legend built around a masked bandit who, hungry for stories, frightens the children he sees until they offer him stories that they have written. The "bibliobandido" - and his insatiable hunger, continues provoking new stories in the whole region. For this "monthly harvest," the committee in El Pital collaborates with one of the 19 participating communities to create new characters and present a new "episode." Today many of the hundreds of kids who participate in the program grow up "believing" in the Bibliobandido, a character whose fame rivals that of Santa Claus.
The Bibliobandido program does not exclude any community, even those that aren't along the road and are only accessible by hiking for an hour or more - no one is safe from the story thief! A fantastic group of young adult volunteers plan, coordinate and house each Bibliobandido "episode." They present an array of activities and games that are orientated around encouraging the acts of reading and writing. The idea is that the kids in the community learn while enjoying themselves and going on a literary adventure.
Dennis Pérez, who has been a part of Bibliobandido since its beginning in 2010, says:
“I like Bibliobandido because it helps children and even adults in the communities that have never had a book in their hands realize the marvelous world of reading in different ways. When this program arrives to a community for the first time, the kids are scared because they've never seen someone dressed that way, or acting strangely, then when they help the Bibliobandido by beginning to create their own books and to have a relationship with him, they change their manner of thinking and that's when the world of imagination opens up to them."
As the project evolves over the years, the central message and objective remain the same: stories can transport us to extraordinary places, so keep reading and writing! And beware of the Bibliobandido!
Learn more about the bibiliobandidio project at: http://www.studiorev.org/p_bibliobandido.html