What Would You Like in Your Maletín Literario?

Sam (Book Chase) blogged about a new program in Chile which aims to give books to poor families to promote literacy and education. Next year they will be delivering a maletín literario (“book bag”) to 133,000 families, and the program will continue until they reach their goal of sending books to 400,000 of the most needy families in Chile.

The maletínes will contain up to 9 books of fiction, nonfiction, and poetry suitable for children and adults, plus an encyclopedic dictionary, and possibly an atlas (earlier news stories mention the atlas but later ones leave it out). They wanted to include both domestic and world literature, and represent a variety of cultures and viewpoints. People were encouraged to submit possible titles for these book bags, and a committee has narrowed the list down to 49. Since I know there are one or two book list lovers out there, here it is:

1. Encyclopedic Dictionary
2. Horacio Quiroga Cuentos de la selva (Stories of the Jungle)
3. Edmundo D’Amicis Corazón (Heart)
4. Hans Christian Andersen Classic Tales for Children
5. Andersen, Grimm and Perrault Classic Tales
6. Angélica Edwards Tales of Grimm and Perrault
7. Brothers Grimm Anthology of Stories
8. Hans Christian Andersen Anthology of Stories
9. Oscar Wilde The Happy Prince and Other Tales
10. Oscar Wilde The Nightingale and the Rose and Other Stories
11. Violeta Diéguez Playing with Words
12. Gabriel García Márquez Cien años de soledad (100 Years of Solitude)
13. Jack London The Call of the Wild
14. Osvaldo Torres Cóndor Mallku (Mallku the Condor)
15. Adap. José Quidel Un niño llamado Pascual Coña (A Boy Named Pascual Coña)
16. Francisco Coloane Cabo de hornos (Cape Horn)
17. Francisco Coloane Antología de cuentos (Anthology of Stories)
18. Manuel Rojas El delincuente y el vaso de leche (The Delinquent and the Glass of Milk)
19. Manuel Rojas Hijo de ladrón (Son of a Thief)
20. Isabel Allende La casa de los espíritus (The House of the Spirits)
21. Robert Louis Stevenson Treasure Island
22. Antoine de Saint Exupery The Little Prince
23. Floridor Pérez Myths and Legends of Chile
24. Daniel Defoe Robinson Crusoe
25. Gabriela Mistral Anthology of Poetry
26. Pablo Neruda Todo el amor (All the Love)
27. Pablo Neruda El libro de las preguntas (Book of Questions)
28. Marta Brunet Aleluyas para los más chiquitos (Hallelujah for the Littlest Ones)
29. Aesop Fables
30. Graciela Beatriz Cabal Tomasito (Tommy)
31. Mariana Bravo Walker La cocina popular chilena (Popular Chilean Cuisine)
32. Themo Lobos Ogú y Mampato (Ogu and Mampato)
33. René Goscinny Asterix
34. Hergé Tin Tin
35. Dinie Akkerman y Paul Von Loon To Catch the Moon
36. Tim Burton The Melancholy Death of Oyster Boy
37. Tim Burton The Dinosaurs
38. Cecilia Beuchat Atrapalecturas 1 (Reading Traps (not sure about that translation!)
39. Cecilia Beuchat Adivitrabalenguas (Tongue-twisting Riddles (??))
40. Cecilia Beuchat Libro de Tobías (Toby’s Book)
41. Hernán Rivera Letelier La reina Isabel cantaba rancheras (Queen Isabel Sings Love Songs)
42. Viktor Frankl Man’s Search for Meaning
43. Franz Kafka Metamorphosis and Other Stories
44. Ernest Hemingway Stories
45. JD Salinger The Catcher in the Rye
46. María de la Luz Uribe Cuentecillos con mote (Little Stories with Gossip (?))
47. Oscar Castro Stories
48. Ana María Pavez y Cosntanza Recart Kiwala y la luna (Kiwala and the Moon)
49. Marcela Paz Papelucho detective (Papelucho, Detective)

The list is about half children’s lit and half adult, and dominated by Chilean literature. They seem to have opted for a lot of short stories and novellas—no door-stops here. The only nonfiction appears to be Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and the cookbook (one for the ladies, I guess!). The Jack London is an interesting inclusion—something from the opposite end of the Americas. And did you know Oscar Wilde wrote stories for children?

For anyone who hasn’t pondered this over on Sam’s blog, I’ll ask what books you would include in a starter family library. What titles would you select to fire up the imagination, stretch language skills, and broaden horizons? Here’s my shot at it (for English Canada):

1. I completely agree with the encyclopedic dictionary
2. A world atlas, if that wasn’t included in the dictionary, or a French/English dictionary
3. I’d also go with Le Petit Prince (after all, France is one of Canada’s founding nations; I’d make it a bilingual edition)
4. Pierre Burton, The Last Spike (to instill a sense of national unity)
5. Something by Margaret Atwood, perhaps The Journals of Susanna Moodie (poetry and history in one; Central Canada)
6. Farley Mowat, Never Cry Wolf (Canadians gotta have nature; Northern Canada)
7. L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables (essential; East coast)
8. Joy Kogawa, Obasan (so we don’t forget why we shouldn’t put people in concentration camps; West coast)
9. Roch Carrier, an anthology of stories (a little more boy-oriented; French Canada)
10. A contemporary novel, perhaps The Life of Pi

What would you pick for your people?


9 comments on “What Would You Like in Your Maletín Literario?

  1. Bonnie says:

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  2. Imani says:

    About the only things I could be firm on before my brain exploded from the possibilities: encyclopedic dictionary; atlas; Hans Christian Andersen's fairytales; that new Penguin collection of African folktales/ Anansi stories collection. That's what, four? Then my brain explodes.
    I knew Oscar Wilde wrote fairy stories. *smug*

  3. Carrie K says:

    I didn't. Live and learn.
    Nice list for your people! My parents just went to the Maritimes and it's amazing how many people who have no idea at all where they're located.

  4. wil says:

    I'm rather surprised to see not one, but two Tim Burton books in the maletín literario. (If I ever knew,) I'd forgotten that Burton even wrote books.

  5. yuri says:

    Hans Christian Andersen's fairytale illustrated by Ukrainian artist Vladyslav Yerko – look at http://www.snowqueen.us

  6. angelica edwards says:

    nice blog

  7. Sylvia says:

    Thanks, Angelica!

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