In 2014, when more than 70,000 children crossed the southern border into the United States—many of them unaccompanied—it sparked a humanitarian crisis.
Infrastructure for food, housing, medical attention, and legal services had to be created, but no less important was the provision of good books and library services in Spanish and indigenous languages.
This past spring, IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People, based in Switzerland, joined REFORMA’s Children in Crisis Project to help bring children’s books to the refugee children still arriving in the Rio Grande Valley.
In August, local bookstore owner Jeff Garrett (Bookends & Beginnings) helped organize a fact-finding and book-delivering visit to government, church, and other private agencies responding to the crisis.
Speaking about his experiences, at 3 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 9, in the First Floor Community Room at the Evanston Public Library, with photos documenting the journey, Garrett will touch on many of the issues surrounding the border today and what we can learn from those who are working with refugee children every day.
Garrett's presentation launches the EPL Literary Salon series, a monthly gathering of enthusiasts of children's books moderated by Betsy Bird. Originally conceived in New York City, it encompasses all topics pertaining to written works for young people.