The Grand Opening of the La Paloma Library

“In a good book room you feel in some mysterious way that you are absorbing the wisdom contained in all the books through your skin, without even opening them.”
― Mark Twain


The Grand Opening of the new La Paloma Elementary School Library was held the end of November, 2014. After months of remodeling, painting, categorizing, making book shelves, and organizing the books into simple genres, we held a book party with a piñata, food, a dance, and a ribbon cutting ceremony.  All 85 children enrolled in the elementary school received a new book to take home.

IMG_5322“What is in our new library?” they girls wondered.
IMG_5331The Kids Korner has over 400 books for Preschool – 3rd grade, games, puppets, puzzles, reference materials, and a shelf for reading aloud books.  The bulletin board has pictures of the Red Oak Elementary school students, their sister school.
IMG_2907All the children made a butterfly for the butterfly tree. I donated a DVD player and we can show audio and visual DVDs that go with sets of books. There is a volunteer box full of materials for activities when volunteers come to the library to read to the children.
IMG_5325I made a list of Responsive Classroom rules for the library…all very positive that we can review with the students.
IMG_5142The section of the library for older students has a bookcase for teachers’ materials and books, a bookcase with reference materials (atlases, encyclopedias, and other reference books), and other bookcases are filled with educational, “how-to”, history, science, mathematics, geography, and chapter book genres.
IMG_5326After the Opening Ceremonies with speeches by the students and teachers, it was party time!
IMG_5338The piñata is stuffed with candy and ready to go!
IMG_5259The dancing begins!
IMG_5344Then, each class enters the library. We review the rules, take them on a tour, and give them each a book to take home with them. The Preschoolers love their new library.
IMG_5351First and second graders
IMG_5352Third and fourth graders
IMG_5356The children sit quietly and read while the piñata is hung in a tree.
IMG_5359IMG_5364IMG_5365The piñata is beaten to death.
IMG_5374The Preschool girls cradle the little doll from the piñata.
IMG_5370Sandwiches and juice are passed around to everyone.
IMG_5379I am so grateful for all the donations of books, supplies, materials, and time given to help start the first La Paloma Elementary School Library. Thank you for your support and your loving kindness.

This is only the beginning. When school starts back for a new year in February, I am hiring a part-time librarian and training the librarian to work in the new library. Then, I’ll set up a volunteer program for other students, parents, grandparents, and groups that come to Puesta Del Sol to volunteer to read and do activities for the students. I even have plans to build a puppet stage for the kids.

The parents, students, and staff at the La Paloma Elementary School are extremely grateful for your support. They send you flowers and their love. Muchas gracias mis amigos.
IMG_4888If you are interested in how I set-up the library, please send me an email and I can give you more information. Establishing a new culture of reading is a very tricky process. It had to be done as simply as possible with a simple color coded genre system.

Stay tuned for How You Can Help. I have 21 more elementary schools on the island and I would like to start a library in every one of them.


5 thoughts on “The Grand Opening of the La Paloma Library

  1. Hi Debbie,

    My husband and I are planning a trip to Granada Nicaragua in November. We are looking for a non profit organization that can accept a donation of 30 backpacks with school supplies. Fifteen for boys and 15 for girls. Perhaps you may know families in need that can benefit from it. I wrote to a couple organizations in Granada with no help.

    I would appreciate your help on this matter.


    • Hi Olga,

      I contacted Education Plus in Granada and they will be happy to accept your donations of backpacks. They said they will take you on a tour of the community, too. Here is the website
      They are a wonderful organization and I am sure your backpacks and school supplies will be put to use. They also have a Facebook Page:

      I hope this helps.

      • Debbie,
        Thank you so much for your help. I hope to meet you while we are there. We are also looking to retire in Nicaragua. We are going to rent a place first in Granada. Do you know a good resource that can help us. I contacted a couple of Realtors, but the apartments they sent me are very expensive and too little.

        I appreciate your help on this matter.

        Yo hablo Español soy originaria de Colombia. Si necesitas ayuda en tu proyecto con mucho gusto. Voy a buscar libros bilingües para niños para donarte.


  2. HI Debbie;
    My husband found your blog because we have been talking about retiring to a Latin American country. He has been exploring several options and since I am also a teacher (I do not think you ever retire!) he shared the info with me.

    We are originally from Mexico but we have been living in Illinois for the last 15 years! We came to the US because I found work as a Bilingual Teacher (English and Spanish) and we were itching about traveling, finally exploring the US and giving our two children further opportunities.

    Here we are braving Illinois’ winters and thinking about our next step in life.

    What you have accomplished in Nicaragua is amazing!

    I will get in touch with my Bilingual Director and I do not doubt we could help. The East Aurora School District 131 is mainly serving Bilingual kids. We have a Transitional Bilingual Program in place. The kids start learning to read in Spanish and they transition to English when they are ready.

    I have been teaching First graders:) They are the best students!

    Please e mail to my private address. As soon as I get my Director on board I will provide my school e-mail.

    Thanks for jump starting the kids on the path of Literacy!


    • Hola Norma,
      Wow! Thank you so much for your interest in literacy. I agree, once a teacher always a teacher. I’ll send you an email soon. You are the greatest. With a little help there is so much we can do to help create an awareness of the joy of reading. 🙂

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