Les compartimos el artículo del periódico "The Guadalajara Reporter" sobre nuestra IMI Book Fair 2016, por nuestro padrino de inauguración y columnista del periódico, John Pint.
April 23 is the anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death and the same date was chosen by UNESCO to be World Book Day.
At one school in Guadalajara, Colegio IMI, the occasion was commemorated by what I would call the most unusual book fair I have ever attended.
Some time ago, our friend Luis Medina invited My wife, Susy, and me to be padrinos of the school’s book fair. “The number one sellers at the fair will be books entirely created by the students themselves,” he told me.
Well, I know that reading and writing are, sad to say, going “out of style” in Mexico and we were delighted to cooperate in slowing that trend. But the moment we actually laid eyes on the books these students had produced, we realized that something truly extraordinary was going on in that school. Not only was the quality of writing outstanding, but the quality of the editing, illustrations and even the paper as well. We ourselves ended up buying two of the books not out of politeness, but because they were really good and well worth reading.
I asked the Colegio’s coordinator, Lucy Hurtado to fill me in on the story behind these students’ achievements.
“We decided to hold a book fair,” she told me, “but we wanted ours to be something more than the traditional book fair, where all you do is go look at books written by someone else. We wanted to motivate our children to become writers, to produce their own books. Our fourth-year students, for example, chose ‘legends’ as their subject. Then they thought about what period of history they were interested in: contemporary legends? Pre-Conquista legends? Well, they began to work on all this and at the end of the process, they came out with a book of eleven legends, entirely produced by themselves. They did the illustrations, spell-checking, editing and so on, and, of course, we teachers assisted them whenever they needed it.”
The school’s fifth-year students chose poetry Miss Hurtado went on. Each child wrote his or her own poem, but first they studied aspects of verse like synalepha and meter. They also looked at the works of Nobel prize winners, Mexican and otherwise. The primary students, instead, chose the Middle Ages and they focused on scientific research. They gathered information, validated it from several sources and once they had reliable data, they developed their book, which they titled Lo Que No Sabías de la Edad Media: What You Never Knew about the Middle Ages.
“The sixth-year students,” said Miss Hurtado, “decided not only to describe the entire physical process of book production from beginning to end (which they did in English), but to go ahead and actually produce hand-made books of their own, with unique covers.”
These beautiful, hand-crafted books are blank, just waiting for a budding writer to fill their pages.
To give you the flavor of one of these books, here is my translation of a few lines from Chapters 1 and 2 of What You Never Knew about the Middle Ages by Frida Delgado, Nycole Jiménez, Karla Alfaro, Juan Carlos Moreno, Jorge Villalobos, Sidharta Muñoz and Juan Pablo León:
Did you know that in the Middle Ages they had neither plates nor forks? They used to cut up bread and put their food between two pieces in order to eat it. Several attempts were made to introduce something like a fork so they could eat without dirtying their hands. This device had a long handle so people could also use it to scratch their backs.
Did you know that in order to find out if a woman was a witch, they would tie her feet together and throw her into a river? If she floated, it meant she was a witch and they burned her. If she sank, she would drown, but she would die in the grace of God.
The Black Plague
They thought the plague was a divine chastisement. Some connected it with the alignment of the planets while others placed the blame on foreigners and Jews. Research by scientists show that the Black Plague which appeared in Asia was actually due to fleas which carried the disease from infected rats to human beings.
El Colegio IMI (Instituto Mexico Inglés) is located at Mallorca 1215 near the Guadalajara Country Club, TEL 3824-6290 and 3824-6299. The school was founded in 1991 by “Miss Lulú” in her home. “Within one year we had 60 kids in kindergarten,” reports a family member. “Every room in the house became a classroom.” The school was so successful that Miss Lulú soon had to purchase a bigger home and today IMI has its own campus attendance and is certified by San Diego State University and Cambridge International School. The college is focused on “generating creative thought” and aims to “bring fun into education.” Classes are taught in Spanish, English and French.
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