the best of qualities is dispassion

Digital Story Response No. 6: “The Bookmobile”

As they say, I’m a sucker for happy endings” and I also love books. Therefore a digital story that includes both books and a happy ending is irresistible to me, and this rich story includes both. The Bookmobile begins by describing that the narrator, Storm Reyes, was eight years old when she began working full-time picking fruit for less than a dollar per hour. She lived and worked with her family in Native American migrant camps in the northwest. She describes how she learned to knife-fight before she learned to ride a bike. She was not permitted to have books as they were heavy and therefore a burden due to her family’s frequent moves. The story describes that life in Native American migrant worker camps is about survival and “filling your belly” with no room for hope. When she was twelve years old her natural curiosity drew her to the bookmobile when it visited the fields.

The bookmobile and the kindness of its librarian brought her hope in the form of literature. From the books, Reyes “learned” that hope was not just a word. The power of literature is illustrated through her story. This is a very important point that I fear is often overlooked in this era. It was not always so, as many great thinkers attached serious value to literature. On French literature, Friedrich Nietzsche once wrote, “I cannot at all conceive in which century of history one could haul together such inquisitive and at the same time delicate psychologists as one can in contemporary Paris: I can name as a sample – for their number is by no means small, … or to pick out one of the stronger race, a genuine Latin to whom I am particularly attached, Guy de Maupassant.”
Reyes “learned” from the books that hope not just a word and this gave her the courage to change her life by eventually leaving the labor camps. She later became a librarian in Pierce County, Washington where she worked with books for thirty-three years.

I have critiqued several digital stories employing photographs in motion as slides, and others employing videos, but this is the first using animation. This short, well-structured, powerful story’s use of animation makes it appear to be professionally produced. The jazz background music played during the intro with the captions introducing Reyes provide the hook, which drew me in. The narrator’s voice is gentle and clear, and the audio quality is superb. The cute characters in the animation are silent and the narrator tells the story acted out in the animation. This provides the warm feeling of storytelling and makes it feel even more intimate as if the narrator is sharing her story with me, personally. This very creative little story is very well done and one that I truly appreciate. Thanks for sharing!

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