Fall Fundraiser: Words of Wisdom

every child is an artist

In the quote above Pablo Picasso tells us, “Every child is an artist. The problem is continuing to be one once we have grown.”

Creativity is at the heart of what we do, and Puerta Abierta is dedicated to helping children keep and explore their own. But we use words like creativity and critical thinking a lot in education, and it is not always clear what do they mean, or how educators can encourage them in their classrooms?

This great articleIMG_3327 explores creativity, critical thinking, and how all teachers can keep them in the classroom. The author explains in a clear and helpful way that they are among the most powerful tools we have, and essential for people to excel.

As he says, “You can be creative in math, science, music, dance, cuisine, teaching, running a family, or engineering. Because creativity is a process of having original ideas that have value. A big part of being creative is looking for new ways of doing things within whatever activity you’re involved in.”

We hope the students the Traveling Library will grow up to be the creative thinkers their communities their communities need. With their original and valuable ideas, they can make Santiago Atitlan all that it should be.


Please consider donating to Puerta Abierta’s Traveling Library fund as we promote creativity through group reading sessions and imaginative literature.


Fall Fundraiser: How Teachers Learn More Dynamism

The Traveling Library is an effective model for many reasons. While children receive exposure to reading and interactive activities, class-room teachers gain training in how to incorporate literacy into their curriculum.
 1st grade teacher Milchora comments:

The Traveling Library delivers a new bag of books to my classroom  on a weekly basis.  I’ve learned how to read stories to my students in a dynamic way by participating with the traveling librarian from La Puerta Abierta who works with us.  My students look forward to returning to the class-room after recess anticipating the new book which will be shared with them.

Say hello to some more of our teachers who benefit from the Traveling Library.




Please consider donating to Puerta Abierta’s Traveling Library fund as we promote creativity through group reading sessions and imaginative literature.

Fall Fundraiser: Our Dynamic Duo

The Traveling Library needs more than just books to function. Its dedicated educators help kids value books. They show them what books can teach and how they open the doors to imagination–a lifelong asset. 

Meet Ellen and Isaias.

Isaias is our Traveling Library coordinator, better known to local school children as the story teacher.  Isaias visits 8 rural schools throughout the week with a back pack full of books, art supplies and the story of the day.  In addition to bringing literacy supplies to participating classrooms, Isaias comes equipped with an enormous smile, an endless supply of energy, and a talent to connect with children of all ages.Untitled(3)Ellen, an early childhood education specialist and Director of Academics at La Puerta Abierta has been collaborating with La Puerta Abierta for the past year supporting staff with professional development and creating curriculum for our center.


Together, Isaias and Ellen have developed a manual for exploring literacy through story books and creativity. The manual unites Ellen’s foundation in early childhood education and Isaias’ experience working with rural school children.

The new traveling library manual contains 10 thematic units focusing on a variety of themes that will allow children to explore the world around them. Themes include school days, countries and culture, art, the five senses, nature appreciation, fairytales, community, colors, weather and family. Each unit contains four lessons and each lesson is connected to a carefully selected story for children to enjoy.

We are excited to share our new manual with the community of Santiago Atitlan and with other educational institutions who practice and appreciate the love of reading.


Mil gracias Ellen and Isaias!

Support the Isaias and Ellen in their mission by visiting our Razoo page and donating today.

Fall Fundraiser: Education in Guatemala Today

We continue our fundraiser with an eye towards the national problems in education in Guatemala. The below statistics are from US AID. 


  • Today, primary school enrollment rates in Guatemala are almost 100%, and there is nearly equal enrollment of boys and girls.
  • However, more than 30% of students did not pass first grade in 2013.  In addition, only about three-fourths of those enrolled in primary school graduate from 6th grade (80% of boys and 73% of girls), and the enrollment rate for middle school (7th-9th grades) is less than 40%.
  • Education quality is also a pressing issue.  According to 2010 Ministry, of Education data, just over 50% reach national standards in reading.
  • Even when students are able to complete primary school, many do not acquire the necessary skills to advance. Furthermore, while there are nominal national differences in school enrollment between boys and girls, the enrollment gap between rural and urban areas is significant.



Please consider donating to Puerta Abierta’s Traveling Library fund as we focus on promoting reading skills and a life long love for literacy.


Fall Fundraiser: Announcing “My World of Literacy”

For months, Puerta Abierta, has been crafting something that Natik has great hopes for, something that will benefit not only schools local to Santiago Atitlan, but Natik’s partners in Mexico. Ellen, of La Puerta Abierta, shares the big news below.

IMG_6122One of our big goals for the 2015 school year was to formalize our Traveling Library program with a manual and curriculum that would be easy to replicate and share among other organizations working in the field of literacy. We spent many hours meticulously choosing themes and books, and writing lesson plans for creative activities that promote critical thinking!

This week we had the great pleasure of sharing this manual with educators and organizations around the lake. In a fun filled morning, we exchanged stories and memories about our own experiences with literacy as children, shared the story of the Traveling Library and spent some time educating fellow teachers about creative practices in literacy and how to successfully execute a “story hour” that will engage and motivate children to cultivate a love of literacy. It was a fantastic way to showcase the hard work and dedication of the Traveling Library and to collaborate with others who share our passion!

To support the Puerta Abierta’s reach, support our fundraiser for their Traveling Library.  Visit our Razoo page and donate today.

Fall Fundraiser: La Puerta Abierta’s Traveling Library


While the school year is just beginning in the United States, our school year in Guatemala will come to an end this week. The staff, teachers, and families at la Puerta Abierta have been engaged in a variety of creative projects. Our preschool, early stimulation programs, and teen reading groups continue to thrive. One of our most successful programs to date is la Biblioteca Movil, or Traveling Library.

“Here comes the story teacher!” the students cheer.

IIMG_5660n the rural areas of Santiago Atitlan, Guatemala, where poverty levels make books scarce, the Puerta Abierta Traveling Library shares the joy of reading with young students. Each week, librarians visit eight schools in the outer neighborhoods of town to exchange a new delivery of books and to provide the school children with a story-hour. In addition, librarians lead students in an engaging and creative activity, designed to inspire critical thinking. While imagination is a hard concept to teach, La Biblioteca Movil is providing rural school children in Santiago Atitlan with the tools to explore worlds that only books can open.

The October 2015 Bookmobile Fundraiser– Your support is valuable!

IMG_3603As the 2015 school year draws to an end, we are beginning to dream up our plans for 2016. We hope to continue to share our traveling library with participating schools and expand to bring our program to new schools in Santiago.

We invite you and to participate in our 2015 Traveling Library Campaign! We hope to collectively raise $4,800 to bring our services to 4 new schools in the 2016 school year. Contributions of any amount are appreciated and valued. Thank you. Gracias. Maltiox.

To support the Traveling Library’s teacher’s, programs, and students, visit our Razoo page and donate today.

Nuestras Notas: Jose

pasted image 0This month for Nuestras Notas, we meet Jose, who is learning about his community through the Natik scholarship program’s service opportunities. Cleaning the library gives him more tools than just a broom!

I do my volunteer service in the library of the institution, Pueblo a Pueblo, which is located in the village of San Antonio Chacayá. I like to be there because I live nearby.

Through this service opportunity, I work with organizations that I can help. One of my jobs is cleaning the library. 

This includes sweeping, mopping, dusting, and organizing the books. I like organizing the books because it gives me the opportunity to review the books that I find.

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I enjoy doing this job, and the work is not new to me because, although in my family we are all men, we help our mother organize and clean the house. I like doing the cleaning because when we practice good cleaning habits, we are protected from the diseases affecting our community.

Once when I had finished cleaning, I asked the librarian if there were anything else that I could do to help. He asked me to make sure that all of the jigsaw puzzles were complete and not missing pieces. It was a lot of work. Even though I have long worked as a teacher, I was surprised by the mountain of games that I had never seen before. In addition, the teacher asked me to write a card, which was a new learning opportunity for me.

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I am very happy about everything that I am doing and for everything I have been learning at the different educational service spaces in my village, like the library of Pueblo a Pueblo.