The theme of the week is back to school. When we acquired, Armando and the Blue Tarp School in 2006, it was one of those moments when you are simply in awe of certain individuals and the good work they do in the world.
Armando and the Blue Tarp School was based on David Lynch, a New York City school teacher, who on his summer vacations would establish an impromptu school on a plastic tarp in the Tijuana dump. Trash communities are home to many all over the world—where families live off whatever they can salvage from the things people throw away. When Señor David showed up, he would spread a blue tarp on the ground for the children the sit on—this tarp was the school. As the children sat on the tarp they would learn arithmetic, reading, writing, drawing, and painting, and slowly the harsh life of the dump colonia would fade away for a little while. Señor David’s commitment to the children of the Tijuana dump was a constant for years and led to an article in The Los Angeles Times, which in turn led to donations from readers, and eventually a school building was constructed for the children.
I remember after reading the manuscript thinking about what a fantastic story this was. I also remember wondering how was it possible I had never heard of this man. Not all of our acquisition meetings are unanimous, but this one was. One of the privileges a publisher has is having the ability to bring worthy stories like this one to a wider audience.