The Word Collector

One of the childhood memories that's indelibly etched in my heart is that of my 7th-and-8th grade teacher telling us to "hoard words like a coin collector." So I did. And once I started collecting words, I couldn't get enough of them. I decided to hoard them in two languages through my high school days and I eventually earned degrees in both English and Spanish at the University. I loved words SO much I even took classes in French, Russian and German. 
In fact, today I'm in Puerto Rico visiting a bilingual school.

Unlike that coin collector, however, I wasn't ever miserly about my words. Besides being passionate about writing, I've always been a talker; have I ever mentioned that my brothers call me Bird because I was always chirping? Anyway, in high school, I was part of the Forensics team and the event that took me to state-level competition was Storytelling. 
I was sparked by interpreting words and bringing them to life.

So you can imagine my delight when I got a preview copy of an April 2012 release by Sonja Wimmer called The Word Collector.

Published by Cuento de Luz, this book infuses an interestingly unique layout of phrases and words that tango across the page as they tell the positively magical story about Luna, a girl who's passionate about words. Its intriguing illustrations cleverly capture the essence of how the glorious words have infiltrated every aspect of Luna's life. So when something happens and people get "too busy" for words, 
Luna heads out into the world to share hers.  
My favorite two pages say this about Luna's quest:  
"Wherever there were people who were sad and lonely, she wove threads of warm words, 
words of friendship and compassion."  
After all, what good is having something that you can't give away? 
I predict you'll be tickled to find out what happens when her suitcase empties and all of Luna's words are gone.

Use this story to encourage your students to start hoarding words.  What kinds of words will they look for? How will they collect them? What will they put them in? How many words will they need before they have a book? Will they be able to collect them all? If not, how many words will be enough? What types of words might they NOT want in their collection? And what will they do with their words once they've collected them? Check out this book; the extension possibilities with this poignant treasure are infinitesimal. 


  1. I'd never heard of this book before. Thank you for sharing. It sounds like a must-have.

    ❀ Tammy
    Forever in First

  2. OH - LOVE this!!! I am definitely a word hoarder, too ... and judging by the extremely rare moments of silence in my house, I think my girls have inherited this trait, as well. I absolutely must check out this book. Thanks, Barbara! Enjoy your time in Puerto Rico.

    Runde's Room

  3. I love your post on this. Now I want to collect words and speak Spanish!


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