Victoria, a third grader, was sitting on her own bed, which was covered in stuffed animals; she had already seen on the evening news that children her age had been killed in a mass shooting at a school in Texas.
"She's young, but she understands — sometimes too much," Belliard said Wednesday outside Victoria's school in Washington Heights. "To take your child to school and then come back to see them dead, it's not fair. It should not be that way."
"It's sad that a lot of children died that way. Those children had a big life ahead of them," the girl said. "When I hear that kind of stuff it makes me scared."
In New York and across the country Wednesday, children, parents and caregivers grappled with the aftermath of the deadly shooting in Uvalde, Texas, where an 18-year-old gunman killed 19 children and two teachers before being shot dead by authorities.
They hugged their children a little tighter and lingered a little longer at drop-off. They could imagine too easily a gunman bursting into their own child's classroom. And they were once again faced with a haunting question: Is there anywhere in America where schoolchildren can truly be safe?
Some schools around the country took extra precautions in the wake of the shooting. Schools in Texas and Florida banned backpacks from buildings Wednesday. Officials in states including Georgia and Virginia sent extra officers to schools as a precaution. In New York City, home to the nation's largest school system, officials are considering ways to tighten security, including locking school doors after children have arrived for the day.
The shooting has cast a somber tone over the final days and weeks of the school year.
"Sometimes I don't know what to say publicly," Deborah Gist, superintendent of schools in Tulsa, Oklahoma, wrote in a Facebook post. "I feel a huge responsibility to use the right words. How, though, do I express the horror, outrage, frustration, disappointment, pain, and fear that an event like the shooting in Uvalde brings? It is a parent's, a teacher's, a principal's, and a superintendent's worst nightmare."
Bookstores Are Keeping This Tiny Spanish Village Alive 這座西班牙小村 書店比學生多
Standing on a hilltop in northwestern Spain, Urueña overlooks a vast and windswept landscape of sunflower and barley fields, as well as a famous winery. The walls of some shops are built directly into the 12th-century ramparts of the village.
Despite its rugged beauty, Urueña, like many villages in the Spanish countryside, has struggled over recent decades with an aging and dwindling population that has left it stagnant at about only 100 full-time residents. There is no butcher and no baker; both retired in the past few months. The local school has just nine students.
But for the past decade or so, one business has been thriving in Urueña: books. There are 11 stores that sell books, including nine dedicated bookshops.
"I was born in a village that didn't have a bookstore and where people certainly cared a lot more about farming their land and their animals than about books," said Francisco Rodríguez, the 53-year-old mayor of Urueña. "This change is a bit strange, but it's a source of pride for a tiny place to have become a cultural center, which now also certainly makes us different and special compared to the other villages around us."
The attempt to turn Urueña into a literary hub dates to 2007, when provincial authorities invested about 3 million euros to help restore and convert village buildings into bookstores and to construct an exhibition and conference center. They offered a symbolic rental fee of 10 euros per month to people interested in running a bookstore.
The plan was to keep Urueña alive with book tourism, modeling it after other rural literary hubs across Europe — notably, Montmorillon in France and Hay-on-Wye in Britain. Hay has long hosted one of the continent's most famous literary festivals.
Spain has one of Europe's biggest book-publishing markets, feeding a network of about 3,000 independent bookstores — and double that number if stationery shops and other places that sell books are counted. But about 40% of bookstores have less than 90,000 euros in annual revenue, which amounts to operating "a subsistence business," according to Álvaro Manso, spokesperson for CEGAL, an association that represents Spain's independent bookstores.