Cue the orchestra, heroes, the project has just given birth to a new section!!!
Welcome to Letter H, the section of the project dedicated exclusively to children's books. If you're subscribed to the newsletter, you already knew this was going to happen (if you aren't, you should be, it's through there that I tell you the secrets of this project and keep you updated on my journey in full detail - link to subscribe at the end). As the main focus of Heroes Without Cape is children's literature (and due to my problem of always wanting to bring something else to enrich this project), I thought it was time to, in the same way that I pay tribute to a hero every month, do a homage to a book that inspires me and which message is shared by the project. I now officially declare that every month, on the 22nd, a new Letter H will be presented.
I caution you, I'm not starting this section with the most unbiased choice ever, but the truth is that I haven't yet taken the time to tell you about this book as it honestly deserves. But first of all, I'll leave below three questions and answers that I put in the newsletter to present this new section and that I believe makes perfect sense to be here as well (the more information the better, don't you agree?).
01. Why a new section?
Bearing in mind that the main focus of this project is children's literature and illustration, it only makes
sense that I try to foster that every opportunity I get. Naturally, in an ideal world, I'd be making my own books every month, left and right, but that's absolutely unthinkable and impossible, so the next best thing to do is to bring to light books that are already on the market and that share a message to which this project can subscribe. There is no shortage of them, I assure you, and those that I've already scheduled to present to you are very worthwhile.
02. Why "Letter H"?
The word heroes starts with the letter H. This is the simplest and most straightforward explanation I can give you. After an internal and eternal debate, I chose this name so that it works more like a kind of stamp than anything else. And it's pretty easy to translate, so... Other names that were in the race were "Book of the Month" (to go along the Hero of the Month wave), "Heroes in Letters", "Heroes Without Cape", "Books Without Cape", among others. Honestly, Letter H seemed like the best option.
03. Why the 22nd?
Excellent question. I don't know, I think it was because there are two equal numbers composing the date and, after having the 15th chosen to announce the Hero of the Month, I needed something that would occupy me there the second half of the month and that was a "cute" number. I chose 22 :)
And now, the first Letter H: this January I bring you the book "My life with my sister", written by Sofia Vicente and illustrated by moi. I said it wasn't a totally unbiased choice... The next Letter H will have nothing to do with the project, I promise. Even considering my involvement in this book, it's still so very worth being part of your shelves.
- Title: My life with my sister
- Author: Sofia Vicente
- Illustrator: Mafalda Mota
- Published and distributed by Associação Sanfilippo Portugal
- Price: 10 €
- Printing: Gráfica Manuel Barbosa & Filhos, Lda.
- Size: 23x23cm
- Number of pages: 18
- Hard cover
- Age: 4-9 years (can go up, taking into account the fact that it is bilingual)
- Language: Portuguese and English
I’m presenting you my sister,
who’s as normal as can be.
With rare differences that define her,
and make her special, you’ll see.
Come discover beautiful moments
with my sister... Joana.
As you may have noticed by the synopsis, this book is written in verse, even though the original text was not submitted that way. However, considering the very strong musical vertebra in most of the involved in the project, it was decided that Sofia's feelings would be better conveyed using rhyme. And, I must tell you, it was a good decision.
"My life with my sister" is a true love note from Sofia to her sister Joana, who has Sanfilippo Syndrome - a syndrome that affects the neurological component of the children who carry it (in the spirit of making it easier to explain and understand: it's like childhood Alzheimer's). As the book unfolds, readers witness several moments that have marked the relationship of these two sisters. From beach dances to bicycle falls, joy is constant. When reading, we understand what forms this strong and pure union between Sofia and Joana: love and trust.
This book comes at a time when rejection and isolation were embracing Sofia's family. It came after a series of encounters that prove there is a mass of people who see difference as something worthy of an aberration. I assure you, it isn't the case. Sofia's goal is for the readers to focus not on the fact that her sister has Sanfilippo Syndrome (something that is revealed right on the first page of the story), but on the power of her smile (which, if you notice, is in every single page); in her will to live. She wanted to show the world that, even though they sometimes live an unusual and even quite complicated life, there is no lack of moments when they're truly and genuinely happy. Away from prejudice, away from the judgments that often attack the family, and close to the difference that defines Joana, in which we sees no harm.
This would be the moment when I spoke to you about the illustrations, but for the sake of objectivity (whatever that means when it comes to the appreciation of art), I won't make any judgments of value or appreciation. However, I'l talk about more technical thing, such as the colours (a round of applause for the printing company for how fast they worked and the excellence of their services) and some details I purposefully left for you.
First, the colours: as the idea of the book is for the reader to focus on the good part the life of these two sisters (and, of course, taking into consideration the target audience), I wanted the colours to take over the pages. I chose bright colours, which grab the reader's attention, but that at the same time were harmonious with the moment they illustrate. If you notice, whenever Joana is represented, except when she is on her bicycle, her clothes appear in shades of purple. This was the way I considered most appropriate to represent the Sanfilippo Syndrome, taking into account that the association's logo is of that same color. But as I said, when Joana appears on her bike, she doesn't wear purple, and this is because, when Joana gets on the bike and rides, instinct takes over. There's no syndrome, there's no age, there's nothing that can make life a bit more difficult. There's freedom of spirit. Another detail that you should be aware of is that whenever Joana transmits something to Sofia, stars appear in some way. The challenge for you now is to find out what is being transmitted each time. I won't say more, you'll have to find it all out for yourself.
Are you already convinced to include this book on your shelves? No? Maybe this will help. "My life with my sister" is a solidarity book. Yes, charity is involved. Everything cent that comes out of the book's sales goes to the investigation of Sanfilippo Syndrome. Being that an ultra rare disease, funds for its investigation of therapies and, who knows, even a cure, are scarce and very difficult to find (although highly necessary). That's s why everything that Associação Sanfilippo Portugal can raise with the sale of books will revert to that. I hope I've now convinced you :) The link to find the is at the end of the post.
And so we've finished the first Letter H, heroes. I hope that this idea will bear fruit and that I will be able to show you books that have beautiful and inspiring messages, so that you can brighten up these days that have been so sad lately and bring you a little refuge (to you and your little heroes).
I will be here again, with another book, on February 22nd! Stay safe, protected and at home.
See you soon, heroes :)
- "My life with my sister": https://sanfilippoportugal.wixsite.com/meusite/product-page/livro-a-minha-vida-com-a-minha-irm%C3%A3
- Subscribe to the Heroes Without Cape newsletter: http://eepurl.com/dM_xy2
- "My life with my sister", read by Vera Tavares for Nuvem Vitória: https://www.instagram.com/p/CKUga0RAU8l/