ep. A beautiful picture book for our little daughter or grandchild? My godchild has a birthday; I would like to give him a book? Looking for a picture book for the kindergarten? What would be the right one? Today witches and pirate stories often fill the window dressing in bookstores. If you do not want to give in to this trend and introduce the children to the real world, this is often not easy – unless you can still resort to the extensive source of mostly out of print older picture books. Therefore, it is a stroke of luck if individual authors lovingly adopt a theme in words and pictures and find a book publisher who publishes their books. Among them is the author, originally from Brazil, Eymard Toledo, who has written and illustrated two books, and published them by Baobab Books. The value of her books is not only that they are written sensitively and in simple language text, also the images are engaging. Eymard Toledo creates them with collages and upon a closer look, interesting “finds” can be found from everyday life. Printed, the pictures achieve a high plasticity and maintain a stimulating and fresh content for the books. Thus, the books are in various respects valuable. With regard to content, they lead the children gently on a topic, which in today’s world unfortunately is still a reality; for the lives of children and their families who live in a poverty-stricken world, and only have difficult access to school and education.
Football is the favourite for Bené who is actually called Benedito da Silva. Apart from the delicious feijoada prepared by his mother. Balls take the main activity in his life, not only because he likes to play football. No, he has the task to test the balls that his family sews at home. Only the good ones are sold. Also Bené helps to sew balls, every day four or five. This way he helps to earn the livelihood of the family. He cannot go to school, like many children from poverty-stricken circumstances in Brazil. He wishes for real football boots and a jersey. Whether this dream ever comes true is questionable. Nevertheless, he also plays stylishly with his flip-flops. However, he has many things: his family, his mother, his friends, and at any time a good ball.
“Bené – faster than the fastest chicken” (Bené, schneller als das schnellste Huhn) was honoured as one of the most beautiful German books and as Book of the Month by the German Academy for Children and Youth Literature.
For this book, which is not only re-commended for football enthusiastic children from the age of 5 years, supplementary teaching materials can be downloaded on the publisher’s website.
The new book by Eymard Toledo is simply called “Uncle Flores” (Onkel Flores). Flores is a tailor by profession, and indeed the best in the small town on the banks of the river São Francisco. In his workshop he often receives a visit from his nephew Edinho. Uncle Flores likes to tell him while working about earlier times, from the time as Pinbauê was still a village, where fishermen at the end of the day had full nets and women washed their laundry in the clear water. Uncle Flores then sewed colourful carnival costumes and beautiful Sunday clothes. Now there are grey work suits for the big factory that was built nearby. Meanwhile, almost all residents are now working there. Soon, these work orders for Uncle Flores will be missing, as the overalls are now manufactured abroad. A brilliant idea of Edinho brings in the true sense again of colour and work in the life of his Uncle. Also other things change in Pinbauê, and it didn’t need so much for that!
Eymard Toledo was born in Belo Horizonte, the fourth largest city in Brazil. She helped her mother sewing on buttons for the pyjamas, which she sewed on her sewing machine. With her father and her younger brother, she went on holiday, fishing on the São Francisco River. They always brought many fish home; some were heavier than the children themselves were. Alternatively, she went to her grandmother during the holidays to the village Ubá. The story of Bené is also set in Ubá.
In her home country, she was studying art, but could not find work. At 25, she therefore travelled through Europe and decided to study in product design at the Academy of Arts in Berlin. From her own biographical background she designed her books. Today Eymard Toledo lives with her family in Mainz and works as a freelance graphic designer and illustrator. •
(Translation Current Concerns)
People tell stories in the shadows of the Baobab. This name also carries a series of books, picture books, children’s stories and young people’s novels, which are set in Asia, Africa, Latin America and the Middle East.
Baobab Books. Specialist office to promote cultural diversity in children and youth literature.
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