Written by: Fernando Vilela
Translated by: Daniel Hahn
For ages: 3 years and up
Language: English, some Brazilian Portuguese.
Topics Covered: Growing Up, Amazon Rainforest, Brazil, Semi-Nomadic Lifestyle, Latinx, Brazilian Culture.
This is a cute adventure story about a pair of siblings named Cauã and Inaê, and their winter move from the banks of the Tapajós river where their village lives in the summer. When the winter rains come, the entire village packs up their belongings and travels down the river to drier land where they will build small huts to live in during the rainy season.
After all of the families are finished building the huts and unpacking, the pair realize that they have left their pet tortoise Titi behind! Titi can’t swim like turtles can, and Cauã and Inaê are worried that he might be eaten by an anaconda or starve before the village returns for the summer season. The siblings decide to take a boat and rescue their beloved tortoise!
This book was originally published in Brazil in 2015, and introduces readers to the semi-nomadic lives that villagers have who live along the Tapajós have. There is a short amount of information in the back, but we wish there was a lot more. Only having a dew paragraphs about the Tapajós River itself, there is so much opportunity to include real photos or more information about the villages themselves. The illustrations in the book are beautiful, and look layered over one another to create dense foliage or heavy downpours.
About the Author & Illustrator:
Fernando Vilela is an award-winning author and illustrator from Brazil. Published in Brazil under the title Tapajós, this book was inspired by one of his trips to the Amazon rainforest. He has received many awards for his books, and he has exhibited his artwork at home and abroad, including at the MoMA in New York and the Pinacoteca of the State of São Paulo. For his picture books, he has received five Jabuti awards (Brazil) and the New Horizons Honorable Mention of the Bologna Ragazzi International Award. He is also a plastics artist, and he teaches courses, lectures, and workshops on art and illustration.