How about traveling somewhere exciting and new from the comfort and safety of your home? Picture books are a wonderful way for readers of all ages to experience different places, cultures, people and stories. And Along the Tapajós certainly fits the bill.
Written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela and translated from the Portuguese by Daniel Hahn, this Brazilian import takes readers deep into the Amazon rainforest to a house on stilts where a young boy and girl live with their parents and a giant tortoise named Titi. The family are members of the populações ribeirinhas, or riverside populations, who live along the Tapajós river.
Cauã and his sister Inaê travel through alligator-infested waters by boat to reach their local school (another structure on stilts). When the rainy season comes and the river level rises they, along with their community, pack up everything they own and set up camp on higher ground for the winter. Only on this occasion, Titi the tortoise is left behind, and the two siblings embark on a daring and risky rescue mission!
Aimed at children ages 4-8, Along the Tapajós provides a fascinating insight into a different world. The simple, matter-of-fact narrative and vibrant illustrations depict a bustling riverside community with a rich variety of flora and fauna and reveal the extent of the seasonal migration undertaken by the local people when the rains start to fall. Cauã’s perspective makes the story easily accessible to young readers, while detailed notes in the back matter provide interesting background information about the Tapajós and how this picture book came to be.
Along the Tapajós is one of the first titles to be published by Amazon Crossing Kids, Amazon Publishing’s new imprint dedicated to picture books in translation.
Along the Tapajós
Written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela
Translated from Brazilian Portuguese by Daniel Hahn
2019, Amazon Crossing Kids
Reviews: Kirkus, School Library Journal (starred review), New York Journal of Books
Awards: USBBY 2020 Outstanding International Books List
Laura Taylor is the founder of world children’s literature blog Planet Picture Book. She is a small business copywriter, NAATI-certified translator of French into English and member of AUSIT and IBBY Australia. When she is not writing, she is reading, and chasing after her two young children. She tweets regularly @plapibo and posts at www.planetpicturebook.com