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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Jorge Lujan
Age Range: 6-8
Seven Pablos by Spanish poet Jorge Luján took its inspiration from one of renowned Italian author Gianni Rodari’s stories, One and Seven. It follows the lives of seven Pablos living in different parts of North and South America. There’s Pablo in Chile, whose father works in a copper mine; Pablo in Ecuador who lives in the Amazon jungle; Another Pablo, who is Argentinian, lives in Mexico where his parents took refuge from the military dictatorship; then there is Pablo who lives in one room in the Bronx in New York, the son of immigrants from Guyana; while Pablo in Peru is the son of a teacher who works at the local school; Pablo in Brazil scavenges in a favela in Rio de Janeiro and Pablo, born in Mexico, is on his way to the US border by train.
Luján’s simple tale, translated by Mara Faye Lethem, provides a powerful message in the final paragraph – “There are many Pablos in the world, yet they all are one”. It offers a snapshot of the harshness and uncertainty of life experienced from poverty, being a refugee and fleeing conflict. Each Pablo has his own life to lead and yet they are connected in their search for their own place in the world. The child-like simplicity of the striking crayon graphite artwork by Italian illustrator Chiara Carrer, with a burst of yellow and dash of red amidst a sea of grey, are the perfect accompaniment to this unusual picture book.