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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)
Along the Tapajos
by Fernando Vilela
Age Range: 6-8
Brother and sister Cauā and Inaę live in the small community of Pará along the banks of the Tapajós River in the Amazon Rainforest in Brazil. Here the homes are built on stilts, and everyone must respect the power of the river, travelling around by boat – even to school. When the rainy season comes and the river levels rise above five meters flooding houses and the forest the village must relocate to higher ground.
When the family reach dry land again they set about building another house. In the rush to leave the siblings realise they have left behind their pet tortoise Titi. Knowing that Titi won’t be able to survive because he can’t swim they set out on a dangerous journey along the river to retrieve him and bring him back to safety.
This beautiful book by Brazilian award-winning author and illustrator Fernando Vilela and translated from Portuguese by Daniel Hahn was inspired by the author's trip to the Amazon Rainforest (which can be read about at the back of the book).
The atmospheric illustrations capture the changing weather and the relentless torrential rain which appears to pour down the pages. This is contrasted with the expressive comic-style characters and emerging rich vibrant colour as the villagers reach higher ground and build their new community making the story come alive.
At the back of the book, there is some information about the Tapajós River.