Monday, 29 June 2009

Wire News - The Day-Glo Brothers

The Day-Glo Brothers: the true story of Bob and Joe Switzer's bright ideas and Brand-New colors

by Chris Barton
illustrations by Tony Persiani
Published by Charlesbridge Publishing Inc, 2009

Lately, in the States, an interesting picture book has been released: it's a book telling the story of the Switzer brothers, the inventors of the so said Day-Glo colours.

It's a non fiction book telling of how two brothers, apparently very different, thanks to curiosity, intelligence and spirit of cooperation, were able to invent something that would have revolutionized the world of colours, but not only. To understand the innovative content of this invention, just think of the many, incredible uses that are made daily of Day-Glo colours: look around on your streets and you will be amazed!

Let me add here some nice images that I hope will help better understand how much these refined New Yorker style drawings are the perfect match to a story telling how, at times, discoveries are not just casual but also the result of genius, good will and research. Colours, of course, are Day-Glo!

Wednesday, 24 June 2009

Marcos Ana

I just started this blog and I am already writing about literature that is not properly for kids. I choose though, despite everything, to tell you about this poet that anyone should read, including kids. It's not just because it's my personal pleasure to tell you about him, it's also because I believe it's a civil duty in the noblest meaning of this term.

Marcos Ana (Fernando Macarro Castillo) is a hero of times that now seem so far away. With his almost ninety years of age and his uncertain pace, Marcos Ana has the unique ability to disarm and move with simple, open words. For who doesn't know his story I shall resume it by saying that he has been a political prisoner, under Franco's dictatorship, for twenty-three years: when he went to prison he was only eighteen, he was set free when he was more than forty. He suffered tortures of any kind, despite this his untamed, coriaceous soul helped him survive all the horror he experienced. Hearing him talking is the most moving experience, because with firm quietness he doesn't allow us to forget that freedom is the most important thing we have.

In indolent times such as ours, it's easy to see crooked smiles of pity when hearing messages like this, but amongst this majority I hope there will always be someone ready to take this message, someone who will make it his own message, someone ready to defend it from oblivion.

I copy here two short poems, that are part of the newly published autobiography: "Ditemi com'è un albero - Memorie della prigione e della vita", published by Crocetti (, a little masterpiece that I highly recommend. I do apologise if I keep the Italian version, but translating poetry requires skills I don't possess, I am sure though you will be able to find these in English as well maybe on his official website. A little additional information: Pedro Almodovar will soon be making a movie based on Ana's life.

(sogno di libertà)

Se un giorno tornerò alla vita
la mia casa non avrà chiavi:

sempre aperta, come il mare,
il sole e l'aria.

Che entrino la notte e il giorno,
la pioggia azzurra, la sera,
il pane rosso dell'aurora;
la luna, mia dolce amante.

Che l'amicizia non trattenga
il passo sulla soglia,
né la rondine il volo,
né l'amore le labbra. Nessuno.

La mia casa e il mio cuore
mai chiusi: che passino
gli uccelli, gli amici,
e il sole e l'aria.


Ditemi com'è un albero.
Ditemi il canto del fiume
quando si copre di uccelli.

Parlatemi del mare. Parlatemi
del vasto odore della campagna.
Delle stelle. Dell'aria.

Recitatemi un orizzonte
senza serratura né chiavi
come la capanna di un povero.

Ditemi com'è il bacio
di una donna. Datemi il nome
dell'amore: non lo ricordo.

Profumano ancora le notti
d'innamorati con tremiti
di passione sotto la luna?

O resta solo questa fossa,
la luce di una serratura
e la canzone delle mie lapidi?

Ventidue anni... Già dimentico
la dimensione delle cose,
il loro colore, il loro profuno... Scrivo

alla cieca: "il mare, "la campagna"...
Dico "bosco" e ho perduto
la geometria dell'albero.
Parlo per parlare di argomenti
che gli anni mi hanno cancellato.
(Non posso continuare: sento
i passi del funzionario).

Friday, 19 June 2009

About me

Hello everybody and welcome on my blog,

my name is Cristiana, on Myspace I'll soon be 100 years old, in real life I'm a little younger.

In ancient times, when Once unpon a long ago was present, I took my university degree in foreign languages - and literatures - with a work on the influence on French Symbolism on Oscar Wilde's Salomè, then I took another path...

I started to actively follow children's literature not a very long while ago: as usual I seem to need quite some meditation before finding the right way.

The passion for this part of literature I owe to my grandma, the only one I ever had... here she is

My grandmother was a simple person but she had a fervent imagination: she used to spend nights reading novels of any kind, she would have spent her life travelling, she was proud when she could eat much sugar and butter because - said she - having these goods during the war meant being rich, she loved listening to the radio and singing while she was doing housekeeping, she used to invent incredible games for her grandsons but, most of all, she was a wonderful storyteller. I remember the magic of slightly sleepy afternoons, right after lunch, while laying in bed she used to tell me amazing stories: her arms smelled so good and from that safe port I used to sail away light as breeze, ready for adventures beyond compare, always different. You might be wandering why I'm telling you about her... Because talking about her is as well talking about me, and because it's only thanks to her if I still keep sailing light as a cloud.

Getting back to the much less magic me... I have been writing for a children's literature magazine for a while, I have made several creative laboratories for kids aged 4 to 8, I should soon start Children's Literature classes at the local Popular University, and now here I am with this new exciting adventure.

I was lucky enough to travel quite a bit, this gave me the opportunity to find books that, here in Italy, are not so easy to find and I will be very happy to share them with you... Same thing said for Italian, French, Spanish and any other country's books that haven't been translated yet. During my research I was able to find real treasures, almost forgotten, that I would like to highlight in this blog.

I believe this is all I had to say, maybe...

And now, I make a bow and disappear in the mist!