Lygia Bojunga Nunes turns 90 on August 26th. She started her professional life as an actress, then went on to write for both radio and television. However, the overwhelming passion for literature ended up taking her completely away and we, mortal readers,
thirsty for a work capable of revolutionizing our guts, gained from it. Owner of magically colloquial writing and diverse in meanings and colors, she manages to cross the line of imagination and of any age group. There is no reader capable of leaving
one of her books as she entered. Her work breaks down stereotypes, prejudices and discrimination. Her work has no age or conceals truths. It is what it is.
Coincidentally, I have just read to my fourth and fifth grade classes at Colégio Agostiniano, more than 300 children, “Os Colegas” and “A Bolsa Amarela”. With no obligation of note, literary work or collection: the result was surprising. Several
children read the works in front of me, eager to know the end before my reading reached it. Others got the books from the families who had kept them since childhood. What is certain is that Lygia touches on issues that reflect growth and maturation in a
poetic and playful way. She knows how to speak to the reader the way he hears and manages to echo in our feelings and memory.
No wonder she was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen for her entire body of work (equivalent to the Nobel Prize in Literature), as well as countless other awards and having her books translated into more than 18 languages.
Lygia deserves prominence not only in Children's and Youth Literature, but in universal literature. Her work is timeless and essential for the reader who needs to reinforce the idea that growing up hurts, but it passes.
Congratulations, Lygia dear.
Soninha Santos is a literary critic, she is a contributor to Jornal Oportunidade .
"Winner of the 1982 Hans Christian Andersen award and the 2004 Astrid
Lindgren Memorial award, Brazilian author Lygia Bojunga Nunes has
written several children's books that have been translated into a
variety of languages. Though her work is known in many countries, only
two of her works have been translated into English: The Companions,
originally published in 1972 and translated to English in 1989, and My
Friend the Painter, published in 1987 and followed by an English
translation in 1991.
"Though Nunes's titles are usually directed to children, they are
noted for containing social commentary. The author is a critic of the
Brazilian school system; in fact, Nunes was concerned enough about
illiteracy that she cofounded a school for rural children to help them
better their education. Her titles have also focused on topics such as
women's rights, poverty, and the desire for freedom and democracy.
When Nunes began writing, her country's government was in turmoil;
from 1959 until 1989, there were no democratic elections held in
Brazil, and in that time, there were military coups and dictators
running the country. Nunes turned to children's books for her social
commentary because, as she explained, 'Generals don't read children's
books.' This commentary does not bog down Nunes's work, in the opinion
of critics and readers. On the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award Web
site, a biographer noted that Nunes 'constantly offsets the serious
with playfulness and absurd humor.' "