Brazilian Authors Series: Nireuda Longobardi explores environmental issues in children’s books


Nireuda Longobardi, whose latest book published, “O homem sem alma” (The soulless man) (2019), was selected for the Unesco Chair Program (Reading/PUC-Rio) this year, is this week’s character of the Brazilian Authors Series, an initiative of Brazilian Publishers – an industry project fostering the exports of Brazilian editorial content by means of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil).

“Traditional tales were part of my childhood. My mom and maternal grandmother used to tell me such stories”, recalls Nireuda. In “O homem sem alma”, the writer, who was born in Rio Grande do Norte but currently lives in São Paulo, brings back Brazilian traditions in a set of backlands, drought and daily routine of a family that faces lack of food.  

Addressing ecologic issues and using illustration techniques such as xylography and kirie (a traditional Japanese art form involving intricate paper cutting), Nireuda makes use of the knowledge acquired during her specialization in environmental management to deliver a message to young readers. In her illustration workshops, she uses recycled materials, such as wood and fabric remnants. “In my xylographs, I usually use reclaimed wood and scraps of hardboards and MDF, instead of top-quality wood.” 

In 2017, Editora Paulus published Nireuda’s title “Cadeira… Cadeia quebrada” (Chair… Broken chain), a book about art and ecology that explores the chair manufacturing process, from the tree to the furniture. The title also makes reference to famous artists who address ecology in their work, such as Frans Krajcberg, Vick Muniz and Hélio Melo. Besides the artists introduced in her book, Nireuda also talks about some illustrators she admires and who are important elements of her cultural baggage. “Comic books were part of my childhood”, she says mentioning Mauricio de Sousa. Other names mentioned by her are Eliardo França, Belmonte and Augustus, who illustrated several books by Monteiro Lobato, Ricardo Azevedo, Angela Lago, Michele Iacocca, Eva Furnari, Odilon Moraes e J. Borges. 

In 2010, the book “Mitos e Lendas do Brasil em Cordel” (Brazilian myths and legends in cordel poems), published by Editora Paulus, was selected by the National Foundation of Books for Children and Young People (FNLIJ) to be included in the catalog of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the world’s largest event focusing on books for children and YA readers. About the international reception of illustrated books, the writer says that in Europe, for example, people stimulate children to read – children’s book is a solid market there. “Illustrated books are books for the entire family. When you read to a kid, you are caressing the child”, adds the art educator.

Regarding the novelties in the near future, the writer says she is finishing the illustrations of her first picture book. “The title would be released in the São Paulo Book Fair 2020, but now it was postponed to 2021”, she adds, hoping that people think about their impact on nature. “I have hope of a better future”.

About the Series: Brazilian Authors

In order to stimulate knowledge about Brazilian contemporary literature, Brazilian Publishers – an industry project that promotes the exports of Brazilian editorial content through a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and the Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency (Apex-Brasil) – created the series “Brazilian Authors”, which brings information about contemporary Brazilian writers.

About Brazilian Publishers

Created in 2008, Brazilian Publishers is a trade sector project that promotes the exports of content produced by Brazilian publishing houses. It is the result of a partnership between the Brazilian Book Chamber (CBL) and Apex-Brasil (Brazilian Trade and Investment Promotion Agency). This initiative aims to promote the Brazilian publishing industry in the global market, contributing to the professionalization of Brazil’s publishing houses.