Writing, publishing, publishing children’s books: “Building grain magazines” for a better future (by A. Calabrò)

Who knows if the world is really created “to end in a good book”, as Stéphane Mallarmé argued. Experience and literature certainly agree on emphasizing the centrality of history in the existential dimension of each person. And by recognizing himself in the words of Gabriel Garcia Marquez: “Life is not what you lived, but what you remember and how you remember it to tell it”. Or in Umberto Ecos: “Those who do not read as a 70-year-old will have lived only one life: their own. The reader will have lived 5,000 years: that was when Cain killed Abel, when Renzo married Lucia, when Leopardi admired the infinite … because reading is an immortality backwards ”.

There is wisdom that travels between the lines. And pleasure. Memory. And discovery. The thread of melancholy that from the shadow of memories and the pain of absence pushes us to create images and words that fill the void. And the wind of happiness that disrupts the usual thoughts and sets life in motion again. Because they have wings, words. And at the same time, the strength of stone. They make thoughts and feelings fly. And they root out experiences. They reveal the substance of things. And they open up worlds that were not there before they were named. The story is a journey. And each trip begets stories.

In short, words are a very serious game, just like those played by children. And it is precisely with children that we must engage generously so that they quickly, as quickly as possible, learn the fertile beauty of reading and therefore imagine, discover, plan. To tell, actually. And live.

This is the context in which the Campiello Junior Award was born, promoted by the Campiello Foundation and the Pirelli Foundation, to empower female authors and authors of books for children aged 10 to 14, which has now come to the end of its first edition. Three books in the finale (Chiara Carminati with “A Penguin in Trieste”, Bompiani; Guido Quarzo and Anna Vivarelli with “The box of dreams”, EditorialeScienza and Antonella Sbuelz with “This night I will not be back”, Feltrinelli), selected by a jury chaired by Roberto Piumini and then left to the vote of the jury by readers consisting of 160 very young readers (exactly according to the rules of the Campiello Prize). Award ceremony on May 6 at H-Farm Campus in Roncade (Treviso).

The meaning of the initiative lies precisely in the words of Roberto Piumini: “Those who write for children, those who print children’s books, those who promote or reward children’s literature, do something much more complex, dignified and risky than other forms of writing, publishing and promotion. For it is not a question, with these readers, of transferring existential, cultural themes or emotions to be placed in memory, in the system of a literary taste, but of giving language, cognitive and emotional words: to give words in the most anthropologically dense and the most delicate sense “.

Piumini insists: “Writing, publishing, promoting children’s storytelling means providing ways of knowledge, affectivity, identity, imagination and purpose. This is not solved, as in the literature of the past, with the description of examples and models or the threatening wisdom of admonitions, but with the gift of a rich language that plays and invites, creatively and energetically, to the variety and opportunity of the world “.

Enrico Carraro, President of the Campiello Foundation and Confindustria Veneto further explains: “With the Pirelli Foundation, we have established Campiello Junior with the aim of once again strengthening the author’s talent and spreading reading among children. cultural projects and therefore for the development of the country “.

From the Pirelli Foundation’s point of view, “the support for the Campiello Junior Prize aims to stimulate the writing of books for girls and boys as tools that enhance the enjoyment of discovery, knowledge and quality of life. And that’s part of the many initiatives has been launched in the course of our history of corporate libraries, dissemination of culture, the affirmation of a ‘civilization of the book’ as an indispensable part of responsible citizenship from an early age ‘.

Here is the basic cultural knot: the book as an essential tool for knowledge and responsibility, for human, personal and social development, for building a conscious relationship with the communities where children grow up and become adults. The joy of reading is combined with the definition of a critical personality. For in fact, the pun stimulates comparison, dialogue, appreciation of the other, awareness of the value of individuality and diversity. The fairy tale told on the pages of the books enriches the reader’s experience from an early age. And the main characters in these stories make life for each of us much more fruitful and teach us to imagine, build, explore new worlds.

Books as the basis for a more open, welcoming, civilized “city of man”. And libraries as a storehouse of experiences, projects, dreams. As grain magazines that guard the foundation of good food for body and soul, for a better future.

“Founding libraries is a bit like building public granaries again: gathering reserves for the spirit of the spirit, which I see coming from many tracks, in spite of myself,” writes Marguerite Yourcenar on the pages of a basic book, “Memoirs of Hadrian.” (that phrase is on the inner pediment at the entrance to the Pirelli Library in Bicocca, Milan). The danger of the spirit winter is recurring and at certain times, like those we experience now, particularly disturbing. Playing with the words of the books together with our children helps to build and pass on hope, after all.

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