Adults and young adults

Some books promote change, others just the pleasure of reading.

What if a fiction book could inspire solidarity in those who read it?

The builder of futures

Rita Vilela
  • ISBN: 9789898358233
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: EDI9
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Number of pages: 128
One of the winners of the Fifth Agostinho de Cultura Competition (Brazil – 2016).

A book about a man who helps build the futures of those who cross his path…

To help him in his demanding mission to help others, he has a motley crew of friends: an elderly aunt (who is enthusiastic about her nephew’s projects and loves to play “Miss Marple”), a child who begs on the underground, a medical analyst, a night club bouncer, a bank employee, a traffic police officer, among others.

Filled with plausible characters who are easy to identify with, as well as a little mystery, action, intrigue and humour, the narrative revolves around different people who are helped by the builder and his group of friends. A particularly special case is Catarina’s, one that will follow readers throughout the book.

The results gained by the group challenge readers, nurturing the desire to follow in their footsteps and make a difference in other people’s lives.

The builder of futures

Carlos had always been good at imagining characters and scenarios, recreating the lives of the people around him in his mind’s eye.

What began as a boring job in customer service at the Job Centre turns out to have fascinating depths when Carlos discovers a way of applying his creative potential.

From nine to four, people take a number to sit in front of him and share their stories. He selects the most promising profiles and, before they know it, their lives are already changing… and always in surprising ways.

Among the few who know what he really does, he is known as “The builder of futures”.

  • This book deserves a prominent place on all our bookshelves… and in our lives. (Maria)
  • I don’t want to influence anyone’s reading list or give you any spoilers, but because I have read it and loved it, I can say that The builder of Futures deserves to be read, digested and, above all, deserves to have a ripple effect on our lives! This story is sure to strike a chord with anyone who reads it! (Prof. Dália Santos)
  • I can’t help thinking that this book will move people… The big little differences we can make in the lives of others – the book challenges us to dare to try. A great book! (Margarida Fonseca Santos)
  • I opened this book because I was curious… and I couldn’t put it down! I would recommend that all kids and adults read this because of how important the subject matter is, and the sensitive and creative way the author passes these messages on to us (Ana Sofia Caetano)
  • Rita surprises me more with every book she writes – every new one brings me new joy. I was fascinated by the story of Carlos and his team! FASCINATED! And I totally surrendered to the story, it’s amazing what he did for all those people, and the risks he took! (Andreia Vaz)
  • I’ve reread the book 3 times, and each time I wanted to start over again (João Pinto)
  • I had a lot of fun reading about Carlos and his team’s detective work, and the different circumstances approached within the book that filled it with action (Bruna Isabel Matias da Cunha)

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version) 

Excerpt

Early this afternoon, while I was at the customer service desk at the Job Centre, I listened carefully to Rogério Sousa, the person sitting in front of me. When he stopped for a moment, rifling through the briefcase he carried for a piece of paper, my mind kicked into action, my brain suddenly fully focused on finding a solution to his problem.

It would be hard to find him a job, but ideas started coming to me, creative ideas, bold ways to build a different future for the man who, sat in front of me, was asking for my help.

When he spoke again, handing me the paperwork that had been missing, I replied with complete sincerity:

– Don’t worry about your future, now … you’re in good hands.

A love story… with a touch of fantasy.

Maybe 10 is better

Rita Vilela
  • ISBN: 9789898358240
  • Published: 2010
  • Publisher: EDI9
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Number of pages: 112

Margarida is a successful businesswoman with a lonely, uninteresting personal life, who has a secret she is ashamed of…

Unexpected events will force her to change, and discover that a family of 10 may be far better than living alone.

Maybe 10 is better

People say that one is lonely, two is company… Daisy is about to find out that maybe ten is even better!
A silver ball rolling down the pavement… a lamp that falls off the table… a dress that comes loose from the washing line… a painting that changes colour. These are all signs of the change that’s approaching.

The turning point in Margarida’s life is now getting closer and closer, and nothing will ever be the same again!

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

I startled Catarina when I shouted. She froze with her hand on the doorknob.
– Don’t open it, please – I insisted, softening my voice but speeding towards the door. What I wanted more than anything was for that door to close.
I saw her pause, eager to satisfy her curiosity about what was in the room she was not allowed to see. But politeness finally won out, and she closed the door slowly, resisting the urge to sneak a peek.
– It’s really messy – I explained, stepping forwards so that I was between her and the room, but I could see it in her eyes that she knew I was lying. I pictured her imagining something like a naked man lying in bed and almost smiled at the irony.
I led her into the panoramic room, a small space overlooking the bright Tagus that stretched into the distance. Soft, peaceful, relaxing.
– I like listening to music while I watch the river – I confessed, but her expression told me she wasn’t listening. Her head was still in that forbidden room.

I thought this book was magical (Bruna Isabel Matias da Cunha)

Learning how to live through a trail of tales.

Book series: Metaphors

Two game-books of therapeutic metaphors for adults and youths.

#1 Stories to tell yourself
#2 Playing with Serious Things – 2010

Each reader’s choices will take them on a unique reading path with transformative power.

 

Book series: Metaphors

Using their experience as therapists, Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela have written a set of metaphors that help readers get to know themselves, solve problems, and change.

They have created two game-books, within which two characters talk, ask each other questions and provide alternative answers.

As each reader gets further through the book, an individual reading path with transformative power is created, depending on their individual answers.

Combining the fun of reading with the therapeutic effect of the texts, these books are very different when compared to other books of the same genre:

  • The stories are framed through questions that lead each reader from story to story, along a path that is inspired by their choices, transforming reading into a kind of game;
  • They can be read individually or be used as a basis for a group activity;
  • All the stories are original, have been written by the authors, and work with common problems among both young people and adults.
  • The stories have open endings, without “explanations” or “conclusions,” allowing each reader to take whatever they may need from each metaphor, at any given moment.

One example of a story from the book is about a button that changes colour when irritated, but goes on to learn from an old uniform button how to stay its original colour. This story teaches readers how to control their emotions.

In another story, a handkerchief that dreamed of flying will find that happy thoughts help it float, while sad thoughts leave it stuck on the ground.

The feedback collected on the blog page dedicated to the book, as well as from the audience’s reactions during story-telling sessions, have demonstrated the ability of these metaphors to touch people who read or hear them.

Stories to tell yourself has been used in various Portuguese schools and was one of the books chosen for the 5th Edition of the National Reading Challenge.

  • This book is worth reading!! I can safely say that it has helped me find a new, better path! (Anabela)
  • This book has been therapeutic for me. I’m learning to look inside myself for what I need, for what completes and scares me. I’ll take these stories with me because I know I can count on them in hard times (Pérola)
  • It is a way to find out more about ourselves, gain knowledge and work towards personal development. It’s enjoyable. (Partilhar Blog) 
  • Magic for our minds – Beautifully designed and an excellent therapeutic tool… Recommended reading, capable of providing interesting moments and bringing change to our lives (Jreis)
  • A book that helps us think – Telma Barros

English version not available

One of the stories from the book told in a video.

The choices you make will have a surprising effect on your life.

Stories to tell yourself

Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela

#1 Metaphors

  • ISBN: 9789895553938
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Oficina do Livro
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Number of pages: 200
Take this challenge and start playing to win.
The choices you make will have a surprising effect on your life.

Metaphorical tales that bring a therapeutic effect to the pleasure of reading. Can be enjoyed on your own or with friends.

The book begins with a story, which ends with a question that has various answers. From then on, we are on our own. The choice leads us to one of several possible ‘next’ stories, a new question, and so on.

By the end of the journey, we will have learned more about ourselves.

Stories to tell yourself

Is “Stories to tell yourself” a game or a book of metaphors?

It starts as a game: each choice leads readers from one story to the next, following a path they create themselves…

Stories that stimulate our imagination, dreams and fantasies…
Stories we like to tell other people…
Stories about our own real lives and problems we know so well…
Stories that might make us think…

The stories change as you go along, and, who knows, by the end of the book, readers might also have changed…

Do you accept the challenge? That’s the first question you’ll have to answer.

 

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

How do you usually react when you feel threatened:

  • You shrink back – go to page 90 – The Iron
  • You attack – continue to page 146 – Changing Colour
  • You run away – proceed to page 18  – The shadow
  • You want more options – Find them in the previous questions

To get a better idea of what’s inside, click on the “read” tab of the book “Playing with serious things”.

Therapeutic tales to read and share.

Playing with serious things

Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela

#2 Metaphors

  • ISBN: 9789895555284
  • Published: 2009
  • Publisher: Oficina do Livro
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Number of pages: 154

Drawing on their experience and relying on the power of words, in 2008 Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela wrote Stories to tell yourself. Two years later, they’ve done it again, coming up with a whole new set of stories that challenge readers to get to know themselves better.

Playing with serious things is a book that turns into more of a game, stimulating fun and bringing people together. At the end of each story there are several questions and a choice to be made; then another story and more questions and choices of answers.
A book for everyone: parents and children, teachers and students.

Playing with serious things is a book about you and about others.

Get friends or family together, read the first story and ask the first question.

Then allow yourself to be surprised by the final result.

Will you take this chance?

Playing with serious things

Is this a game or a book?

It starts as a game, a challenge: each choice leads readers from one story to another, following a path they create themselves…

Stories that stimulate our imagination, dreams and fantasies…
Stories we like to tell other people…
Stories about our own real lives and problems we know so well…
Stories that might make us think…

The stories change as you go along, and, who knows, by the end of the book, readers might also have changed…

Do you accept the challenge? That’s the first question you’ll have to answer.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

R    “I will take these stories with me, because I know I can count on them in difficult times…”

M   How extraordinary! Who said that?

R    Someone who suffers from a very serious illness and uses our book to feel better…

M   We’ve had a lot of comments about the effect these stories have had on readers’ lives.

R    And you know what else? We write with adults in mind, but the truth is that teenagers have got hold of the ideas and delved deep into this game.

M   Teens? Aren’t you forgetting about a special case…?

R    I am, you’re right! A nine-year-old girl demanded that the book stay in her room. Her parents can only sneak a peak at the stories on rare occasions.

M   Poor things…

R    But the funniest part of this story is that when her two-year-old brother starts crying or throwing a tantrum, she goes to get the book. She says his brother needs a story and reads one to him. And he… calms down, lulled by his sister’s voice. Isn’t that the most heart-warming thing? We love hearing stories like that!

M   If you want to leave a comment, you can do so on our blogs or send us an email…

R    I don’t know if we’ve already said that our contact details are in the book’s datasheet.

M           But right now, what we need is for you to make a choice. Look at the range of options and made a decision. Where do you feel like going right now?

When something bothers you, what is the hardest thing to do?

  • Stay quiet – go to page 36. – Bernardo’s collar
  • Say something – continue to page 80. – The shell and the nut
  • Say “no” – go to page 57 – The king’s youngest daughter
  • Talk back – Go back.

***

The shell and the nut

This is a very old story, from a time when animals still spoke – a story so old that we are not quite sure how accurate the facts are, but it seems it all took place more or less like this…

There was once a pink female elephant that fell in love with a white male elephant.

Everyone said that they were very different, that it would never work, but the truth is that when their trunks touched, they immediately knew that together, they would even be able to walk on water lilies.

It just so happens that the female elephant really liked shelled peanuts. And it just so happened that the male elephant preferred the shell to the nut. How nice, you could think, each one could eat the part they liked the most! But that’s not quite how it worked…

The female elephant did her best to shell the peanuts to give her beloved the nut, but in return, she received only shells from him.

The white elephant, on the other hand, sacrificed himself to eat the nut, to give his beloved the best part – the shells – but she never did the same for him.

Neither of them felt comfortable enough to comment on the other’s behaviour, but they were both hurt.

“If he really liked me, he would shell the peanuts, like I do to please him,” she thought.

“If she really liked me, she would leave the shell for me to eat,” he reflected.

And over time, because of the peanuts, their trunks began to move further and further apart, and they no longer felt like they could float on the water lilies on the lake… After all, acts of kindness are the least you would expect from your companion, the one person you love so much.

This story took place a long time ago, so long ago there are no longer records of how it really ended.

But I like to think that, one day, one of them decided to share how they were feeling with the other. One decided to tell the other what would make them happy… and this small gesture would allow them to understand each other.

I like to imagine them both eating peanuts together, each one separating the parts to give the other the one they liked most.

There are many possible endings to the story, but I’d really like to think it all worked out in the best possible way.

Youth

Some books promote change, others just the pleasure of reading.

Helping young people through hard times.

Book series: 3-handed fables

A partnership between three writers Maria Teresa Maia Gonzales, Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela. 

#1 – Fables about winning and losing
#2 – Memory of an elephant and other fables about winning and losing
#3 – The vegetarian shark and other fables about winning and losing

Book series: 3-handed fables

This series of books was born from a partnership between Rita Vilela and two bestselling Portuguese authors – Maria Teresa Maia Gonzales (author of best seller The Moon of Joana) and Margarida Fonseca Santos.

In the first two books (Memory of an Elephant and other fables about winning and losing and The vegetarian shark and other fables about winning and losing), six original fables tell stories of animals that, having lost something important, discover that losing can also be a way to win.

For example, an elephant loses its memory (the characteristic elephants value most) and, because of that, makes an unlikely friend and gets a new job.

The book Fables about winning and losing is packed with 18 fables about losses, fears and many other important things.

Books that help young people overcome difficulties.

Fables for a lot of things.

Fables about winning and losing

Margarida Fonseca Santos, Maria Teresa Maia Gonzalez and Rita Vilela

#3 – 3-handed fables

  • ISBN: 9789722231831
  • Published: 2018
  • Publisher: Verbo
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 194 x 275 x 13 mm
  • Format: hardcover
  • Number of pages: 112

The book Fables about winning and losing is packed with 18 fables about losses, fears and many other important things.

Books that help young people overcome difficulties.

Fables about winning and losing

Who wants to marry the little ant? That’s weird…!
A skunk running away from its annual bath? That’ll never end well…
A beaver who doesn’t sleep? Will fall into the water…
A mouse trapped in a mousetrap?! You’ll never believe how…
Angry squirrels?! Is there such a thing?!
A duck-shaped target, or a target-shaped duck?
If you think a seahorse has it easy, you’re wrong…
And if you think caterpillars like to turn into butterflies, you may need to find out more about the process they have to go through…
Believe me – some spiders are afraid of mosquitoes!
And even owls that don’t want to go to school…!
But a raccoon can make a difference, it can!
And in fact, when things seem to be getting scary, do like a kangaroo does – jump over it!

We think you need to read these stories so that you can understand what is going on! And we don’t think you’ll be forgetting them in a hurry.

Read the first pages here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

I don’t know if you know what it’s like to live in an aquarium: it’s small, everyone knows each other, everyone gossips about what the neighbours are up to and… everyone is everyone else’s neighbour.

It was into this island-like environment, but at the other end of the tank, that a pair of seahorses, Shhe and Hhe, were placed one day.

The neighbours were suspicious of them from the very start… after all, what type of fish swim standing up?

If that had been the only strange thing about them, they might have been able to get past it… but it wasn’t! These animals were different from all the others. All the fish in the aquarium had fish faces, but the newcomers’ faces made them look like… horses. All the other fish had a flat tail, but the newcomers used theirs to wrap around things, to cling to plants like monkeys. All the other fish liked to swim around in the water, but the newcomers found it very hard to swim across the aquarium from one end to the other, and it took them almost an hour.

As a punishment for being different, they were given a name by the fish – and not a pretty one. They called the newcomers Hippocampus, which, my friends, means monster horse… (How cruel is that!?)

As you can see, the two newcomers didn’t find it easy to fit into their new home. But, if truth be told, it had been like that in all the other aquariums they’d ever been in, so they were used to it.

Losing can also be a way of winning.

Memory of an elephant and other fables about winning and losing

Margarida Fonseca Santos, Maria Teresa Maia Gonzalez and Rita Vilela

#1 – 3-handed fables

  • ISBN: 789892704012
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: PI
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 130 x 190 x 9 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 98

Six original fables tell stories of animals that, having lost something important, find out that losing can also be a way to win.

Books that help young people overcome difficulties.

Memory of an elephant and other fables about winning and losing

Sigmund, the elephant with the memory of an ant, Faruk, the dog who couldn’t sniff, and Feather-Less, the plucked peacock, are some of the friends you will meet in these Fables about winning and losing.

With each one, readers will learn that in the midst of everything that can be lost, there is so much to be gained.

Read these fables to find out how!

Read the first ​chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

If you ask a human which traits an elephant has that all animals envy, you’ll certainly hear some answer: size, strength, or even intelligence… but none of those answers are right. The characteristic this powerful animal has that everyone envies most is their memory.

All the animals in the savannah would love to have the memory of an elephant. It would mean they could learn more, they would stop making the same mistakes, and they would be able to remember all the good things that happen to them.

Yes, because the fish in the big lake, poor things, still get caught. They’ve been warned over and over again, but they still haven’t learned to avoid the fishermen’s nets. The parrots still haven’t learned to keep a secret. The young monkeys still haven’t learned to be quiet. The hedgehogs still haven’t learned not to prickle each other with their spikes… But why? It is said that all this is because they do not have the memory of an elephant (although many people think this might not quite be true).

Sigmund was a young elephant who loved to show off his talents. One day, to prove he was the best, he memorised the whole jungle phone book. From the African grey parrots – who there were a lot of, and who never go anywhere without their phones – to the zebras, there was no animal whose number Sigmund had not memorised.

Sigmund’s prize was a papaya, a kiwi and a kiss, from Delfina’s trunk, the most beautiful elephant in his parade. The young elephant swelled with pride.

Sigmund ate the fruit all in one go, but proudly showed off the mark her lipstick had made on his cheek for several days.

One day, however, while he was playing tag, he looked backwards at his friend, who was chasing him, and hit his head against a tree.

He saw stars whirling around his head, but when they disappeared, he realised that something else had gone away with them… his memory. He couldn’t remember a single thing!

Losing can also be a way of winning.

The vegetarian shark and other fables about winning and losing

Margarida Fonseca Santos, Maria Teresa Maia Gonzalez and Rita Vilela

#2 – 3-handed fables

  • ISBN: 789892704029
  • Published: 2011
  • Publisher: PI
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 130 x 190 x 9 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 98

Six original fables tell stories of animals that, having lost something important, discover that losing can also be a way to win.

Books that help young people overcome difficulties.

The vegetarian shark and other fables about winning and losing

B, the disoriented bee, Trident, the shark who goes on a diet, and Vitor, the homeless snail, are some of the friends you will meet in these Fables about winning and losing.

With each one, readers will learn that in the midst of everything that can be lost, there is so much to be gained.

Read these fables to find out how!

Read the first​ chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

If anyone asked him what he pictures when he thought about his future, the image that would pop into his mind was of him, winning first place in the most prestigious of all horse races. He was sure that one day, his dream would come true.

One afternoon, however, bad luck was lying in wait for him as he began practicing on the obstacle course. A marmot had dug a lair under the course, and as he landed a jump, instead of finding hard soil, the earth gave way, his right hoof sinking down into the hole.

They called the vet, who arrived shortly after, wearing his white coat. He examined the horse’s leg and gave his diagnosis.

But how do we tell a horse like that that he can no longer race? How do we tell an animal that he has to give up on all his dreams? That the future he had pictured is no longer possible?

The vet spelled it out for him: “you will walk again, but you will never be able to run”, and left him to his thoughts.

When attitudes make life difficult.

Dreaming with K

Rita Vilela
  • ISBN: 9789723326901
  • Published: 2012
  • Publisher: Editorial Estampa
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Number of pages: 140
When attitudes make life difficult… There’s a book that can help young people lead happier lives.

Karina is a teenager who has had a tumultuous life (separated parents, a depressed mother, problems at school), and who spends her life imagining situations that don’t always end well.

To earn some money, she starts taking care of a younger boy, Ricardo, who loves football but can’t play because of a bicycle accident. It is this unexpected character who teaches Karina to use her imagination to overcome her problems and lead a happier life.

Readers will also learn for themselves that our imagination is a powerful instrument, and that the way we use it will influence the results we get.

An important story for daydreamers, people who act out “films” in their heads, and those who imagine their own “scenes”. 

Dreaming with K

Have you ever closed your eyes and imagined scenes, or even a whole film?

That’s what happens to Karina all the time. She imagines an unending list of films, but they don’t always have happy endings.

One day, she meets Ricardo, a boy who loves football and who shows her a secret technique he’s learned to help people fulfil their desires.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version) 

Excerpt 

Leaning heavily on Mrs Luisa, Karina limped into the chief of staff’s office, where the first-aid kit was stored. On the way, she went over what had happened in her mind’s eye: something had made her stumble, pinning one of her feet under her. There had been nothing in front of her; someone must have tripped her on purpose… And who else could it have been but Silvia?

The pain was excruciating.
Her torturer repeated the question:
– Where are the headquarters of the resistance?
K kept quiet, she could not give them this information. The survival of the last resistance stronghold depended on her. She would have to endure the torture. She could not deliver her friends into the hands of the “Exhausters”.
A vial of acid was placed on her leg, corroding everything, opening a wound, in search of fresh flesh. The metal ring in her right hand reminded her of who she was: Super-K, and she used her superhero courage to resist without screaming from the pain.

– All done! – Said Mrs Luisa, looking pleased. – That wasn’t too bad, was it?

Karina looked at her angrily. How could she say such a thing, after torturing her like that?

I read this book in 3 nights. I couldn’t stop reading it was so good! I really liked their personalities and it touched on one important subject – psychological violence in schools. It is an important book to work on that.

A fun trip through the lives of some of the most important figures in World History!

Book series: World Geniuses

Rita Vilela
Illustrated by Vasco Gargalo 
 
Let’s find out about the geniuses of the world, so we can see that they were people like us after all, with qualities and limitations, dreams and fears.

These 4 books, Van Gogh, Leonardo Da Vinci, Mozart and Gandhi, which were written by Rita Vilela, are part of the young adult World Geniuses series (12 volumes in total, the other 8 of which were written by Margarida Fonseca Santos).

Each book contains two parallel stories: 21st century characters reveal the most striking and interesting aspects of the life and work of great geniuses.

Readers will learn about who these unique characters were and what they did in a light, fun way.

Book series: World Geniuses

Welcome to the world of the greatest geniuses ever!

This series is made up of 12 books, full of adventures!

Each book takes us on a trip through the lives of famous geniuses throughout history like Gandhi, Beethoven, Shakespeare and Marie Curie, among others, using a light tone and always using teenagers as the main characters.

This series, which was written by Margarida Fonseca Santos and Rita Vilela, gives kids and teens fun reading books that also teach them about great historical figures.  

BEETHOVEN

The 8th grade teacher finally told them what their project would be for the year. They had to choose someone who was world-famous and put together an entire project about them, to present to their class. They would need to do a lot of research and investigation, and it would definitely be a challenge for the students. Joana, Mary and Peter picked Beethoven! They were really excited to find out more about the great composer. The school project was a success, ending with Joana playing a Beethoven piece herself. The class was so impressed they clapped for minutes on end.

GANDHI

Young Ric is a victim of bullying at school. One day, after refusing to give his watch to the gang, he runs away and ends up falling over, breaking his leg and getting lost in the woods. Louis and Peter, 2 brothers, find Ric in the woods and he explains what has happened. Louis starts to explain Gandhi’s way of life and Ric gets excited. Inspired, he starts a project in the school’s newspaper, using the platform to campaign against violence. Gandhi ends up being someone Ric and his friends look up to and, in the end, the gang finally leaves the kids alone… Ric wins the “fight” using no violence at all!

VAN GOGH

One day, Fran opens her neighbour’s post because she’s worried about him and wants to help.
Her best friend finds out and is shocked, but decides to use Fran’s curiosity to show her letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother. The life of the artist and very special human being is then revealed through the letters.

SHAKESPEARE

The theatre group “Always on the scene” is planning a play where Shakespeare is the main character but is surrounded by 21st century people. They don’t want to put on a normal play – their main aim is to surprise the audience and create a piece that brings together all of his 37 plays, some of his pieces of poetry, and several of his most famous quotes. The group dives deep into their research and travels around, digging deeper into Shakespeare’s legacy and learning all about this great genius. Plays like “King Lear”, “The Tempest”, “All’s well that ends well” and many others, end up being just the beginning of an amazing adventure.

SOCRATES

Filomena is writing a play she’ll put on at her school. The theme of her play is the story of the judgment and death of Socrates, the great philosopher. While she’s writing the play, Socrates’ teaching method (irony) also proves to be very useful in Filomena’s life, as it helps her convince a child of the importance of rules and obeying them, and to accept the consequences if they don’t. It also helps her persuade her oldest son to follow his passion: Fine Art. 

PICASSO

Teresa is going to Paris to take part in a painting summer course for two and a half months. She is scared and unsure of her value as an artist, and whether she has talent. She doubts that she’ll be able to live up to expectations. However, when she arrives in Paris, she meets three new friends: Marianne, Peter and… Pablo Picasso! Yes, Pablo Picasso himself. She starts seeing and talking to the artist’s own ghost, who helps her with her coursework and paintings. In the meantime, Peter and Teresa become really close…

PASTEUR

Nowadays, Louis Pasteur is known as the father of Microbiology and Immunology, but people might be surprised when they hear the story of his life. He was not a brilliant student, but a hard worker and a persistent one. Born into a humble family, he worked very hard to get where he wanted to be in the world of chemistry and make the discoveries he did. In spite of every injustice and jealous attack he faced, he never gave up, going on to become a respected professor and great scientist. This is what Philippe discovered from the paper his Literature professor asked him to write, about fifty years ago… 

MOZART

Triplets Mariana, André and Daniela have finally been allowed to go to Lisbon on their own (without their parents) for the first time. They’re off to see “The Magic Flute”, the opera within which two acts were written by Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart. Mariana is a huge fan of Mozart and is determined to make her siblings fall in love with opera as much as she has, by telling them the fabulous story of this great musician and composer. After the concert, they go to a coffee shop in downtown Chiado and meet a violinist named Mario, who helps them understand the genius that was Mozart even better. 

GALILEO

Filipa is a student who needs to do a piece of schoolwork about a historical figure, so she chooses the great scientist Galileo Galilei. Helped by her grandfather, Alberto, who coincidentally did an identical piece of work while he was at school, Filipa is about to find out some incredible facts about Galileo’s life. By defending and proving the heliocentric theory, amongst other important discoveries and theories, his work marks the separation between the Catholic Church and Science – a rift that is still present now. Accused and condemned of crimes against the holy scriptures, the Catholic Church only absolved him in… 1992!

EINSTEIN

António and Joaquim are two scriptwriters working on a fictional documentary about Albert Einstein’s life and work… As they work, we find out about how Einstein’s parents thought he was disabled when he was a baby, but how he then went on to become a famous scientist, even being featured on the front pages of the most important reviews and newspapers in the world. He embodied everything a genius should be – in a very modern way! His work and theories revolutionised the notion we have of Physics today, but, above all, he was an outstanding character, with strong beliefs and ethics. 

MARIE CURIE

Marie Curie was a strong, inspiring woman. A brilliant student from the offset, and a natural leader as she grew up, she worked hard as a teacher to pay her way through higher education. At a time in which women were forbidden from going to university in her country, Poland, she immigrated to Paris so that she could keep learning. With the constant support of her husband, Pierre Curie, she made crucial scientific discoveries, many of which were conducted in detriment to her own health, and with no monetary gains or public recognition – because she was a woman. However, she’s finally got the recognition she deserved, having been the first person to win two Nobel prizes, one in Chemistry and another in Physics. 

LEONARDO DA VINCI

A man with a never-ending curiosity, Leonardo Da Vinci’s knowledge spanned a whole range of different areas, such as sculpture, painting, war engineering, mechanics, medicine, sciences, and even minor subjects as gastronomy and etiquette! As a real humanist of his time, he truly believed in knowledge built through observation and experience, rather than the bookish knowledge passed from teachers to students, without them actually taking any action themselves. With the help of their grandfather, two little sisters, Teresa and Leonor, are about to find out that Da Vinci is the most perfect example of the cultural values and methods of the Renaissance, and of Humanism.

Although this book is aimed at children and teenagers, it does something very interesting: it summarises the most important information about the lives of great geniuses in a simple way, including information about their childhoods (fichasleitura.blogspot.pt)

English versions not available

Could Gandhi help save an injured boy?

Mahatma Gandhi

Rita Vilela
Illustrated by Vasco Gargalo

#1 World Geniuses

  • ISBN: 9789896480257
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Pass
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 140 x 209 x 7 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 120

Mahatma Gandhi

Could Mahatma Gandhi help save an injured boy?

Two brothers find a boy in the woods – he is injured and has been the victim of bullying. While one of the brothers goes to get help (and gets lost on the way), the other begins to tell the story of Mahatma Gandhi, to take his mind off his pain.

Through several episodes from the life of this genius of humanity, the injured boy will become aware of different ways we can react to violence.

The historical character’s life, along with issues of racism, violence and bullying are all worked out in a light but effective way.

***

The World Geniuses series opens doors into the lives of some of the most significant figures in world History.

In each book you’ll find two parallel stories: 21st century characters reveal the most striking and interesting things about the life and work of great geniuses.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

– Do you know who Mahatma Gandhi was? – Louis asked. – He was actually called Mohandas Karamchand, but people called him Mahatma, which means Great Soul.
The boy looked at him as if he had gone mad. Why was he asking that? And why did he care about if Gandhi was really called “No Hands cramchant or whatever? He felt like answering, “I don’t know and I don’t care, I’m in pain,” but he kept quiet.
– I telling you about him because once, as he was leaving the ship that had taken him back to South Africa from India, he was surrounded by a raging mob.
– What did he do to deserve that?
– Absolutely nothing. He was accused of two things, but he was innocent of both.
Ric’s suspicions were raised immediately. He hated that whenever he would complain, his father would reminded him that there was always someone worse-off than him. But soon, he began to take an interest in the story.
Ric closed his eyes as Louis spoke and pictured the scene: Gandhi standing surrounded by the menacing crowd. He saw him being separated from his friend, isolated, alone, surrounded by hostile people. He imagined himself in his place, and felt the fear that he must have felt and the blow from each of the stones, rotten eggs and pieces of brick thrown at him. He felt like he was about to faint, just like Gandhi had, all those years ago, as he clung to the fence of a house, trying to stand and catch his breath as they continued to beat him.
And then, when it seemed that all was lost, he saw the police chief’s wife, who bravely stepped between him and the crowd. She brandished her open umbrella like a shield, protecting him. In the image Ric could see in his mind’s eye, this woman looked like his classmate, Daisy, the only girl in the class he could imagine bravely doing something like that.
Louis carried on with the story.
– With help from the chief of police, Gandhi managed to hide out in his friends’ house, but in the street outside, the crowd kept shouting: “we want Gandhi”. They seemed like they might even break into the house to get to him.
– What happened next? Asked Ric curiously.

What is the connection between Leonardo Da Vinci and teenage issues?

Leonardo Da Vinci

Rita Vilela
Illustrated by Vasco Gargalo

#2 World Geniuses

  • ISBN: 9789898054975
  • Published: 2016
  • Publisher: Pass
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 140 x 209 x 7 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 120

Leonardo Da Vinci

What is the connection between Leonardo Da Vinci and teenage problems?

A grandfather uses the example set by Leonardo da Vinci to help his two granddaughters solve problems similar to those the artist faced.

***

The World Geniuses series opens doors into the lives of some of the most significant figures in world History.

In each book you’ll find two parallel stories: 21st century characters reveal the most striking and interesting things about the life and work of great geniuses.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

– I’m right, aren’t I, grandfather?  Doing things well takes time – Leonor said, pleadingly. Her Grandfather was the only adult she could talk to openly, the only one who understood her.

– I’m going to tell you the story of a well-known man who had the same problem you’re having, even though he was an adult, was enormously talented and was a genius. His name was Leonardo, Leonardo da Vinci.

– I’ve heard of him. He was an Italian painter, wasn’t he?

– He was far more than just a painter. But yes, he was Italian, born in the small town of Vinci, or a nearby hamlet, on the 15th of April 1452, near the city of Florence, which was, at the time, the artistic and intellectual centre of Italy.

– April … the 15th of April  … so he was an Aries.

– Whether he was that animal or not, I don’t know, Leonor!

– Not animal, Grandfather, I’m talking about his star sign!

– I know, I was teasing you sweetheart. But I don’t actually know a lot about star signs. Whether he was an Aires or not, I know he was a very talented artist and painter, and remarkably intelligent. He was probably the smartest ram, pardon, Aires, ever.

– Don’t tease me, grandfather!

– But despite his intelligence, as far as we know, Da Vinci produced relatively few works. It seems that less than twenty paintings have survived up to now, and he would have spent over forty years in the art world. I have to say though, that one of the paintings is the most famous painting ever – the Mona Lisa! And his others are also truly remarkable.

– Why are there so few of them?

– Some say that many of his works may have been lost, but the most obvious explanation is that most of his works took several years to complete. A long time would often go by between him starting and finishing them, sometimes several years.

– Seriously?

– And you know that he wasn’t always understood in his time. It is said that people commented on how slow he was in finishing his work: the general consensus is that if there had been a competition for the slowest painter, Da Vinci would easily have won first prize. Pope Leo X even said he was “an original that will never do anything, because he thinks about the end before he has even started”…

– That’s so unfair! Poor Da Vinci! – Exclaimed Leonor indignantly.

– I think the Pope might not have like him because he was a Leo. Lions have always seen rams as inferior animals.

– Stop joking around Grandfather! Tell me more!

English version not available
Can being nosy enough to read other people’s letters help us find out more about Van Gogh?

Van Gogh

Rita Vilela
Illustrated by Vasco Gargalo

#3 World Geniuses

  • ISBN: 9789896480004
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Zero a Oito
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 140 x 209 x 7 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 128

Van Gogh

Can being nosy enough to read other people’s letters help us find out more about Van Gogh?

Through the letters Van Gogh wrote to his brother, a woman who likes to read other people’s post will discover and be won over by this painter and very special human being.

***

The World Geniuses series opens doors into the lives of some of the most significant figures in world History.

In each book you’ll find two parallel stories: 21st century characters reveal the most striking and interesting things about the life and work of great geniuses.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

Fran opened the door, letting Ana in. Her neighbour had a large envelope in her hands, which piqued the housewife’s interest.

– What have you got there? Fran asked, before the other woman had even had a chance to sit down.
– I’ve brought you a present.
– A present?
– Yes, a set of letters.
– Letters?
– Yes, private letters that were written by a person to a group of people, especially to their brother.
– But why would I care about the letters if I don’t know who wrote them?
– You do! Not personally, of course, but you know of them.
– What are you talking about!?
– Imagine you got the chance to read private letters written by a celebrity, someone who’s very famous.
– Like someone out of a magazine?
– Much, much more important than that.
– I’m curious. Show me the letters – she said.
– Wait, wait, let me have my fun. I’ll give you clues about who it is, and you can guess. Or actually, ask me yes or no questions!
– Is it a man?
– Yes.
– Does he have blonde or brown hair?
– Neither. He was ginger and had a beard.
– You said “was”? So he’s dead. Was he married?
– What kinds of questions are these? No, he wasn’t married. He had a few lovers, but never settled down.
– Was he a scientist?
– No, nothing like that.
– An artist?
– Yes, well done!
– Was he rich and famous or just famous?
– Neither, while he was alive he was always in debt and no one knew of him.
– Did he have a disability? – Fran asked, thinking of the eye Camões had lost in battle.
– Kind of. There was a bit less of him after a certain point.
– Which bit?
– Yes or no questions! – said Ana, remembering her own rules for the game.
– Was he a writer?
– That’s a hard one. He wrote a lot – he really needed to write, and wrote well. But no, he isn’t known for his writing.
– Damn it! It’s not who I was thinking of then. Was he an artist?
– Yes.
– Where was he born?
– Don’t even think about it! Yes or no questions!
– Was he Portuguese?
– No, he was Dutch.
“She goes on about the rules but then answers whatever she wants”, Fran thought.
– Was he alive recently?
– No, he lived in the 19th century. He was born in 1853.
– A Dutch, ginger, 19th century painter? Fran had no idea.
– I give up. Tell me whose letters they are!
– Vincent Van Gogh. Do you know who he was?

English version not available

A montagem é de Margarida Galante

Will three siblings be able to find Mozart in Lisbon?

Mozart

Rita Vilela
Illustrated by Vasco Gargalo

#4 World Geniuses

  • ISBN: 9789896480295
  • Published: 2008
  • Publisher: Zero a Oito
  • Edition Language: portuguese
  • Dimensions: 140 x 209 x 7 mm
  • Format: paperback
  • Number of pages: 128

Mozart

Will three siblings be able to find Mozart in Lisbon?

Three siblings are given a trip to Lisbon to watch a Mozart Opera and learn something very important about the life of this genius musician, who enjoyed having fun.

***

The World Geniuses series opens doors into the lives of some of the most significant figures in world History.

In each book you’ll find two parallel stories: 21st century characters reveal the most striking and interesting things about the life and work of great geniuses.

Read the first chapters here (portuguese version)

Excerpt

– Whoever can guess the name of this song wins a prize – he said, starting to play.
As soon as they heard the first few notes, all three shouted out in unison.
– Queen of the Night. It’s the Queen of the Night aria.
– Very good! – Said the man, impressed. – But for each of you to get a prize, you’ll have to answer two more questions.
– Go on! – encouraged André.
– Who wrote the song?
– Mozart – they all shouted at once.
– Actually, we’ve just come from the opera, “The Magic Flute”, so that was an easy one – confessed Daniela.
– So let’s try something a little harder. Who was Mozart?
– A musical child prodigy – Mariana said.
– Someone who learned to play and compose without even trying – André said.
– And he had a great dad who helped him too, didn’t he? – Daniela continued, putting what she had just learned to good use.
– People always answer the same things – the violinist sneered, raising his voice.
Seeing his reaction, Daniela cringed, Mariana waited expectantly, and André straightened in his chair so that he could defend his sisters if he needed to. The man noticed their reactions and couldn’t help but laugh.
– Oh dear, I am sorry! It’s not your fault! It just makes me see that how little people know about Mozart.
The violinist paused for a moment before he started speaking again:
– You’ve just watched The Magic Flute, haven’t you? What’s the story about?
– It’s about mistakes… – Daniela began.
– It’s about things that seem like they’re one thing, but then they’re something else entirely – her sister added.
– It’s about people trying to get recognised for things they didn’t do themselves – said André.
– Great! That’s right. Actually, lots of things in Mozart’s life weren’t quite what they seemed. And your answers to my question “who was Mozart?” were wrong in three ways. My name is Mario, by the way.
The triplets introduced themselves, saying their own names.
– Let’s start with what you answered, Mariana, about him being a child prodigy.
– And wasn’t he? – all three of them shot back.
– Easy, easy, three against one isn’t fair! Yes, Mozart was a child prodigy. From when he was a child, he was very talented and had an extraordinary memory, but the point is that that’s not the most important thing.