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Public Library - Really! spectacular books f
Caixas empilhadas em torno de um televisor com caras desenhadas.


What seems fragile is sometimes very strong: a teeny bird is strong enough to fly for many miles, a piece of paper, when folded, hosts a book, a few words, love.

To select five books for the Library of Love and Fragile Things, a library (also) suited for very small children, was like tinkering with a very old and precious book. We have to put on some gloves first.

Gloves, if we go out meddling with improbable books, or to not ruin things by adding more words to an already powerful image. Gloves, to select just five books.

The five books in this Library of Love and Fragile Things are about people and things. They are about discovery. Yes, things can also discover, unfold and mingle, just like people.

There is a song by Gilberto Gil and Arnaldo Antunes, that I can use here as an epilogue, so you won’t leave books alone: (our translation)


Things do have

Weight, mass, volume

Size, time

Shape, color


Texture, duration





Depth, outline

Temperature, function


Price, fate, age


Things are restless



O dia em que me tornei pássaro /The Day I became a bird, Ed. The Poets and Dragons Society, Ingrid Chabbert e Guridi

Just look at the colours of this book! Beautiful, aren’t they? Not that many and a bit sad, but pretty all the same. In English, when you are a bit melancholic (which is close to being sad, or when you miss something or somebody), then you’re “having the blues”. I believe they mean these kind of blues.

A girl likes birds and a boy likes the girl.

To get her attention, the boy dresses up as a bird. Some birds are kept in cages, but here the bird is the actual cage. The boy’s heart is locked inside.

The boy is never going to become a bird, is he? But, as he puts it, he might be able to fly!


Metade metade (Half Half), Planeta Tangerina, Isabel Minhós Martins e Madalena Matoso

Have you ever heard the expression “my better-half”? It’s an odd yet funny thing to call the person who seems to complete us. We are whole, of course, but when we are in love, we feel incomplete without that special person, as if we were missing a piece of a puzzle. Sometimes we even feel somewhat sick, lost, heartbroken. But when we are together, ah, the puzzle is complete, the runner reaches the finish line, the ball enters the net, the face gets to smile – so does the heart!

O pior aniversário da minha vida/ The worst birthday of my life, Ed. Orfeu Mini, Benjamim Chaud

We are waiting for months for our birthday to come again, and it seems like forever. Meanwhile, we are also always waiting and excited to go to our friends’ birthday parties. We love going to parties!

But things do not always go the way we expect. Especially when we’ve been expecting it for a long time. Especially when we’re in love. And we feel awkward, and sad, and very lonely, and the heart is pacing and racing like a crazy swing.

But when we feel our “heart swinging in the chest” again – Ding-dong-ding-dong – we can almost hear ringing bells, and it’s amazing!


Não é uma caixa/ Not a box, Ed. Presença, Antoinette Portis

Sometime ago a painter called Magritte painted a pipe and under it wrote the words «Ceci n’est pas uns pipe» — which is French for «This is not a pipe». Now that you know this, maybe the title of this book won’t seem so odd, but even if it does, open the book and see for yourself:  a box is not (just) a box. Then try to pick up a cardboard box and imagine it’s a boat, a tower, a house, a treasure, whatever your fancy. What do you think now?

These boxes seem fragile because they are made of cardboard. Indeed, cardboard is paper and paper is fragile. But I’ll teach you another name, this time, Japanese: Shigueru Ban. It’s the name of an architect who has been, for many years now, using cardboard to make houses, churches, pavilions. No kidding! So, dare yourself! What seems fragile is sometimes very strong. Have you ever noticed that in some people?


Trocoscópio, Ed. Planeta Tangerina, Bernardo Carvalho

“Sometimes things like to be other things. Like people, for instance. They like to move, laugh, to like and dislike other things. ”

For example, a square and a triangle may want to become a house; two circles and a triangle might become a bird’s head; a rectangle and two circles become a bus. Many triangles can become grass and some of these shapes can come together if they want to become a crocodile.

When you open the book you’ll find factories, lollipops, a construction digger, flowers. Things that came from other things, from other shapes.

Bernardo – who invented this machine-book – made 142 yellow, green, red, blue, pink, orange, purple (geometric) shapes jump from the left page (which was empty) to the right page (which began to fill up). And created this game that you can go on playing!