Souvenir? Only for those not involved

by Camila Lourenço Panhoca and Pedro Panhoca da Silva 

All too often school activities are forgotten or turned into a report card note. The students’ production remains in the memory, but can only be transmitted orally, when the students wish so. A better way for teachers and pupils to benefit from the outcome of successful works may be publication. In this way, future teachers and students can be inspired to maintain this legacy, as well as inspiring new readers. It is a fact: everyone wins.

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Each school subject has much to add to its students. In the case of the Portuguese language, it is no different. An example of the dimension that text production, for instance, can reach, is the book Na minha mala cabe uma baleia: histórias que te fazem nadar – “In my bag fits a whale: stories that make you swim”, in free translation. Composed of 14 stories written by children from Madeira Island, an autonomous region of Portugal, this book of collective authorship was launched in June 2015, the month following the 25th anniversary of the Whale Museum, celebrated on May 28, 2015.

This book was the result of a cultural project born out of the activity “Story Time”, developed on Saturdays, from 11am to 12pm, at the Madeira Whale Museum, thanks to the interns Bárbara Moreira and Catarina Henriques, who encouraged parents and children to produce their own stories on the subject related to the museum’s scope. This project took place thanks to the partnership between Machico City Hall and the museum’s Educational Services, located in the town of Caniçal.

The stories are 1-3 pages long. For each story there is a different illustrator who contributes a full-page and colored illustration. This project proved to be democratic because it did not repeat texts or images from the same author or artist. The narratives are very diverse – ranging from stories about building friendships to environmental awareness – some of them featuring dolphins, goats and even the Pintarolas fin whale (the museum’s mascot) as the main characters, dispelling the idea that the narratives produced by amateurs and children have no creativity or quality.

The collective work Na minha mala cabe uma baleia: histórias que te fazem nadar is sold at the Madeira Whale Museum along with other children’s books. For those who are tired of buying mugs, t-shirts, bags and key rings as souvenirs, literature can be an interesting gift to encourage more sustainable projects like this one, raise awareness and pressing about one of the crucial [MP1] [PP2] issues of the world. The island did its part with its ban on whale hunting in 1986, but a text without readers is as fragile as an idea without enthusiasts.

Camila Lourenço Panhoca is a specialist in Early Childhood Education and Literacy from the Centro Universitário Claretiano (CEUCLAR). She is teacher at Colégio Antares. She has dozens of published book reviews in journals, newspapers and websites. Contact:

Pedro Panhoca da Silva is a substitute lecturer at Paula Souza State Centre for Technological Education (CEETEPS)/São Paulo State Technology College (FATEC/Tatuí). He is the author of the book Traumas & Tabus (2016), co-editor of the books Narrativas interativas contemporâneas (2022) and Role-Playing Game: práticas, ressignificações e potencialidades (2021), besides hundreds of poems, short tales and short stories published in literary anthologies of Brazil, Portugal, Spain and India. He writes reviews and articles to Alarums and Excursions (monthly) and Legendary Art Magazine (quarterly), proofreads gamebooks to Jambô publishing house as a freelancer and helps to update Contact:

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