Review: Along the Tapajos by Fernando Vilela

Along the Tapajos by Fernando Vilela

Along the Tapajos by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn (9781542008686)

A boy and his family live along the Tapajos River, one of the biggest rivers in the Amazon rainforest. He and his sister take a boat to get to school. He loves to see the alligators along the way, while she prefers the porpoises. Under the water, lurk some even larger animals just waiting for someone to fall in the water. At school, the rain suddenly begins, starting the winter season that is filled with torrential rainfall and flooding. Everyone rushes home to pack up and head away from the flooding. They take everything but the houses themselves. But the brother and sister have left their tortoise behind accidentally. At night, they sneak out to rescue her. They get back to their flooded village and discover the turtle just about to be devoured by a giant anaconda!

Originally published in Brazil, this picture book tells the story of a way of life that is unique to the Amazon rainforest. The author combines the story of the flooding village and the construction of a new place in the rainforest with a tale of bravery when the children rescue their pet. This also gives readers an opportunity to see the quiet beauty of the flooded village, empty of anyone. The setting itself is a major character, including the many animals, the weather and the river herself. It’s a book that carries readers to a place they never knew existed.

The illustrations are done in a mix of woodcut techniques, drawing and collage that is then used digitally. They have a great texture to them and depth thanks to the woodcuts that offer that organic feel to the images. The rain itself falls white against the golden background of the sky and the river. The book often takes a step back from the immediate action, allowing the riverscape to fill the pages in a way that is very impactful.

Journey to another part of the world in this look at the Amazon rainforest and some of the people who call it home. Appropriate for ages 4-6.

Reviewed from library copy.

News to Wake Your Brain Cells Dec 20


5 children’s books that celebrate our holiday season – Datebook

5 reasons I always get children picture books for Christmas – The Conversation

15 children’s books celebrating food – EcoWatch

Andrew Clements, author of best-selling children’s book ‘Frindle,’ dies at 70 – The Washington Post

The best books of 2019 to teach kids about identity and acceptance – Mashable

The best children’s books for 2019 for all ages – The Guardian

The best Jewish children’s books of 2019 – Tablet

The Caldecott Medal needs an international makeover – The New York Times

Favorite children’s books of 2019 – Brain Pickings

‘Goodnight Bubbala’ and other Hanukkah-themed children’s books for the holiday season – Jewish Telegraphic Agency

Kids’ books to read again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and… – NPR

Prepare for winter with these cozy reading recommendations – ALSC Blog


How the Calgary library’s new language centre will help Indigenous children find themselves in literature – The Star

How the Library of Congress unrolled a 2,000-year-old Buddhist scroll – Atlas Obscura

Is my library liable for fake news? – American Libraries

LA libraries will stop charging late fees and forgive your past-due sins – LAist

No holds barred: policing and security in the public library – In the Library with the Lead Pipe

Why it’s time to quantify the library’s role in the reading marketplace – Publisher’s Weekly


The 10 best YA books of the year (and the decade) – Entertainment Weekly

20 queer YA books for your 2020 TBR – BookRiot

34 promising new YA books to look out for in 2020 – PopSugar

The book truck brings free books to thousands of LA students – SLJ

The decade in young adult fiction – Slate

To outsiders, YA is eating itself; to insiders, it’s bettering itself – BookRiot

Upcoming Netflix teen drama ‘All the Bright Places’ is a love story about two suicidal teens – Yahoo