The brightness of elephants

Summary of the plot:

A little boy, who lives in a beautiful country of Central America with his mother and his grandmother –Mirta–, tells us about his life in first person. In the little village where they live, they hardly have something to eat and there is a non-declared war threatening country people. Taquín, a teacher in a school where nobody goes, makes this little boy finally stop fearing the night and find out the real sense of life.

Original edition (galician)

The book:

The brightness of elephants was originally written in Galician language by Fran Alonso and published with pictures made by the Cuban artist, Enjamio. It tells in first person the dificulties in the daily life of a Central American little boy and it is a claim of hope and dream together with a powerful poetical vigour. The main character, a little boy with no name, like many other Central American nameless children, shows bit by bit to the reader his life, conditioned by poverty, war, famine and violence. But although it is a hard book, The brightness of elephants is also a deeply tender and intimate book thanks to the eyes of the boy, who tells us his story full of face to face feelings and emotions, like love and hatred, usual also in daily life.

Although it has no didactic intentions, the book contains human values that make us think of peace, tolerance and solidarity, and shows to the reader a kind of reality quite unusual in literature for children. Thanks to an emotive and poetical style, The brightness of elephants shows us the real world around the little boy, through short sequences that tell us about his green and beautiful country, devastated by paramilitary groups; sequences that tell us about Taquín, the teacher threaten with death, who teach the boy the value of words and poetry; sequences that tell about his grandmother, Mirta, who keeps the memory of things; sequences about his father, killed by the paramilitary groups; sequences about his mother who fights to save the family; sequences, then, full of amazing metaphors led by a tender and lifeful look.

Original edition (galician)