What to pack for the holidays / 2 – By Luciana Grillo

Second episode, five books: “Napoli adagio”, “All for one”, “Strong winds”, “Save my planet” and “The moon and the birch”


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I imagine children sitting under a big tree, in the grass, and a mother or father reading a story: for everyone to learn to hear the voices of nature Alessandra Jesi Soligoni and Giovanni Umberto Battel have written a very sweet story: “The Moon and la Betulla ”- accompanied by beautiful illustrations by Michela Occhi and even completed by a CD recording a musical composition performed by flutist Silvia Battel.
So I hear not only words but also notes!

The protagonist is a large birch called Alba that encourages its seeds to be carried …
We anxiously follow the path of a small seed, we are afraid that it will be lost in the dark, then a moonlight illuminates it and … a new birch is born!
This delicate, poetic story doesn’t stop there, but tells little readers that trees still live forever, even in different forms, becoming tables and cribs, work and paper tools, toys, and even musical instruments!




Alessandra Jesi Soligoni, Giovanni Umberto Battel – The Moon and the Birch – Editorial The Garden of Culture, 2019 – Pages 32 – Illustrations by Michela Occhi – € 13.50

Enrico Franceschini, who crosses Europe from north to south, from east to west, from Finland to Greece, from Estonia to Cyprus and Malta, to the five fairy-tale microstates (Vatican City, San Marino, Monaco, Andorra, Liechtenstein).

The author adds the words of Europe – from Brexit to Europol to the Schengen Area – and, for each country, highlights some particular characteristics, for example with regard to Denmark, he relates “the pleasure of the little things – finding joy in everyday life – sitting next to each other. ” fire with your loved ones, taking a cup of hot drink and positive feelings. “There is still rot in many parts of our planet, unfortunately, but Denmark is working hard to teach us how to treat it with good habits, good feelings and a touch of human warmth.”
From the Czech Republic he praises Prague, the city of Franz Kafka, Milan Kundera, Bohumil Hrabal … At the tables of “Alla tigre d’oro” there is still a free chair for Hrabal.

It is a chair reserved forever for Prague literature, for the role it played in the struggle of the Czechs to return to democratic Europe.
In dealing with Spain, Franceschini reminds us that Seville is the city of oranges and that energy can be obtained from organic matter; of Croatia says it is a crossroads of civilizations and of Cyprus that Nicosia is the last divided capital of Europe.
And from Switzerland he remembers cuckoo clocks (and not only).
In short, a very interesting book!




Enrico Franceschini – All for one. 33 stories to fall in love with Europe – DeAgostini editore, 2022 – Pages 240 – € 13.90

From Europe we go straight to Naples and offer young readers a fascinating little guide to discovering the city of contrasts.
It’s “Napoli Adagio”, written by Francesca Amirante, not exclusively for teenagers, but with a style so young that I’m sure they might like it too.
You cross the city long and everywhere, on foot or by bike or by public transport, you go to the stadium that was formerly “called Del Sole, then San Paolo, in memory of the passage of the great saint through the city … “and has recently been renamed Diego Armando Maradona, in memory of the” golden child “so loved by the Neapolitans; or you can visit the cloister of Santa Chiara, “an extraordinary surface of painted majolica, a masterpiece of the Neapolitan manufacture of riggiolari 18th century … a sign of a courageous stance by an abbess in an almost pre-feminist direction … Lack of respect for the abbess’s autonomy, the cardinal sent his guards, but the nuns protected the project with great determination, preventing them from entering: they let themselves be found arm in arm, an unprecedented female wall, to safeguard their monastery and above all their aristocratic autonomy ».

Another interesting stop for curious young people is the Pietrarsa Railway Museum, the first Italian industrial center, born in Bourbon Naples in 1840: you can relive the history of trains, you can see the royal wagon that connected Naples with Portici , the first example. of a train in Italy!
But in Naples you can also delve into the mystery of the Prince of Sansevero and the Veiled Christ, where magic, alchemy and masonry are found … or you can ask yourself about the Parthenope Mermaid who was thrown into the sea from a cliff, he explains. legend, after a sailor had not stopped to listen to his song.
The sailor was Ulysses, who listened to the song tied to the mast of his boat so as not to succumb to temptation.
The mermaid’s body reached the shore and gave the city its name.
And these are just a few tips for discovering a city!




Francesca Amirante – Naples Adagio, discovering the city of contrasts – Enrico Damiani publisher 2022 – Pages 256 – 17,00 €

If teenagers are sensitive to environmental issues, “Saving My Planet, 40 Steps to Healing the Earth and Growing Up Happy” is really the right book, because it combines environment and happiness: if we love and care for nature, we can all be happy.
So, let’s start with the first step, ask ourselves if our gesture is really necessary (for example, take the car for a short distance or buy a dress that is not essential), choose to buy goods that do not cause pollution, use bicycles and scooters, we drink tap water, we avoid wasting food, we recycle as much as possible, we learn to use the coffee frame for plants … Step by step, the world will be better.
And, as Bruce Chatwin wrote, let us remember that “the true home of man is not a house, it is the way. Life itself is a journey that must be made on foot ”.




Vittoria Iacovella, It depends on me. Save My Planet – 40 Steps to Healing the Earth and Being Happy “- Erickson editore, 2022, – Illustrations by Alessandro Eusebi – Pages 224 – € 16.50

Speaking of the planet, a small book talks about the terrible storm Vaia, which in October 2019 severely damaged the forests of Trentino and Veneto.
Valerio Sospiri is the young protagonist who hears “the wind (which) made the hut sway imperceptibly and passed over their heads with a constant whistle …” and who sees with his eyes the secular firs and larches “devoured in less one minute “. … hundreds of years, hundreds of springs, then only in summer, autumn yellow, winters once very rigid in an exact line, year after year, ring after ring on straight trunks and proud … to become what? Particleboard panels? Fuel for the stoves of the houses of the rich who no longer burned real firewood in the black chimneys, with the real smell of resin and firewood?

Valerio, having recovered a trunk, asks Vincenzo, the sculptor of the valley, what to do and the great artist answers: “Sculpting is eliminating … sculpture is a naked art … If you listen to the wood you can’t go wrong … Listen to the voice of the forest and you won’t go wrong ».
A teenager is no doubt surprised, excited to read this book that opens with verses by Pablo Neruda and the image of poor Geppetto surprised by the kicks in the shins that gave him a piece of wood, and then continues , accompanying Valerio in search of “. his” wood “.
It is a prose story, but it has the musicality of a poem.




Stefano Motta, Strong winds. Looking for a forest in the forest injured by the storm Vaia »- Del Faro editore, 2019 – Pages 110 – 11,00 €

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