Stories of flesh and bones

By Isabel Minhós Martins

Our constant connection to digital media keeps us in touch with the world many hours a day. Supposedly, a greater connection to things happening around us should increase our awareness of matters. More awareness would lead to more involvement, and from that would come change and civic participation. But why is it that less and less people vote or get involved socially and politically? Or that, despite knowing about environmental problems, they choose not to act?

One of the explanations may be the excess of push notifications and news around us. There is so much information circulating that we feel overwhelmed by the sheer quantity and speed of it all. On the other hand, we are bombarded with so many studies (and so much data!) that all truths, even those that contradict each other, can be justified and proved by numbers. So, in order not to die crushed and confused by it all, what do we do? We relativize everything. And many times we give up. To seek the truth. To try to understand. And, of course, to do something. 

How can stories help us? Maybe because they give us life. They bring us flesh and bones (and we humans need that). They remind us of older times. If needed, they bring us the future. They give us problems and solutions. Keys that we did not even know exist. But above all, they bring us other people who inspire and awaken us. We need stories to rescue us from air conditioning and take us back into the world. Only then, more in tune with it, will we feel like acting (and in this case, save it!).

There is no time to lose. What inspiring stories do we have to tell each other?

Feature image: © Isabel Minhós Martins

I believe that the place where we live always moulds us culturally and as people. And I also believe that the fact that we have a close relationship with our landscapes (and everything they contain) – of knowledge, contemplation and participation – will more easily lead us to more sustainable ways of life.

About the Author
Isabel Minhós Martins is the author of illustrated albums, many of which have been translated into other languages, including When I was Born (from the selection “100 Outstanding Picturebooks” at Frankfurt Book Fair in 2018); The Manta (White Ravens selection 2012); With the Time (Best children’s book, SPA 2015), and No one Passes! (Winner of the Gustav-Heinemann Friedenspreis Prize for Peace and the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, Germany, 2017). Since founding the publishing company Planeta Tangerina with a group of friends in 2000, Isabel has been dedicated to the creation of illustrated books for children. She was the winner of the BOP 2013 Prize for “Best European Children’s Publishing House”, promoted by the International Children’s Book Fair of Bologna.

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Photos: © Isabel Minhós Martins