The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Spanish / Colombia

A mediodía llovían pájaros

(At noon it would rain birds)

Guiral, Marcela (text)
Estrada, Alejandra (illus.)
Bogotá: Babel Libros, 2022. – 259 p.
ISBN 978-958-5591-90-5

War  | Militia  | Violence  | Arbitraryness  | Trauma  | Child soldier

Reading age: 12+

White Ravens issue: 2023


During a war, eleven-year-old F is sent to stay with his grandfather in the small town of Barbascal, in the hopes that he will be safe there. In this strange »City of Birds« residents protect themselves from bird droppings with umbrellas. F’s grandfather runs a homing pigeon post office, and his great-uncle is known as the dreaded »Pigeon Man«. At school the teacher is assisted by dozens of parrots, and the elderly Mamá Carmen predicts the future with the help of chickens. The seemingly peaceful days end abruptly, when militia occupy Barbascal. Daily life is governed by brutality, despotism, fear, and despair. People disappear, children are forced into the militia, and traumatic memories of a long-past war resurface. This disturbing novel stands out for excellent character depictions, an unusual narrative style, and its at times alienating, figurative and highly symbolic language. By weaving the real and the fantastic seamlessly together, Marcela Guiral succeeds in mitigating the impact of events without embellishing anything. [JW]