The White Ravens Database

Presented by   Internationale Jugendbibliothek / International Youth Library

Portuguese / Brazil

Um dia, um rio

(One day, a river)

Cunha, Leo (text)
Neves, André (illus.)
São Paulo: Pulo do Gato, 2016. – [32] p.
ISBN 978-85-64974-96-8

River  | Environmental destruction  | Poetry  | Picture book

Reading age: 6+

White Ravens issue: 2017


Brazil’s gravest environmental catastrophe occurred in November 2015, when two dams broke and highly toxic sewage from an ore mine flowed into the Rio Doce. A 700 kilometre long stretch of the river was poisoned, flora and fauna were killed, the human population cut off from drinking water. The river’s ecosystem is destroyed for the foreseeable future. Renowned author Leo Cunha handles this inconceivable event in an unusual way in his poem by giving the river a voice. In gentle, melodious language, it speaks of itself and of life, and of the riches it gives to people and to nature – until one day it is suddenly no longer a river. Where there was melody, now there is silence. Where there was sweet water, now there is bitter sludge. Where there was life, now there is only death. Illustrator André Neves enhances the poignant text with pictures full of symbolism and melancholy. The river is depicted as a child, unshielded from and succumbing to the violence and overpowering force of industrial destruction.