Book, illustrated by Paulo Fernandes, tells the effort of several people and their respective adventures to find the owner of a stuffed sheep forgotten by a girl on a garden bench
A photograph of a stuffed doll forgotten on a garden bench inspired Teresa Dangerfield, living in the United Kingdom, to write the children’s book “The Lost Sheep”, which was published in a bilingual Portuguese-English version.
“A Ovelhinha Perdida/Baa Goes Missing” was published in June in Portugal and is the result of several creative writing courses by the former teacher born in 1956 in Lisbon.
“The idea came from a photograph that a friend sent me of a lost toy, a stuffed sheep, on a bench in the garden. She suggested that I write a story”, Dangerfield told the Lusa agency.
The book, illustrated by Paulo Fernandes, tells the story of the efforts of several people and their respective adventures to find the owner of a stuffed sheep forgotten by a girl on a garden bench.
After a first draft, the author did research on pertinent topics such as the issue of loss, the importance of toys for children, the characteristics of different animals and even found a newspaper article about a hotel chain that discovered that many of the forgotten stuffed animals They belonged to adults and not children.
It was the publisher “Trinta por umalinha” that suggested making a bilingual version and Teresa Dangerfield accepted, due to the experience she had as a Portuguese language teacher in the United Kingdom.
“It’s very important for children who don’t speak a language well. When she taught, she wrote stories to teach vocabulary and then made bilingual worksheets. It was something I was worried about,” she revealed.
The owner of the London-based online bookstore Miúda Books, Gabriela Ruivo, told Lusa that Portuguese-English bilingual children’s books have various audiences.
“Portuguese parents look for children who live here [no Reino Unido] being able to read in both languages, but there are British adults who buy it because they are learning the Portuguese language, it is a help for beginners to compare their vocabulary”, he said.
Another type of customer for bilingual books, he added, are mixed Portuguese and British families because “they allow both parents to interact with the same book”.
At 67 years old, this was the first book for children and young people by Teresa Dangerfield, who has published poetic prose texts and short stories in collections and magazines.
She was recently awarded second place in the 2023 Hernâni Cidade Literary Prize, awarded by the Redondo City Council.
Although she has lived in London for 37 years, Teresa Dangerfield continues to write in Portuguese because, she explained, writing in her language “is something that comes more naturally”.