Books for Children

Cows are the most extraordinary animals that exist. We eat them with a side of potatoes, they look nice in a field and they are the source of inspiration for many artists and poets. One of the cow's stomachs is called 'libro', the Spanish word for 'book', and we should not be surprised because books are the second most extraordinary animals that exist. We spill sauce on them, they look nice on the shelf and it is through them that we regularly find out about the ideas of artists and poets.

Cows are ruminants: they swallow their food only to bring it back up and chew it at their leisure. This is exactly how books should be read: by returning to them on different occasions and chewing them thoroughly for a pleasant digestion.

Children learn from books, but they also learn from stones, flies, ants and spiders. They learn from anything and everything. They learn when they play, and they never tire from learning. Which is why it is so absurd that there should be boring books, and that one should waste time on them instead of observing dung beetles. Some of the most boring books are made by people who think like tailors and believe that children's books should be like children's suits: smaller by several sizes. A child's innocent gaze has nothing to do with the size of trousers. So what if not everything is easy to understand? Few adults can tell you why aeroplanes are able to fly, and yet, they are not scared to travel in them.

With the exception of those made to turn us into idiots, each book contains a piece of a treasure map (at least that is what they used to say in the past). Only when we gather all the pieces will be able to decipher that well-kept secret. Sometimes, it takes time. There is nothing strange about starting to read at age seven and realise that one is still holding the same book seventy years later.

Drawing by Alejandra Hidalgo