Libro de nanas (A Book of Lullabies)

Federico García Lorca, Miguel Hernández, Gabriel Celaya, José Agustín Goytisolo, Gabriela Mistral and others
Illustrations by Noemí Villamuza
Edited by Herrín Hidalgo

ISBN: 978-84-947764-9-6
Books for Children Collection, number 12 / Spanish edition / 2nd edition: July 2020 / 18,5 x 23 cm / 120 pages / book printed in 2 colours with black and white illustrations + portraits of the authors / hardcover with dust jacket / printed at Brizzolis, Madrid, Spain

These poems by well-known, not anonymous, authors, were written to soothe children to sleep but also to wake them up; to lull a dog or a foal; to awaken a foot. The book includes Federico García Lorca’s famous speech, as well as Gabriel Celaya’s and Gabriela Mistral’s commentaries on popular lullabies.

In Children’s Literature: from A to Z (published in this same collection), author Bernardo Atxaga expressed his disappointment in the lack of Spanish bibliographies about lullabies; apparently, they are not considered real poetry nor do they receive the relevancy they do, for example, in English-speaking countries.

However, there are some compilations and studies addressed mainly to educators, those who are curious about popular culture, or first-time parents who do not want another sleepless night.

This book does not pretend to offer a relatively complete catalogue of the production of lullabies in the Spanish language, nor does it intend to serve as a recipe to appease the cries of babies who cannot fall asleep. There are no dull lullabies here; what we will discover is a collection of poems —by well-known and not anonymous authors—, which in all cases allude to the intimate relationship established between two people, particularly a mother and her child, in that sweet and sometimes terrible moment that turns the day into night. In that dialogue -because it is always a dialogue: the baby talks in their own way-, the joys and sorrows of the day are exposed, and the fears and hopes of the day to come are invoked. The mysteries the night hides and dreams reveal are the subjects which the illustrator Noemí Villamuza has worked with.

Another special feature which makes this Book of Lullabies different from others is that the compiled songs (many of the poems were set to music) and poems were not always written to put babies to sleep, but also to wake them up. Others are aimed at people who have stopped being children, and there are even some lullabies to lull a dog or a horse to sleep. Because, gee, we all need sleep, don’t we?

VAT included