Navigating through the air

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Micaela Chirif. Illustrations by Jessica Valdez
Lima: Biblioteca Nacional del Perú (National Library of Peru), 2021
ISBN: 978-612-4045-65-3

When Santiago de Cárdenas was born, heaven was further away than it is now. Or so it seemed, because the year was 1726 and no human being had ever flown.

By observing birds since he was a child, Santiago discovered how they managed to rise into the air, even the huge and heavy condors. Years later, his findings would lead him to design, in the middle of the 18th century, an amazing flying machine.


When Santiago de Cárdenas was born, heaven was further away than it is now… this is how the narrator begins his story in the third person, offering us the continuity of the metaphor, installed from the visual code, of the verbal game that is not hesitation but precision to continue interlocking this narration that flows in a linear way, but inside which a set of enumerations, verbal and plastic, are interwoven, which, far from slowing us down, provide us with the display of the protagonist’s intellectual sharpness, the precision of the data and the delicate collusion between popular science’s language and literary language.

[…] This work is, for children, an exercise in cultural transmission and, paraphrasing Michèle Petit, a poetic way of presenting science to them so that they can love it and take charge of it with a political disposition. For this reason, ‘Navigating through the air’ constitutes a delicious poetics of science.”
Irina Burgos, Hueso Húmero (Humerus Bone Magazine).

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