MONTEVIDEO – An edition of “Don Quixote” for young readers and including illustrations by children was presented on Friday in a ceremony at the Uruguayan capital’s Colegio Español Cervantes.
The 22-chapter “El Quijotito” is part of a Cervantes project that was initially launched in April 2019 and headed up in Uruguay by Professor Maria Elena Ruibal, who served as the project’s artistic and academic coordinator.
The book features illustrations by students at the private Colegio Español Cervantes, three Montevideo public schools in the city’s Larrañaga neighborhood and the Don Bosco social and educational initiative.
During the ceremony, several contributors to the project were acknowledged for their efforts: the cultural advisor at Spain’s Embassy in Uruguay, Luis Romera; Gustavo Martinez, a literature professor who collaborated on the project; and Agencia EFE’s bureau chief in Uruguay, Concepcion Martin Moreno.
Each received a plaque and addressed a group of around 40 young students, who listened along with two art teachers as they colored in some illustrations of characters from “Don Quixote.”
In remarks to EFE at the conclusion of the ceremony, the principal of Colegio Español Cervantes, Carlos Cambon, said that teamwork was crucial in putting the project together and that he hopes to be involved in other similar initiatives in the future.
He noted that children at Colegio Español Cervantes are introduced to the masterpiece by Spanish Golden Age author Miguel de Cervantes (1547-1616) at a very young age and that this early exposure facilitates their discovery and appreciation of the book’s timeless values as adolescents.
Martinez, for his part, told EFE that it was a “wonderful” decision to make this edition for young readers, adding that this work often regarded as the first modern novel offers important lessons such as “the very tolerant and understanding view that the ideal and the realistic, that is (Don) Quixote and Sancho (Panza), can coexist.”
In July 2015, Montevideo was named as one of four Cervantine cities worldwide. The other three receiving that same recognition were Alcala de Henares, Spain, Cervantes’ birthplace; Guanajuato, Mexico; and Azul, Argentina.