BRASILIA – Spanish journalist Yana Marull got tired one day of chasing after the news and switched to writing books for children, using her backlog of experience to teach environmental awareness to Brazilian children.
Marull, a native of Girona, Catalonia, presented this week at the Brasilia Book Fair her third children’s book, “Una Aventura in el Pantanal” (Adventure in the Marsh), published by Franco Editora and set in the vast wetlands shared by Brazil, Paraguay and Bolivia.
She debuted in this art two years ago, when she published “Rios que Vuelan” (Rivers that Fly), a game-playing, educational journey through the Amazon region, which teaches the importance of the water cycle and warns about the impact of climate change.
Between those two books she published “El Fuego y el Cerrado” (Fire and the Savannah), which she herself illustrated as she did the others, and which underscored the dangers of climate change for the environment, in this case, because of the wildfires it sparks in Brazil’s central plains.
“They’re not just stories. They’re basically works of journalism and research supervised by environmental specialists and are the result of more than 20 years of writing about these subjects and touring the Amazon region,” she told EFE.
Marull’s journalistic adventure took her first from Spain to Ecuador in 1995 where she first came in contact with the Amazon.
After covering the tempestuous times of then-President Abdala Bucaram, she left for Caracas, where she lived for four years amid the upheavals that brought the late Hugo Chavez to power and where her interest in the Amazon grew.
Journalism led her in the year 2000 to Brazil, where her passion for the Amazon region became a specialty that, little by little, began to compete with the frenetic news scene of a country that was taking off into the realms of big business and global politics.
Nonetheless, her leap from journalism to children’s literature was really sparked by one of her kids, who invited mom to his school to speak to the students about “those things in the Amazon” which she was always writing about.
“I discovered that here was a long-felt want among teachers and professors who didn’t have the tools to instruct their students about the importance of the environment, the care and respect it deserves, and that it is the basis of life itself,” Marull said.