We all count, we are all important, we are all worth it. “A minimal thing that is barely seen”; “Whoever catches the wave or who swims against the tide”; “The last to go and the first to arrive”. All. It doesn’t matter what size, what source, what training, what service, what product.
It can be a dinosaur or an ant, an adult or a child, a meteorite or a cell. “When you seem excessive”; “When you think you are incapable”; “When nobody can help you”: “You are important.”
Christian Robinson wondered what he was trying to convey to readers. He concluded that he wanted to tell everyone that “everyone is important just because they exist”. Whenever he speaks in this book, he repeats, “At home, at school, in the world, we can all make a difference.”
Animator and director of Pixar and Sesame Street
The author lives in San Francisco, USA, and dedicates himself to illustration and animation cinema. He worked in Pixar studios and helped found Rua Sésamo. He believes that from a young age children should listen and feel that they are important. Therefore, it invites readers to say the same to their fellow human beings and adults.
Robinson says trees are the living things that blind him the most. When commenting on Read-Along PBS Kids one of the illustrations in the book, in which a large tree (with a very broad trunk), two children, a dog, and two men (one with a stick, the other not), the readers question : “When I speak of the youngest and the oldest, who am I referring to?”
It is necessary to pay attention to the details of the illustrations in this book (including the others), only then will the connection between the characters depicted be understood. The dog who appears to be alone on the side of the road but later appears with someone holding his leash; The child who is playing with a rocket by the window and is similar to the one in the photo that an astronaut holds in her hand when she looks at the earth on another side in front of her.
Universal topics, individual emotions
“Sometimes you can feel alone and think that you are not capable. But you are important. (…) Even if you fall and have to start all over … “, he writes and shows the author.
In 2016 he received the Caldecott Medal Honorable Mention with the book A Ultima Paragem, which was published in Portugal by Minotauro / Grupo Almedina. Orfeu Mini has published two other titles: Gaston (with text by Kelly DiPucchio) and Other (with text and illustration by Christian Robinson), which were named Best Illustrated Children’s Book in 2019 by the New York Times and the New York Public Library.
He has illustrated many books for children and has received several awards. When asked where his sources of inspiration come from, he has a hard time stopping, but he starts with these words: “Illustrated books and graphic arts from the 1950s / 60s, nature, simplicity, cities, science, history, music … “
He says that from a young age he enjoyed drawing, painting, and sculpting all the activities that kept his hands busy. Today he says he’s obsessed with collecting images that inspire him. And it is common to visit museums and bookstores when you need to “recharge … and find a spark of inspiration,” an interview with the author on the Brightly website reads.
The changes in scale and perspective in És Important help consolidate what has been said and translate universal themes and individual emotions into images. Everything is valid and important. Like any of us.
Text and illustration: Christian Robinson
Translation: João Berhan
Review: Nuno Quintas
Edition: Black Orpheus
40 pages, 14 € (12.60 € online)
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