Paula Carballeira was born in 1972 in Fene, Galicia, and studied Hispanic Studies in Santiago de Compostela. In her home country, she is known as a television and theater actress, and since 1990 she has also been active as a writer of children’s and young adult books. She has received many awards for her work, including the Premio Manuel María de Literatura Dramática Infantil on two occasions.
One award was for »Boas noites« [2007; tr: Good Night] about Xiana, who has no time to think, play, or dream. Pedro Chosco, a mythical figure from Galician mythology whose job it is to get children to sleep, also has a difficult time with her … The other occasion was for »O refugallo« [2013; tr: The Garbage] about four children: Isolda, Hipatia, Borboronte, and Lustucrú. They create a new world for themselves out of old, broken things – or, in short, what others consider trash.
»O principio« [2012; Eng. »The Beginning«, 2012] is the first book from the author’s extensive oeuvre to be translated into German. With simple, poetic sentences, it tells, from the perspective of a child, of a family that has survived a devastating war. Although virtually everything is destroyed, including their shared home, the father, mother, and two children undertake a new beginning and face all adversity with courage and confidence. Being homeless doesn’t matter, says the mother, at least there is a car, and with a car you can travel. Fewer possessions also means less effort to keep one’s possessions. And those who can’t sleep at night because of fear can always snuggle up to the others. Sonja Danowski’s illustrations are in autumnal tones, their hyper-realistic character underlining the dramatic and emotional content of this parable-like story, which reminds you that you can always look at every situation differently, however adverse it may be; that cohesion is more important than material things; and that your own attitude plays a big part in how well or badly fate means it with you. Somewhere there is always something to play with, a hearty laugh will be contagious everywhere in the world, any lost magic can be found again – because in the end, »The Beginning« is also a book about hope. Because of its positive message, the publisher recommends the book for children as young as three years old.
The author lives in Santiago de Compostela.