Portuguese Author Visits Hudson High
by Julien Bettencourt
Luisa Fortes da Cunha, the Portuguese J.K. Rowling, does not spend hours a day working on her novels; in fact, she spends most of her day teaching physical education. Da Cunha doesn’t have enough time to write because writing is just a hobby for her. But after she had published some of her books, she ”dropped the basketballs and started to play with a pen and words.”
Luisa Fortes da Cunha visited our school with Dr.Paulo Cunha Alves from the Portuguese Boston consulate and also Dr. Joao Caixinha from the Department of Portuguese Education. Hudson High had the privilege to welcome Luisa Fortes da Cunha to our school as she came to give a speech about her books for children and to meet the Portuguese/Brazilian community in American schools.
Luisa Fortes da Cunha talked about the eleventh book of her fourteen-book series. The eleventh book called Teodora e o misterio do vulcao (Theodora and the Volcano Mystery) is set in Portugal but also in the United States. This book is a commemoration of the volcano of the Capelinhos that had its first eruption 50 years ago. Luisa Fortes da Cunha decided to talk about this book because the story is set in the United States.
The Teodora books were made from the bedtime stories that Luisa Fortes da Cunha told her children, and as the stories she was telling were getting bigger she had to write them in a book and after some time she had written her first book.
Every day after arriving home from school she works as a mom, as she needs to take of her children first. When she has some free time she will work on her Teodora books. Teodora books take at least one year each to be completed and edited as her work life and family don’t give her a lot of time for her hobby.
Since she has written so many novels, students wanted to know which one was her favorite. “It’s hard to say which one I like the most because having fourteen books it’s the same thing as having fourteen kids and you can’t say which one you like the most,” da Cunha said.
Luisa Fortes da Cunha always comes up with new ideas for her books from not only the Portuguese folk tales but also from other countries. The folk tales aren’t the only source of inspiration for her. She also gets inspiration for her work when she remembers her adventurous days as a child and the travels she does around the world. Everything that Luisa Fortes da Cunha does outside her work and family life is research for her books.
Students were amazed by the fact that a Portuguese writer had come to Hudson High, as they thought it would be too hard to bring someone from Portugal to speak to us. When Luisa Fortes da Cunha asked the students if they knew her books or even if they read them, most of the students did not know what the Teodora books were or had not even read a story. The ones that knew her work told her that they only read some excerpts of one book.
Luisa Fortes da Cunha’s visit to Hudson High was a wonderful experience. The talk and question and answer period after it were all in Portuguese, which is great practice for the advanced Portuguese students. Every Portuguese student is looking forward to the next opportunity that Hudson High will give them.
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