Children/Young: También fueron jóvenes

Author: Jordi Sierra i Fabra
-Editorial Bambú
-US Release Date: 12-01-2014
-Reviewed by:Eduardo de Lamadrid
-Review Release:April 3, 2014

Jordi Sierra i Fabra knows much about personal overcoming and about the effort that one must make to achieve one's dreams. So it is no surprise that the Barcelonese author has tried to give expression, in a fictionalized but realistic manner, to the childhood and adolescence of various historical figures characterized not only by their genius and talent, but also by their determination and willpower.

In También fueron jóvenes, Sierra i Fabra reviews, recreates or invents different moments in the formative years of Jules Verne, Thomas Edison, Jane Austen, Pablo Picasso, John Lennon, Albert Einstein, Mohandas Gandhi, Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart, Anne Frank and the author himself. These figures may be distant in time, but they're near to us in their humanity, and in these portraits we will discover that special spark that allows some persons to reach their goals. Neither obstacles nor limitations nor other pressures were able to detain the evolution of these writers, musicians and thinkers. And while only some of them experienced extreme circumstances, they all evince the courage to press forward.

The book devotes a chapter to each figure, which begins with an realist illustration of the person's face that helps the reader imagine him or her as a child and a brief biographical sketch that ends with a hint of an episode that occurred in the person's infancy. This is completed by a story in which Sierra i Fabra gives free rein to his imagination by fictionalizing the episode in question. With a vibrant, direct and energetic style full of crisp dialogue and short phrases, the author reveals the figures through their own words, hopes and dreams and reminds us that childhood forges a great part of our personality and will influence the rest of our lives. Sierra i Fabra also manages evoke the mindset of each age in a simple and direct manner, allowing the reader to immerse himself in the setting, no matter how brief the story. 

The book concludes with the author's own autobiographical episode in which he narrates a childhood accident which led him to begin writing and helped him assert his vocation as a writer in the face of parental opposition.

This is a new and fresh way of engaging with biography. These brief imagined biographical episodes will inspire young readers, stimulating their curiosity and bolstering their self-confidence. They will learn and will have fun doing so.