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Europa - Children books SI

Europa - Children books

The 2011 Europa Set produced by Portugal under the theme Europa 'Children's Books'

A good children's book is not merely a children's book, it is just as soon a book for everybody to enjoy, both to look at and to read. Each person gets something out of it, the adult as well as the young reader. There must be room for all age groups. The same goes for all true works of art – they neither are timeless and not confined within certain limits, neither time- nor age group-limits. If the work is of good quality, everybody ought to be able to enjoy it.

It is good to broaden your mind by reading about foreign countries and strange worlds. But there can be no doubt about the fact that at the same time it is of vital importance that all nations have their own books with narratives that will resound in each individual. We must be well acquainted with our own if we are to be able to soundly get the most out of all that comes from the outside. We will loose our foothold if we do not have a foothold of our own to stand on. Therefore it is good that even the smallest nations create their own works of art, that they write their own literature.


EUROPA stamps underline cooperation in the posts domain, taking into account promotion of philately. They also build awareness of the common roots, culture and history of Europe and its common goals. As such, EUROPA stamp issues are among the most collected and most popular stamps in the world.

Europe stamps have been issued annually since 1956. First sets representing the founding 6 members of the ECSC, European Coal and Steel Community, then by the European Conference of Postal and Telecommunications Administrations (CEPT) in 1959, (first stamps issued in 1960) and by Posture since 1993. Initially in 1956 a total of 13 stamps were issued with a common design from 6 different countries. A common theme of Peace and Welfare through agriculture and industry was used for 1957. The common design reappeared in 1958 and continued until 1973. From 1974 the designs reflect a common theme. The common design idea replaced the common theme in 1984, which was the CEPT 25th Anniversary (1959-84) and shows a symbolic bridge, said to represent Liaison, Exchange and Communication. With the split of posts and telecom providers in most countries, CEPT is no longer responsible, but the postal authorities under the guidance of Posture continue the Europe tradition. From 1993 all the stamps have 'Europe' inserted into the design in small print. (Source Wikipedia)

The child as such is a 19th century “invention'. Until then, children were essentially miniature adults. Dressed as adults and treated as something one really wasn’t sure of what it was, children would share both work and leisure spaces with the adults; thus a six year old child could work in the field, in a factory or do household chores, the difference being that the child would either not get paid at all or would get a much smaller pay.
The tales that one heard in the evening, at the work place or by the fireside, were either accounts of “things that had happened” or wonderful “tall tales”. In the latter, everything was possible, above all the impossible, and everything was permitted according to an internal logic and a very specific “moral”. Usually told by women, they were gathered by men during the Romantic period, who believed that the tales were the mirror of the people’s soul. Among these, in Portugal, Adolfo Coelho, Teófilo Braga, Consiglieri Pedroso and Leite de Vasconcelos were the most important.
Tales and legends, which are often confounded, differ from each other mostly by the fictional nature of one (the tale) and by the supposedly truth of the other (the legend), assumed with indicators of time and space. Naturally suitable for being told and retold, tales and legends smoothed the process of bringing adults and children together as well as their interaction, occasionally serving pedagogic aims – especially in the case of the “tales of warning”. Strongly visual, the traditional tales, rimances (short epic chants) and legends were the first children’s books to be published with that intent and distinction, as far as target public was concerned. 
Traditional tales have a sort of peculiar grammar, themes and motives that for the most are repeated in an identical sequence. Several theories have tried to explain this coincidence, some of them through the migration and meetings between peoples, others to something called the universal, “archetypical” imagination. 
Tales may be rhymed (which helps commit them to memory, as well as the rhythm of the tale, as it is the case in the Romanceiro (compilation of epic/lyric poems), they emphasize and repeat actions, they use and abuse the symbols for figures, spaces and objects and recuperate the idea that a hero or heroine (because there are also female heroes, as the text chosen for Madeira proves) conquers the right to heroism through his/her own effort or because he/she has an assistant (animal, human or superhuman) capable of guiding him/her. 
There are however tales in which it is the animal that is the hero, tales in which the “Monkey who lost his tail” sees himself mixed up in a succession of trades and ends up playing the guitar and singing a refrain that has been repeated for generations – and because this is one of the few typically Portuguese tales, we found it would be fitting to select this tale to represent the Portuguese Mainland. 
From the Romanceiro do Arquipélago da Madeira (compilation of epic/lyric poems from the Archipelago of Madeira, 1880), a version of the “Maiden that went to War”, in which the female attributes are charmingly highlighted (since they may “betray” the maiden in a men’s world), and the easiness with which bravery, imagination and ingenuity disguise them. As far as the Azores is concerned, there is always a tendency to associate these islands with legends, not only because they are very propitious to all sorts of enchantments and evasions, but also because the legend is highly suggestive and visual: the “Legend of the Seven Cities', reminding that breaking a prohibition may result in a punishment capable of updating scenarios of chaos and creation.
Children’s books are the books that have the greatest impact on us. Seeing them, running through them and re-reading them may be equivalent to travelling in time, to a flashback that carries us back, not only to the time but also to the spaces of our childhood: spaces with smells, flavours and sounds – echoes of a childhood that we still cuddle inside us.

Technical Details

Issue Date: 07.05.2010
Designer: Atelier Acacio Santos / Tulio Coelho
Illustrator: Antonio Modesto (Donzela que foi a Guerra), Joao V
Printer: CARTOR Security Printing
Size: 30,6 x 40 mm, 125 x 95 mm
Values: EUR1.26, EUR2.38, EUR3.00, EUR1.36, EUR0.68