Written by Alberto Menéndez (Avilés, 1972) and illustrated by Begmont (Gijón, 1975), the story Todo el cielo será tuyo narrates the friendship between a caged bird and the child who frees it, accompanies and guides it until it learns to fly, a immediate link from which both find their own space enjoying the company.
All the sky will be yours
Antoine, who never leaves the house without his scrub gloves, feels comfortable in the antique shop he has just discovered, but what really catches his eye is a bird locked in a very expensive cage. The animal is not for sale, unlike the articles that surround it, but it does not have a great bond with its circumstantial owner either, and when she meets the child, she does not hesitate to leave with him.
The bird, which has spent its entire life in the cage and still does not know how to fly, will thus begin its learning process at the hands of Antoine, who, although it may not seem like it, needs the animal in the same proportion. The two protagonists, explains the author, “are more alike than it might seem a priori. Although they belong to different species, there are many things that unite them. The connection between the two is created in the first lines of the story, and although everything seems to indicate that it is the bird that needs the child to achieve its goal, the two really need each other.
For me, says Begmont, the book's illustrator, "it is a love story, of someone who guides another on their way to grow, to learn to fly alone, respecting the times and lovingly accompanying that process ." Autonomy, he adds, "is very necessary when it comes to facing life's problems, but we may not have acquired it for that or it may be that, at a given moment, we do not have the necessary strength, so, in that case it is always necessary that they guide us with patience, affection and understanding”.
It is very likely that the bird could learn on its own, or that Antoine would grow up almost identically without ever knowing the bird, but both processes would be less rewarding. “Even the things that we can do alone taste better shared” , says Alberto Menéndez. “The common work carried out by the protagonists of the story is important, but what is really wonderful is the bond that is created between them. Perhaps they could have reached the same outcome by following their own path, but their journey would not have been as exciting or as pleasant.
Because, according to the author, sometimes “it is difficult for us to see the really important things” , because more trivial matters distract us or because we don't know how to look in the right direction. This is a story, he recalls, "that invites us to look for those important things and to look up, towards the sky, to break the widespread trend in our days of looking down, which isolates and dehumanizes us."
All the sky will be yours
In an illustrated children's album, the good harmony between illustrations and texts is essential, and in this case it reaches an even more special bond. Alberto Menéndez had been following Begmont's work as a painter with interest for years, and when he proposed to work on a joint project, the understanding was immediate.
“For me it was a real dream that she would illustrate the book” , confesses the author. “I knew I would like the result, but I never imagined how much… I think Belén fell in love with the text with the same intensity with which I fell in love with her illustrations from the first proof I saw, and definitely that love between letters and images translates into some pages, from an artistic point of view, wonderful ”.
“When Alberto contacted me telling me a little about the project” , explains the illustrator, “I already knew that I was going to like it, and so it was. When I read the text for the first time, it touched me a lot, it moved me and, best of all for an illustrator, I immediately visualized what it could be like." “ I had read Alberto's previous book and I loved it, and he followed my work, with which, I think we are a bit like Antoine and the bird, who undertook this journey of flying together with the project”.
And it is that this is not Alberto's first book nor is it the first time he has published with Delallama, he already did so in 2017 with "The story of the star that had no tips..." and its version in Asturian, a very tied to his daughter.
"From the moment I wrote The Story of the Star..., a book closely linked to my daughter, I knew that her brother would soon claim his," explains the author. “ As I had done with her, when he asked me to write a story for him, I asked him what he wanted his book to be about. "From a child who teaches birds to fly," he told me, and at that moment the whole sky will be yours began to take shape .
All the sky will be yours
To illustrate Alberto's story, Begmont took into account the liberating nature of the work, which is why he chose an intense green color in the hermetic and stuffy environment of the antique store, "where there is almost no space even for the text" , he says , to gradually introduce the color white as the protagonists move away from the store and "everything becomes clearer and lighter" . The result is a children's book that already flies by itself and that is in bookstores in its two versions, in Spanish and Asturian.
Text: Pablo Fraile Dorado