In the last year of the project, in connection with the idea of how to transmit some of our reflections and ideas to our main partners – the children – the idea came up: what if we could make a children’s book out of CLAN’s results and reflections?
With this in mind, I contacted Joana, whose brushstrokes inspiringly and creatively honour the continuum between species. The first contact confirmed our great rapport. The collaboration evolved in a spirit of total mutual respect and creative freedom, but also of great resonance in terms of direction and values. This partnership was then expanded to include Isabel Minhos, from Planeta Tangerina Publishers, with whom the project emerged from the more limited sphere of self-publishing and ventured out into the world. Working with both was the accomplishment of an important goal: to make the dialogue between science and artistic creation a genuine one, to build a bridge between scientific language and children’s language.
Verónica Policarpo, PI of the CLAN project
Born in Penafiel in 1990, Joana Estrela started drawing family portraits at an early age, writing funny subtitles to go along with them. Her methods haven’t changed a lot since: what motivates her to start a book is still the amusement that comes with it. She graduated from Faculdade de Belas Artes da Universidade do Porto with a degree in Communication Design (2012). In 2014, Plana Editor published her first book: Propaganda. In 2016, Planeta Tangerina published Mana, the winner of 1st Serpa Internacional Award for Picture Books.
Personal webpage: https://joanaestrela.com/
To write and draw the book I set myself the same task that was given to the children who were part of the CLAN study – I observed my two cats and asked myself: What is it like to be my pet? At what points do our daily routines intersect? What do they do when I’m not around? In what way are they similar to me? And how are they different? What is their relationship with each other like? And with other animals? Based on that, I started thinking about a book that would depict a day in the life of two cats and a child. I drew up a list of the most common moments in a routine: waking up, eating, washing, playing… and then imagined my characters in those situations. I decided to develop the book as a comic strip to better show these various actions.
Joana Estrela, author and illustrator