by Amalia Benevento
"Open your arms to hold as many children, love them and protect them as if they were your own!" - Audrey Hepburn
This is a dream that has always accompanied me, given my thirty years of commitment as a woman, mother and professor of legal disciplines first, then the humanities, and over a decade of activism for UNICEF, beginning as a simple volunteer and, for almost two decades, as president of the UNICEF committee in Avellino.
A dream that came true for the first time, in the summer of 2014, during an event held at the Certosa of Padula to promote the culture of children's rights, when I had the opportunity to meet, together with a special friend, Margherita Dini Ciacci, founding partner of UNICEF Italy, the artist Raffaella Corcione Sandoval.
On that occasion I had the opportunity to appreciate all the more the far-sighted art of Raffaella, who even then, in homage to her mother's land of origin, wanted to spread a message of creative generosity, donating to UNICEF Italia of that time two canvases depicting the Amazon River and the Amazon Rainforest. After an evocative performance in which the guests were able to witness the dance of an ethereal creature depicting the Spirit of the woods and waters, they were invited to cut a piece of the paintings in memory of the havoc that was already taking place in those lands and to pay a contribution in money, a sort of "money of tears" to start a fundraiser to subsidize charitable initiatives in support of disadvantaged children, which UNICEF has been taking care of for over seventy years.
Since that evening a beautiful friendship was born with Raffaella that, under the common sign of the attention that each of us owes to the other as a person, has given life to a series of activities among which I like to remember the creation of gadgets decorated with pieces of her precious canvases and culminated with the creation of a numbered series of special Pigotte (the pigotta is a rag doll - gadget, symbol of UNICEF ITALY), whose features resemble the children of the Amazon.
These gadgets have been given a very significant name, INLAKESH, which is the greeting that those people exchange when they meet, even if strangers, whose meaning: "I am another you", I have always carried in my mind and heart.
A few years have passed and that dream of being able to embrace the greatest number of children, love them and protect them is realized again thanks to Raffaella Corcione Sandoval, who in the meantime has become a grandmother twice over...
In this new guise, Raffaella has, so to speak, naturally implemented her charge of tenderness towards children and has chosen to direct her artistic production towards children, writing and illustrating "Hidden Fables" which, despite the modesty of my person, she has given me the honor to present to her future readers.
In this work, Raffaella, as a painter and sculptress of international fame known to the general adult public for many intense and evocative creations in which the feeling of nature has always mixed with the reflection on the ultimate meaning of human existence, she has stepped into the shoes of the narrator and illustrator with delicate lightness.
I can confidently say that the six stories, originally born for the delight of her grandchildren and officially intended for the youngest, are however absolutely enjoyable and appreciable by readers of all age groups for the depth and poignancy of the themes addressed, ranging from the importance of knowledge to the opportunity to act with courage, from the rediscovery of the ultimate meaning of procreation to reconciliation as an essential stage of a peaceful existence.
The values of peace, harmony and love are the leitmotiv of everything.
Each of the stories told by Raffaella Corcione Sandoval contains a message, presented to us from time to time by a different "word - gift" that represents a value to be handed down/rediscovered through the passage allowed by the narrative plot for the new generations and not only for them. This passage is made through the different narrators who give voice to the most fragile creatures with enchanted eyes, first of all the child migrant protagonist of the text "The Candles of the Sea" who, through his delicate and personal travel diary, brings the reader closer to the theme of universal brotherhood and the importance of international cooperation (no one can save themselves alone!).
A special mention should be made of the numerous talking animals who are the protagonists of the following stories, very often originating from the Amazon, such as in "The Magic Red Thread" or in the novel "The Polkadot Sun": characters like Toco and Chico (a toucan and a coral snake) or Chatterbox and Polkadotsun (a parrot and an "uncommon" ladybug) propose new dimensions of friendly relationships and cooperation between different beings, but through the language of love and respect for "every other you" that you can meet on the path of existence, inviting hope, prevention of all forms of bullying or deceitfulness.
Another recurring theme of the whole work is the respect and protection of the ecosystem, present not only in the novel "The Polkadot Sun", but also in the one entitled "The Sacred Pearl", where the discovery of the awareness of one's own individual potential to save the planet from pollution plays a fundamental role.
Finally, in the novel "The Pink Planet" there is also the call to the courage to revive the ancient traditions towards a futuristic scenario that, personally, suggested to me a further key to interpret the whole work (which my current work and volunteer commitments led me to discover instinctively): It is about the possibility of reading the "Hidden Fables" as an educational path, a journey around fundamental human rights, suggested in a subdued tone but no less evident in the need for their re-affirmation, which starts from the responsibility of each one to live coherently their educational role.
This latest effort of Raffaella's is a gift for her granddaughters, but it represents, not only metaphorically speaking, a gift for children all over the world. In fact, my friend confided to me that it is her intention to make a gift of part of the rights deriving from the sale of this book to UNICEF, to which she has always felt connected.
We usually think of children as our future: in fact, they are our present, because if we take care of them, that future, if it exists, will be different and better for each of us as well as for them.
It will depend on how we want, together with Raffaella who did it thinking about her granddaughters, to read and redesign it today.
The shared reading of these books to give to our children, represents an opportunity not to be missed to welcome all our little ones in an embrace that has the taste of good feelings and extends, thanks to the donation made, to the largest possible number of them the right to health, peace, education and protection.
Didactics... in fairy tales, for a pedagogy of inclusion
by Tonia De Giuseppe
The text "Hidden Fables", through an excursus on the complexities generated in the interchange between differences, social contexts and relational approaches that are not very inclusive, highlights the paradoxes and contradictions that hinder the construction of a world which
"overcomes all fear" and that "transforms energy ... into the possibility" of "... universal harmony" (in The Pink Planet).
The need to initiate permanent metamorphosis of inclusive-systemic openness is figuratively outlined in the different characters as the key to solving the potentially destructive risks that are correlated to social models characterized by forms of self-protective closure to safeguard interests, predominance and supremacy.
“a friendship that transcended all differences ...” (in The Polkadot Sun).
Through a valorization of talents and skills, expressed in behaviors aimed at satisfying needs, the characters presented in the text emphasize the importance of communicating with the people of the world “...without words” and see “...in the hearts of others” (in The Pink Planet).
Therefore, the importance of acquiring an awareness of empathic skills is emphasized, to promote well-being in oneself and in others and in the surrounding context. All this emphasizes the educational challenge anchored to the strategic search for happiness, connected to a management of emotions.
"We had arrived in a new land, where the language of the heart was spoken! ...” (in The Candles of the Sea).
The author, transversally in the different stories, makes her characters experience formative processes of life, experiential strategies that, starting from individual needs, promote forms of self-realization, with the ability to make available to the system the highest individual potential.
"Even among those creatures considered unapproachable and dangerous, there is always one with a heart of gold" (in The Polkadot Sun).
In fact, being aware of social conditioning and of the influence of different contexts leads to activating ways of safeguarding the founding values of a social life that contrast with reduction of performance, addiction to exclusion and sanctioning.
"Living in that joy that overcomes every fear transforms one's energy and gives space to new possibilities ... (in The Pink Planet).
Rediscovering and cultivating one's own values allows one to enhance individual skills, increasing satisfaction and productivity by making it available to the community.
"... a jewel of wisdom ..." (in The Sacred Pearl).
In this way, every sacrifice is rethought as an instrument of mediation, to avoid that a lack of alignment between talents and skills generates a disconnection between the tasks performed and the contribution we could make to society and ourselves.
"... the queen was too busy protecting the neighborhood to worry about lost kittens. (in The Polkadot Sun).
The author emphasizes that thoughts, perceptions and beliefs act as filters and allow us to interpret what we live. Through journeys of awareness it is necessary "... to prepare the essentials for a mysterious journey into the unknown ... (in The Candles of the Sea).
On one's own convictions it is possible to modify meanings that damage our actions, thus favoring an improvement in personal and collective satisfaction and performance.
"Each of us is responsible for the other" (in The Polkadot Sun).
The importance of promoting forms of empathic communication, anchored to emotional intelligence, is emphasized, not only in order to live a happy and satisfying life, but to foster socio-contextual organizational models of productivity and leadership.
"... specialized in speaking like others, even if they were silent, they understood each other perfectly" (in The Polkadot Sun).
In “Hidden Fables” the social value of experimenting with the management of emotional languages is evident, motivating the activation of social actions based on emerging needs, to support and ensure a healthy and deep-rooted resilience at the service of the common good.
"... but I myself was a King, brought into this world to spread love, faith and brotherhood ... (in The Candles of the Sea).
The common thread of every story is represented by the importance assigned to the resolution of the different conflicts, interior and contextual, as a safeguard of systems, which allows to carry out a life purpose according to personal inclinations, but in a global and cooperative perspective.
"Each one of us is responsible for the other" (in The Polkadot Sun).
The text represents a useful pedagogical-didactic tool, as a cognitive artifact which can initiate paths of self-awareness, both individual and collective.
"It is a matter of intuition and understanding ..." (in The Rooms of Arianna).
The characters, which are skillfully outlined by the author, make it possible to enter experiential paths of life propositions, investing in models of education to happiness and a positive systematic reflexive between self and context, to promote strategic management, with creative, sensorial, intuitive and innovative multitasking performances, necessary in postmodern society.
"We are part of a larger whole and everything works in unity down to the smallest detail ..."So... to feel separated from others is an illusion..." (in The Polka Dotted Sun).
This is how “... the Universe will be a harmonious place...” and ... “better ... without fear” (in The Pink Planet).
Tonia De Giuseppe
PhD in Language, Society, Politics and Education: Corporeity, Technology and Inclusion at the University of Salerno.
Since 1990 she has been involved in educational processes and empowerment with strategic, political-socio-educational planning activities on complex territorial contexts. In particular since 1998, she has participated in multidisciplinary and transdisciplinary studies for the realization of intercultural inclusive systems, for which she has received national and international recognition of merit.
She has held roles of responsibility, training, design and evaluation for public bodies, Campania Region, international, governmental and non-governmental organizations of cooperation and development education.
She deals with educational research and inclusive pedagogy for which she acquired the CERTIFICATE COLLABORATIVE INSTITUTIONAL TRAINING INITIATIVE (CITI PROGRAM) ID 36654827 Human Subjects Research.
-Members of The International Institute of Informatics and Systemics (IIIS). ID 442868, FROM 28 JANUARY 2020 Tutor Organizer in the University of Salerno Department of Human, Philosophical and Education Sciences (C.d.L. in Scienze della Formazione Primaria- LM85 Bis, starting from school year 2017/18.
Winner of the public competition, reserved to teaching staff and managers in service, art 11 paragraph 2- of the Ministerial Decree of 10/09/2010, n. 249. Teacher for an indefinite period, winner of the Public Competition Notice for exams DALL' A.S. 1991/1992. Qualified for teaching in secondary school Disciplines: philosophy, psychology and educational sciences (a036-pas - philosophy, psychology and educational sciences) d.m.249/2010 Department of Human, Philosophical and Training Sciences of the University of Salerno-16/7/2014
Gregory Bishop, 12 years old, Indianapolis, Indiana, USA.
Hagia Sophia Classical Academy
"I think this fairy tale would have a considerable positive effect on young children, as it embraces diversity and removes any prejudice from an early age. It teaches that even those who are different from you can still have a good effect on the world. It has a very engaging and memorable plot that would ensure that the moral of the story and the story itself are not forgotten. This story does a great job in tackling, in my opinion, one of the most difficult morals to communicate."