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Reading about the Portuguese author Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho, I came across the following interesting tidbit of information:

The collection of stories for children she wrote with her husband, Contos para os nossos filhos ("Tales for our Children", 1886) was approved by the Board of Public Instruction for use in schools.

Unfortunately, Wikipedia provides no citation for this claim, and I haven't been able to find out any more information online (I tried searching for the author's name together with "tales for our children" and together with "schools"). How exactly was a book of short stories "use[d] in schools"? Were the stories educational in nature, was it a "cautionary tales" type collection, or were they simply studied in literature class, presumably together with more classical works?

  • Those author tags are awfully long. Does anyone happen to know if either of them used a shorter pen name (e.g. with some of their names replaced by initias)? – Rand al'Thor Aug 14 '17 at 17:44
  • Long author names are one of the things that happen when you ask questions about Portuguese literature. – user111 Sep 13 '17 at 22:04
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This site (page is google-translated) has a sale of the book and says it was approved for use in schools. Later on the page it says*

Volume of short stories from 1886, selected and translated by the couple Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho and Gonçalves Crespo, dedicated to "the mothers" and destined to the children: "stories to delight the imagination of children, stories that they understand, that interest them, that Make them laugh, and make them cry. "

These versions of the traditional tales compiled by the Danish Andersen and the Germans Grimm knew a great publishing success.

So it seems that these stories were just like a book of fairy tales might be used. When I was in the elementary grades, we had a book full of short stories and excerpts from longer stories we used to practice our reading and "explore different ideas". This would probably be used in much the same way.


*The original in Portuguese is as follows:

Volume de contos de 1886, selecionados e traduzidos pelo casal Maria Amália Vaz de Carvalho e Gonçalves Crespo, dedicado "às mães" e destinado às crianças: "contos para deleitarem a imaginação das crianças, contos que elas entendam, que as interessem, que as façam rir, e que as façam chorar".

Estas versões dos contos tradicionais compilados pelo dinamarquês Andersen e pelos alemães Grimm conheceram um grande sucesso editorial.

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