The Alemão's bookseller
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"A book found in the trash has changed the life of Otávio. Resident of “Complexo do Alemão”, in Rio de Janeiro, he created the project “Ler é 10 – Leia Favela” (“Reading is 10 – Favela Read”), aiming to encourage the enjoyment of reading in children from their community. Despite the violence, drug trafficking and the lack of resources of the slum population, the story of Otávio is living proof that books have transforming power in the lives of children and teenagers. “People who live on the hills of Rio de Janeiro know that there’s fear, there’s anguish, there’s despair. But there’s also a tremendous desire for overcoming life’s struggles. […] And
contrary to what many people believe, I love my life here. I can say that I’ve had a happy childhood and that today I am fulfilled by doing a work in community that encourages people to read. I know from experience that children here have a very narrow view of the world. They hardly leave the favela. […] They get stuck in here. It was reading that freed me from this prison. My work led me to receive the O Globo newspaper’s Faz Diferença (Make Difference) Award in December 2008. The article also stamped the name many people kow me by: ‘Alemão’s bookseller’. A story that started to be written on a bunch of garbage bags.”"


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