Ambassador Levine was welcomed by the wonderful school children at Externato Luso-Britânico who were excitedly waiting for her arrival with a bouquet of flowers. Once the Ambassador arrived and greeted the children, they all went into the classroom where the Ambassador started reading her book.
The story follows the adventures of Princess Orlita and Prince Maxingtonius as they explore the kingdom of Orlyville for the healthiest and yummiest treats in the land!
The story was delightful and the school children appeared to love the story which boasts wonderful illustrations by Beatrice Cerocchi. The reading was a great success and there was even time for questions and photos at the end. The children received copies of the book which even included some of the Ambassador’s granddaughter’s favourite recipes at the end of the book.
Following the reading, the Ambassador spoke to The Portugal News where she affirmed that she loves doing these visits and that is a joy to visit different schools and engage with the children through reading. “My goal here is to share American Portuguese culture one with the next and to merge our cultures and focus on that whilst I am here.”
Adding “I thought it was really important for them to learn about sustainable and organic farming and understanding how food grows and respecting how food gets to us and I think healthy living is a very important theme for young kids in general.”
When asked about the inspiration behind her debut, the Ambassador told The Portugal News “My idea for this book came from my whole family living with me during covid, every night I used tell my granddaughter Orli this story and in fact we wrote this story together. I decided during covid that I would make it a project to write this book for her so it was a gift for my granddaughter.”
“When I became the American Ambassador to Portugal, I said I am going to bring the rest of my books to Portugal and I am going to go around and connect with the young family community through reading my story. Not knowing that we have program called emerging voices, where one of our goals is to connect to school children, to teach them American English and teach them about the United States and start socialising the idea of United States as an ally and interest for the younger years.”
When asked if a follow up book is to come, the Ambassador said “I will try to write another book for my next grandchildren and have it set in Portugal and make it some kind of adventure since Portugal is such a big part of my life and theirs.”
The Ambassador kindly shared with The Portugal News more about her role, “My goal is to represent President Biden and his administration here in Portugal. First and fore most my job is to work together with the Portuguese government to advance our strategic goals and values, the political piece of it is really important but because of my background in arts and culture, for me having conversations with the Portuguese public, whether that be around music, art, diversity or whether it is through a children’s story.”
Finally sharing that “Having those people to people touches with the Portuguese public is really important and I think post covid, we really missed those opportunities to feel connected. I feel so honoured to be able to make those kinds of connections through art, literature and music as they are all of the things that reflect the things that I love and bring me joy.”
Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.