Author Andrea Nunes was born in New Jersey, in the United States, but both of her parents were born in Portugal. “I was raised speaking Portuguese and I spent most of my summers in Portugal where I would visit my grandparents and the rest of my family in their village of Vila Soeiro do Chão.”
Andrea has always been passionate about writing from a young age, where she told The Portugal News “I loved writing in school and I wrote a lot of poetry as a kid through high school and college. The language was always engrained in me from a young age as well as the culture and my husband does not speak Portuguese, so I remember looking at tools we could use to help him learn some.”
Where she went on to add, “I soon realised that there weren’t many books for children that were made in a good way to just pick up the language without it being an actual learning programme online which is where the initial idea came from but when I became a mum the idea to teach Portuguese through literature went on the back burner.”
Capturing a shared experience
The “Stella Learns Portuguese” series has beautiful illustrations and is based on Andrea’s personal life and experiences as it incorporates her family’s village and grandparents.
The first book in the series was published in 2020 and is called “Stella in the Villa” which the blurb reads “Stella is visiting her grandparents from far away. There’s fresh air, furry friends, and lots of love all around. Spend the day with her and her avós as they get through their daily tasks, with some fun and yummy treats along the way.” The second and third books, "Stella in the Kitchen" and "Stella at the Praia" which were released in February of this year.
Andrea has received rave reviews about the series, with some reviews reading “This book is so special. It brought back so many cherished memories of my childhood of traveling to Portugal to see my grandparents in the summer.”
Another reads “Awesome book to introduce the Portuguese language! Such a cute book for kids of all ages! This book provides a great introduction to the Portuguese language for kids. The pictures and cute little rhymes make it engaging and enjoyable! Highly recommend to any parent, teacher, or therapist!”
When asked about her thoughts on the lovely reviews she has received so far, Andrea said “I always enjoy when the reviews say that they feel nostalgic reading the series because although I have moulded it around my family, I wanted it to be very familiar to others who had similar experiences so it is intended to capture anyone’s similar experience.”
Making Portuguese accessible to young readers
Andrea focuses primarily on rhythmic and lyrical writing in her stories. She shared that the aim was to make it accessible for young readers, “I noticed that when I was growing up, and also my daughter, we would learn songs and poems a lot easier so I thought having one word in Portuguese would make it easier to recognise so it was the goal to make it easier to understand and pick up.”
Andrea plans to continue the loved series, “I am hopefully going to start soon on what the fourth might be, I have also written a few short stories written all in Portuguese and in English which haven’t been published yet as the Stella series has been the primary one to get out there.”
“Motherhood comes first, I schedule everything else around it, I see writing as a hobby and once everyone is in bed that is my time to write because I find it fun and I see it as something I do to relax.”
For more information or to purchase copies please visit www.stellalearnsportuguese.com. To keep up to date with everything the author does please follow her @stellalearnsportuguese on Instagram and Facebook.
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.