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This Brazilian Girl Read 560 Books And She's Not Even 12

Kaciane do Nascimento's love of reading led to her open a library in the backyard of her house, in a low-income housing development in São Paulo state. Now she's working on a book of her own.

Brazil's young bookworm Kaciane do Nascimento
Brazil's young bookworm Kaciane do Nascimento
Kaciane do Nascimento

SAO JOSE DO RIO PRETOAt 11, Kaciane do Nascimento has become a bit of a celebrity. She's so passionate for stories and literature that she's already read 560 books. In the poor neighborhood of São José do Rio Preto, in São Paulo state, where she lives, she started campaigns to encourage kids to read more, and even opened her own library in a room at the back of her house. Her next goals are to launch a mobile library and release her own book. This is her story:

My passion for books started long before I could even notice. My mother says I was already very much interested in books at three or four, and my favorite game was to play the school girl.

I learned how to read and write with my older brothers, in my parents' backyard. I learned what a library was at school, when I was seven. Encouraged by my teacher, I then read my first book, The Tale of Peter Rabbit by Beatrix Potter. It had about 100 pages, with lots of drawings. I took me a few hours to finish it. My passion started right there. I loved the sensation of being able to get into the story, getting to know the characters and being taken to places I'd never imagined.

That same week, I returned to the library and borrowed some more books. Since then, this has been my favorite hobby. Every day, I just can't wait to be home from school, do my homework and then shut my bedroom door and get into my own little world. I now read about 100 books a year, on average. In total, I've already read 560 books.

When I was nine years old, my family moved out of the shared place we were renting and we got our own house, in a low-income housing development. Most of the children didn't have much to do, which is what gave me the idea of building a library in my parents' backyard. That way, I would be able to introduce all the neighborhood children to the fantastic world of books.

I started telling people about my project and asking for donations, but I only got 40 books. Since my birthday was around the corner, I decided to make a video and publish it on the Internet. Instead of the usual presents, I asked for books to set up the library.

Pushing the narrative

My video reached a local businessman. He is the one who donated all the material necessary to build the library. My dream became reality in just a few months. The library is very colorful, it has small tables and a children's area. There are about 5,000 different titles, for all ages and tastes.

Since it's in my parents' backyard, visitors have to go through the kitchen to reach the library. But that doesn't matter to me. My mom and sister help me welcome the neighborhood children.

Like in the books, I want my story to go further. In October, two more of my dreams will become true: I'll be publishing my first book and opening a mobile library. My wish is for children in other poor neighborhoods to also have the opportunity that reading gives me to "travel" to faraway places.

I already have all I need to build it. It's almost ready and it's beautiful! My book too is going to be absolutely beautiful. It's about my story, about prejudice, friendship and other themes. It'll be released for Children's Month in October.

And just like that, I keep going, dreaming, fulfilling these dreams. Every day is like writing a new chapter.

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Life On "Mars": With The Teams Simulating Space Missions Under A Dome

A niche research community plays out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another planet.

Photo of a person in a space suit walking toward the ​Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

At the Mars Desert Research Station near Hanksville, Utah

Sarah Scoles

In November 2022, Tara Sweeney’s plane landed on Thwaites Glacier, a 74,000-square-mile mass of frozen water in West Antarctica. She arrived with an international research team to study the glacier’s geology and ice fabric, and how its ice melt might contribute to sea level rise. But while near Earth’s southernmost point, Sweeney kept thinking about the moon.

“It felt every bit of what I think it will feel like being a space explorer,” said Sweeney, a former Air Force officer who’s now working on a doctorate in lunar geology at the University of Texas at El Paso. “You have all of these resources, and you get to be the one to go out and do the exploring and do the science. And that was really spectacular.”

That similarity is why space scientists study the physiology and psychology of people living in Antarctic and other remote outposts: For around 25 years, people have played out what existence might be like on, or en route to, another world. Polar explorers are, in a way, analogous to astronauts who land on alien planets. And while Sweeney wasn’t technically on an “analog astronaut” mission — her primary objective being the geological exploration of Earth — her days played out much the same as a space explorer’s might.

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