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 PRETO â€" At 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.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!
Migrant Lives

The Other Scandal At The Polish-Belarusian Border: Where's The UN?

The United Nations, UNICEF, Red Cross and other international humanitarian organizations seems to be trying to reach the Polish-Belarusian border, where Belarus leader Alexander Lukashenko is creating a refugee crisis on purpose.

Migrants in Michalowo, Belarus, next to the border with Poland.

Wojciech Czuchnowski

WARSAW — There is no doubt that the refugees crossing the Belarusian border with Poland — and by extension reaching the European Union — were shepherded through by the regime of Alexander Lukashenko. There is more than enough evidence that this is an organized action of the dictator using a network of intermediaries stretching from Africa and the Middle East. But that is not all.

The Belarusian regime has made no secret that its services are guiding refugees to the Polish border, literally pushing them onto (and often, through) the wires.

It can be seen in films made available to the media by... Belarusian border guards and Lukashenko's official information agencies.

Tactics of a strongman

Refugees are not led to the border by "pretend soldiers" in uniforms from a military collectibles store. These are regular formations commanded by state authorities. Their actions violate all rules of peaceful coexistence and humanitarianism to which Belarus has committed itself as a state.

Belarus is dismissed by the "rest of the world" as a hopeless case of a bizarre (although, in the last year, increasingly brutal) dictatorship. But it still formally belongs to a whole range of organizations whose principles it violates every day on the border with Poland.

Indeed, Belarus is a part of the United Nations (it is even listed as a founding state in its declaration), it belongs to the UNICEF, to the International Committee of the Red Cross, and even to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE).

Photo of Polish soldiers setting up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Polish soldiers set up a barbed wire fence in the Border Zone near Krynki, Belarus

Maciej Luczniewski/ZUMA

Lukashenko would never challenge the Red Cross

Each of these entities has specialized bureaus whose task is to intervene wherever conventions and human rights are violated. Each of these organizations should have sent their observers and representatives to the conflict area long ago — and without asking Belarus for permission. They should be operating on both sides of the border, as their presence would certainly make it more difficult to break the law.

An incomprehensible absence

Neither the leader of Poland's ruling party Jaroslaw Kaczyński nor even Lukashenko would dare to keep the UN, UNICEF, OSCE or the Red Cross out of their countries.

In recent weeks, the services of one UN state (Belarus) have been regularly violating the border of another UN state (Poland). In the nearby forests, children are being pushed around and people are dying. Despite all of this, none of the international organizations seems to be trying to reach the border nor taking any kind of action required by their responsibilities.

Their absence in such a critical time and place is completely incomprehensible, and their lack of action raises questions about the use of international treaties and organizations created to protect them.

Keep up with the world. Break out of the bubble.
Sign up to our expressly international daily newsletter!