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The Composition

Written by Antonio Skarmeta

Illustrated by Alfonso Ruano

  • 36 Pages
  • 9780888995506
  • 8.000" x 9.000"
  • Reading age to 8
  • JUVENILE FICTION / People & Places / Caribbean & Latin America
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Violence


Publication Date March 05, 2003

Winner of the UNESCO Tolerance Awarda and the Jane Addams Children's Book Award, and an Americas Award Commended Title

Life is simple for Pedro -- he goes to school, does his homework and, most importantly, plays soccer. But when the soldiers come and take his friend Daniel's father away, things suddenly become much more complicated.

Why, for instance, do Pedro's parents secretly listen to the radio every evening after dinner? And why does the government want Pedro and his classmates to write compositions about what their parents do in the evening?

Humorous, serious and intensely human, this powerful picture book by Chilean writer Antonio Skarmeta presents a situation all too familiar to children around the world. And for children it provides food for thought about freedom, moral choices and personal responsibility.


Antonio Skarmeta
Antonio Skarmeta is a Chilean writer. His fiction has won many awards and has been translated into nearly thirty languages worldwide and in 2011 his novel Los dias del arco iris won the Premio Iberoamericano Planeta-Casa de America de Narrativa.

Alfonso Ruano

Alfonso Ruano is the illustrator of The Composition by Antonio Skármeta, winner of the Jane Addams Children’s Book Award and the UNESCO Tolerance Award and an Américas Award Commended title, and Tricycle (El triciclo) by Elisa Amado, a USBBY Outstanding International Book. He has published dozens of other books, many of which have been translated into other languages and have won prestigious awards. After three decades as the art director for Grupo SM, the world’s largest publisher of Spanish-language children’s books, he has left to devote more time to illustration and painting.


"Skarmeta's concise and pointed description of Pedro's acquisition of political consciousness and discretion is brilliant." School Library Journal

"With realistic local details of school, home, and neighborhood, words and pictures stay true to the child's viewpoint..." Booklist