Talking about departures: Due Ali [Two Wings]

It's always difficult for me to decide to share Italian books that have not been published in English yet. It's a disappointment, especially when I have a very good book which would deserve to be known and read abroad. 
Truth is I love Mariachiara di Giorgio's work and I can't keep it for myself:) 
Her illustrations feel like home to me and they have just the right balance of visual poetry and cinematic richness in detail.
This book was published in 2016, and it's been only translated in Spanish.

The story takes place in a beautiful sunny Italian city (it feels like Rome, again). Guglielmo is an elderly man who lives alone in a modest flat in a two-floors house with a small garden, the same home where he grew up.
His days are lonely, but calm and happy, filled with the small things of his everyday routine.
When he finds two wings growing in the garden, right under the peach tree, Guglielmo starts looking for their owner in the neighbourhood.
While people look at him as if he had lost his mind, he suddenly realises that there, under the peach tree, it's where he buried his Secrets box when he was a child.
He then starts taking care of the wings, watering them, cuddling them. Until one day, when the wings look beautifully mature, he wears them and flies away.

It's a clumsy, sweet, very real, laic and moving departure.
Rome is flooded with the warm southern dawnlight as Guglielmo glides above its beautiful houses, and we can feel nothing but peace and love for life.
The wings are the only surreal item of this story, they grow out of Guglielmo's childhood memories and are of course a symbol of his spiritual and emotional growth and of his self, nurtured to the point of being ready to leave.
"Two mature wings, ready to fly"
There is no mention to other worlds, the focus is on this world. Guglielmo is totally human and adorable, in his night robe and slippers, while flying above his neighbourhood, deeply breathing the beauty of his human, ordinary life.

A lyric yet humorous narration by Cristina Bellemo magically translated into images by Mariachiara Di Giorgio, who shows again to be a brilliant director, visual interpreter, set designer, prop master, all at once. 

This book offers a very gentle way to talk about death to young children, something that parents usually tend to postpone to when it's needed, maybe because a relative leaves the family.
We do have a few beautiful picture books that talk about death with a nonreligious approach, I believe it's important to incorporate the concept of death within that of life so that children can start normalising it.
No book will ever prepare us to see someone leaving, no book will cancel the grief.
It's more a matter of processing emotions and offering an imagery of death as a possibly peaceful moment, a natural conclusion of a self-development process.
Not everyone has this privilege, it is indeed aspirational.
Guglielmo's flight will stick into grown ups' minds too.

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