One hundred years following the death of Gianni Rodari

Is it possible to attend the ‘School of Imagination’? According to Gianni Rodari, yes, and perhaps it is the reason why he chose this as a title for one of his books. The great writer and journalist, born on 23 October one hundred years ago in Omegna, on Lake Orta, had an obsession with the education of children, who "need to conceive ideals and learn to love them above all else ". The idea was to call children to share the driving force of passion with adults, understood as the "will to action and dedication", "the courage to" dream big " and awareness of the duty we have as men to change the world for the better without settling for mediocre changes of scene that leave everything as it was before ». The idea is beautiful, if not for the fact that "thinking big" is a prerogative of the little ones. "You are born arsonists and you end up firefighters", declared Dino Segre, known as Pitigrilli to friends, but Rodari must not have shared this nihilistic vision and left a door open to hope. He did so with nursery rhymes, vehicle of the values ​​of friendship and solidarity, and with fairy tales, capable of reinventing a humanistic heritage suitable for minors. Perhaps when he opened up to social issues such as the conquest of freedom, the need for work, the defense of peace in the time of the Cold War and atomic threats, he was not exactly speaking to children, but rather to the adults they would become. Maybe it was an invitation to remain "incendiary", to pursue a feasible utopia, not exactly the end of injustices but at least a somewhat fairer society. Being a "firefighter" is easy, the stuff of mature people, but art is for those who have not forgotten that they were once naive, who keep going off the beaten track and who continue to get dirty by lying down on the dirt. These are the ones who will sometimes find a smooth stone which could not be seen from the main road. Rodari was an artist and spoke to children as an equal.


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