When I Was a Boy Neruda Called Me Policarpo

A Memoir

By Poli Delano; Manuel Monroy (Illustrator); Sean Higgins (Translator)
(Groundwood Books, Hardcover, 9780888997265, 96pp.)

Publication Date: June 2006

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Poli Délano’s real name is Enrique. But when his mother was expecting him, Pablo Neruda, the great Chilean poet, took to calling him Policarpo. The name stuck and today Enrique Délano, also a noted Chilean writer, is still known as Poli. Besides his nickname, Poli Délano owes many happy childhood memories to Neruda. For a time, he and his parents, who were Chilean diplomats, lived in Mexico with the poet, his wife Delia, and their ornery pet badger. This delightful book recalls the period when he saw the fun-loving, eccentric Nerudas nearly every day. He learned a wide array of things from the man he called Tío Pablo — how to swim, what fate is, how to eat grasshoppers, how to talk to the spider-woman at the fair, and how to stand up to Nazis and bullies. Neruda’s almost childlike sense of joy, his love of nature, and his great enthusiasm for the world resonates with young readers.

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