Portuguese kid publishes his first book at just 9 years old
Dinis Capela wrote a story that has now been edited during the pandemic when he was just 8 years old.
In the United States of America, a story about literature and children enchanted the country in early February. An 8-year-old boy created a book (with text and illustrations) and hid the copy on a shelf while visiting the local library with his grandmother. Suddenly it became a phenomenon: librarians cataloged the book, the story reached the media, and there were even offers from publishers to publish the work in earnest.
A similar story happened in Portugal, but it has already borne editorial fruit. A ten-year-old boy, celebrating his birthday this very Monday, February 14th, has just seen his first book published. Dinis Capela from Barcelos is the author of Ataque Eletrofantaz – ea Pedra do Poder published by Flamingo. It is available for €10 and can be purchased online.
Illustrated by Tatiana Dolgova, this children’s story focuses on an adventure of three friends – Dinis, Pedro and Ângelo – who must face the eletrofantaz. They are “creatures from the internet who were just a joke but become real by attacking anything and everything,” according to the published synopsis.
“The idea came from jokes made by me and my friends. It used to be a zombie attack, but we changed it to an electro-fantasy attack. He wrote down all the games in a notebook. During the quarantine, my parents then taught me how to use the computer and I wrote all the texts in the notebook on the computer,” Dinis explains to NiT. I was a sophomore at the time and only eight years old.
His father, João Capela, adds that by the time Dinis was taking computer classes, he “started developing the little stories that he had already written by hand”. “I stayed there for an hour or two to write, and that’s where these adventures came from.”
The idea of turning what he wrote into something more serious came from Dinis himself. “In January 2021 he asked us: Dad, how do you take these stories and turn them into a real book? I explained that it was through a publisher. After a few minutes I had already googled and found Flamingo. He did it all – that’s the most fascinating part. The funniest thing is that the Flamingo website said that it was necessary to send the work and an autobiography. And he comes to me: Father, what is this autobiography? We explained it and in 20 minutes I had written the autobiography that is even in the book. We sent the book without believing much and without high expectations, I explained that it was unlikely. But what is certain is that after some time we received an answer that they wanted to edit. We were all happy.”
João Capela was the first in the family to know about it, having emailed the book to the publisher. A week or two later the answer came. “I immediately contacted my wife and said: You won’t believe it, Dinis did it [risos]. And then at night [quando lhe contei], was very excited. We all stayed.” Dinis confirms: “I was very happy. I didn’t expect it, but I believed it could happen.”
Attaque Eletrofantaz – ea Pedra do Poder was released in mid-December when Dinis was nine, but the Capela family has spent the last two months in successive isolation caused by the pandemic. Therefore, they are only now disclosing this book, which is now available for purchase.
“There are people who have asked us: but was it you who wrote it? No, it was Dinis who wrote the whole story. We made some grammatical corrections, but the story is 100 percent his. The publisher also revised it, but it was all based on grammatical and semantic errors. It all came from his head,” explains João Capela.
As for the creative process, Dinis says he simply turned the jokes with his friends into written stories. “First it was orange ghosts. Then I gave them the name Electrofantaz, which means electronic ghosts. They come from the internet and attack on televisions.”
The book ends with a synopsis of the next adventure. In other words, Dinis never stopped writing and already has several sequels saved on his parents’ computer. “The next story is about a man who sides with Eletrofantaz and tries to kill people,” says the author. The father explains that the publisher does not yet know these sequels exactly, so it has not been confirmed whether they will also be edited.
What is certain is that a cult is already beginning to form around the saga. João Capela guarantees that all of Dinis’ friends, from school to catechesis, going through the football club – Dinis plays in Gil Vicente’s youth team – were delighted.
“A friend, Pedro, even told his mother that he wants to write a book too. In the end he is inspirational and it’s funny to see how all his school friends, soccer mates, catechism mates all happily congratulate him. There is real pride on the part of Dinis’ friends. They’re small, they might not care much, but they’re all happy.”
Of course, parents can’t hold back their emotions either. João Capela has a dance school in Barcelos and Dinis’ mother is a nurse. “We’ve always loved to read, but it’s really a passion of Dinis himself, who was born with him. Besides writing, he likes to read. It’s a pride we can’t put into words. It’s a feat that even most adults don’t do. We practically didn’t believe it: we didn’t say no, but in reality we didn’t think it possible that a publisher would accept that. He always believed, wrote and talked about “doing it in a book,” as he put it. It is a lesson for all of us: it is possible to follow our dreams.”
As for the future, Dinis Capela seems committed to continuing the “Eletrofantaz” saga, whether or not the next chapters are edited. And he already knows exactly what he wants to be when he grows up: “Writer, actor, director, stuntman and soccer player”.