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Letter from the Editor | 253

Precursors and pioneers

The pioneering spirit of Brazilian children’s author Monteiro Lobato is undisputed: his importance is underscored by researchers devoted to the topic and evidenced by the public success his books have achieved.  The author himself, quite schooled in the art of self-promotion, helped construct this leading role.

Important though they are, literature’s greats like Lobato are not necessarily the first of their kind: precursors often lead the way.  Decades before publication of A menina do narizinho arrebitado [The girl with the little pug nose] (1920), there was already a market in Brazil for children’s literature, composed mostly of works in translation as well as local writers.

In this issue’s cover story, Special Editor Carlos Fioravanti presents not only this little-known pre-Lobato overview, but he also introduces a never-before-published children’s work written 120 years ago by Rio de Janeiro educator João Köpke. The facsimile of Versos para pequeninos, that came to the public in 2013, when the manuscript was cited in a doctoral thesis defended by Köpke’s great-granddaughter, is available as an eBook on the Pesquisa FAPESP website.

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A regionalized snapshot of the scientific competency of the 15 administrative regions of São Paulo was published in February by the Academy of Sciences of the State of São Paulo (Aciesp). The Map of Science, whose content is summarized and discussed in the report that begins on page 32, highlights the regional specialization profiles that may serve as a guide for private investments and public policies.

It also illustrates successes achieved by public policies in building scientific competency, some directly and indirectly related to the state’s economic and social challenges.  In the search for agricultural solutions, for example, there are initiatives that go back centuries: since the establishment of the Agronomic Institute of Campinas (IAC) 130 years ago, the area surrounding Campinas features a concentration of 22% of the state’s agricultural sciences researchers even though the region’s municipalities are home to just 9.17% of the state’s population.  Similarly, the presence of the Luiz de Queiroz College of Agriculture (ESALQ) at the University of São Paulo has brought together 15.33% of São Paulo’s agricultural sciences researchers in the Piracicaba region, which has only 3.3% of the state’s population.  Forward thinking and ongoing investments in the field of health in the São Paulo Metropolitan Region, home of 51.27% of the state’s population, has created prominence in this field of knowledge and a 54.95% concentration of researchers.

The past 20 years of state and federal initiatives have led to the establishment of new institutions and the expansion of those that are already consolidated in São Paulo. The study also identifies some deficiencies: a weakness in terms of scientific training has been identified in three of the 15 regions.

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When we talk about Brazilian baroque, what immediately comes to mind is the rich sacred art found in the churches and museums of the states of Minas Gerais, Pernambuco, Bahia and Rio de Janeiro. In recent years, research groups have revived São Paulo baroque not just in the capital, but also in the state’s inland cities, through studies and restorations of churches, paintings and sculptures. The result is that works of art have been rediscovered and forgotten artists brought to the forefront, reversing the perception that São Paulo baroque was unimpressive and of little worth.