Literatura de Cordel (Literature on a String)

Literatura de Cordel (Literature on a String)

Appropriate for grades: K - 12
Subject areas: History and Social Studies Visual and Performing Arts

Literatura de Cordel (Literature on a String) refers to small hand-printed chapbooks of poetry, which address popular themes, folktales, and legends, native to the dry, impoverished interior of northeastern Brazil. Up until recently these booklets were primarily sold at fairs and open markets in Recife and the interior of Pernambuco, displayed hanging from string. Following a medieval European troubadour tradition introduced by the Portuguese, the Brazilian poets were often the salesmen, singing the stories out loud to a mostly illiterate rural population. Some of the poets are also self-taught woodcut artists, and the covers of their chapbooks feature simple black-on-white images relating to the poems. Spanish Language Version

Teaching / Learning Goals:

Teachers and students will …


  • Understand how literatura de cordel is an art form used to tell stories, to entertain and to convey important information in Brazil (historical and cultural understanding).
  • Learn about the materials used to create literatura de cordel (perceiving, analyzing and responding).
  • Find solutions in the process of creating stories on a string (creating and performing).

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