Joana Estrela

Original Title
Planeta Tangerina, 2021
Graphic novels
Rights Sold
Spanish (Europe)
English (World)
Spanish (North America, including Mexico)
, ,


Joana Estrela

When Raquel begins telling her story, Pardalita has already entered her life. She didn’t enter in a sudden way, but rather slowly and subtly, first in the school hallways and later at theater rehearsals. Raquel only knows her by sight, but is constantly waiting to see her again and begins to notice little details, like the tag on Pardalita’s sweater touching the skin of her neck.
Raquel wonders: “How far away can you be from someone without them noticing you don’t want any distance at all”?

Read Joana Estrela’s words about the making of Pardalita on Planeta Tangerina’s website:

Press voices

(…)The elegant simplicity of this book belies the artistic depth and emotional resonance contained within.(…) An incredible intimacy is achieved through the terse, quiet, often figurative language and the form—or, rather, the combination of forms. (…) The perfect ending will leave readers in quiet, piercing satisfaction.” Booklist, starred review

Estrela uses a bold, inky line to depict both cozy moments bursting with warm detail and dynamic scenes that boast energy and youthfulness. Through a fledgling queer romance, the creator presents a story of change, connection, and transformation. ” Publishers Weekly, starred review

The black-and-white art is bold and slightly abstract, matching the stream-of-consciousness text that effectively conveys adolescent turmoil, the heady intoxication of first love, and sweet moments of connection as young queer love blossoms. The book’s strength lies in its careful presentation of telling details. Quietly resonant and sincerely told.” Kirkus reviews

The stark black and white illustrations work to create the mood of this story. This title would make a wonderful addition to graphic novel collections; especially for collections which need more diversity or books that have been translated.” Review from School Library Connection

A wonderful, moving book by which Joana Estrela is revealed as one of the great Portuguese authors of the moment.” Pedro Miguel Silva, Deus me Livro

There’s very little or perhaps nothing out of the ordinary about the story of Raquel’s love for Pardalita. However, the merit of the narrative lies in the subtleties that make it unique, on the one hand, and profoundly empathic on the other (…) Without ever falling into anything like predictable superficiality, there’s no hesitation in Joana Estrela’s writing, and thus she carries the reader along to the beautiful and poetic final scene.” Andreia Brites, revista Blimunda

A unique narrative voice in Portuguese writing for young readers – one which is capable of bringing an inclusive perspective to a universal theme.” Ana Dias Ferreira, ObservadorAndreia Brites, revista Blimund

(…) she’s produced an absolutely perfect book – so mature, so well-accomplished, with an astounding narrative voice – you simply can’t resist. In case there were any doubts as to this artist’s enormous talent, here they have been dispelled, because this book enters right at the top of the best books for young readers published in Portugal in recent years.” Ana Margarida Ramos (Portuguese Children’s Literature researcher)

Books by Joana Estrela


Winner of the Silver Pen (category 12-15) and the Silver Brush awards 2024 (The Netherlands)

Shortlisted - GLLI YA Book Prizefor outstanding translations in YA

The Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Award 2024

USBBY Outstanding International Books 2024

Nominated to the Mare di Libri prize for best graphic novel 2024 (Italy)

Recommended — Portuguese National Reading List

Nominated — “Best comic book by a Portuguese author”, Amadora BD 2022

Selected by the Junior Library Guild

The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Book’s (BCCB’s) Blue Ribbon list

Llibreter Prize, “Best Children’s and YA Literature Book – Other Literatures” category