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Planting Hope

A Portrait of Photographer Sebastião Salgado

Illustrated by Renato Alarcão
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About The Book

A gorgeously illustrated picture book biography about Brazilian photojournalist, humanitarian, and environmental advocate Sebastião Salgado.

As a young boy, Sebastião Salgado loved exploring his parents’ farm in the forests of Brazil, always dreaming of what might lie beyond his view. When he went away to school, he met Lélia, who showed him how to use a camera. As he looked through the lens, Sebastião realized he could use photography to capture how the world fits together.

Sebastião used his pictures to tell the stories of people who might not otherwise be seen. But after witnessing too much destruction, he put away his camera and returned to his childhood home. The land was in ruins.

So Sebastião and Lélia decided to rebuild the rainforest and photograph the beauty of the world to save it. Through art and activism, they would show that everyone was responsible for caring for the planet and that hope endures if we take action.

About The Author

Photograph (c) Rick Gonzalez

Philip Hoelzel is the author of Planting Hope. He was born and raised near Chicago but has lived in Santiago, Chile; Morelia, Mexico; and now Austin, Texas. Philip is trilingual and proud of it. He speaks English, Spanish, and Portuguese, learning the last two languages so he could meet more people in this big, wide, wonderful world. His other interests include hiking and camping, watching baseball, and playing Brazilian percussion instruments. If you want to know more about Philip or his writing projects visit or @CotopaxiPhil.

About The Illustrator

Photograph (c) Rosa Guimarães

Renato Alarcão has been passionate about drawing ever since he could hold a pencil. He lives in a coastal town across the bay from Rio de Janeiro with his wife, Rosa, and their two sons. Visit him at

Why We Love It

“This story celebrates art, photography, environmentalism, social justice, and a commitment to caring for and rebuilding our planet. Salgado is a respected photojournalist, but it’s his desire to educate and care for all living beings that makes him truly special. Renato Alarcao’s art perfectly channel’s Salgado’s aesthetic, bringing a lush world to life in stunning paintings that are themselves works of art.”

—Julie M, Editor, on Planting Hope

Product Details

Raves and Reviews

"Alarcão’s carefully shaded watercolor and pencil artwork is equally adept at presenting the person behind the camera and resultant images. The result is a rallying portrait of an artist and visual storyteller."

– Publishers Weekly, 2/12/24

* "Hoelzel’s lyrical text describes Salgado’s interconnected journey from photographer to environmental conservationist in this stunning picture-book biography...Alarcão’s visual representations are as bold as Salgado’s dreams."

Booklist, Starred Review, 1/1/24

“Hoelzel explores the theme of humanity’s place within nature. The watercolor and pencil illustrations are lush and engrossing, and the many double-page illustrations create an immersive experience. An inspiring account for aspiring environmentalists and photographers."

– Kirkus Reviews, 1/15/2024

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More books from this illustrator: Renato Alarcão