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Astrid Lindgren knew the importance of reading to a child’s development, and her world-wide success triggered the starting shot for one of Sweden’s largest exports: literature for children and young people. Journalist Alice Kassius Eggers has been commissioned by the Swedish Arts Council to present a selection of newly-published books for young readers. Her selection and comments are entirely her own, and as well as the established authors and illustrators included here there are also those making their debut. Their inaugural work is already signalling perfection in form and contents. Swedish children’s literature is not didactic and is not intended to be a form of instruction. That does not mean, however, that it has nothing to teach us. One example of this added extra is “Alla barns rätt” (Every Child’s Right) by Pernilla Stalfelt, which ingeniously spotlights the United Nation’s Convention of the Rights of the Child. The authors and illustrators are not afraid of tackling difficult subjects, but in this year’s collection of books for young readers there is also plenty for young readers who want to be amused and entertained. You are welcome to contact the publishers for more information about the books and their authors. Helen Sigeland Swedish Arts Council 3

picture Front cover: From ”summer” by sara lundberg. this page: from ”my life as a detective” by malin axelsson (text) and magdalena cavallin (illustrations) 4


Picture books


above: from ”my life as a detective” by malin axelsson (text) and magdalena cavallin (illustrations). right side: from ”the dictator” by ulf stark (text) and linda bondestam (illustrations)

the trend for artistic picture books, noticeable mainly in Norway and Denmark, has made its way to Sweden. David Polfeldt’s Ljusflickan (The Light Girl) published in 2009 signalled that today’s picture books are closer to works of art than they have been for a long time. In 2010 Mitt liv som detektiv (My Life as a Detective) by Malin Axelsson and Magdalena Cavallin was published by Bladslottet, an imprint of the small publishing house Bladstaden. Malin Axelsson previously wrote mainly for the stage and there is an echo of dramatic style in the speech of the babysitter. She works with sounds and the reader really hears how she tries without success to get the main character dädä to speak. The text was originally written as a drama for children. As with Norwegian Stian Hole’s work, for example, it is the pictures that make Mitt liv som detektiv especially striking. Magdalena Cavallin illustrated Bladslottet’s first book, Gå inte fel kamel (Watch Out for Bumps, Humps) (2009) written by Mikael Cavallin. The book was awarded a Kolla prize. With the illustrations for Mitt liv som detektiv Malin Axelsson really shows off her talent. The pictures are whimsical collages of thick, dark colours blended with photographically accurate images of hands; the history of art is embedded in her compositions. The Finnish-Swedish illustrator Linda Bondestam uses a quite different approach. In collaboration with Ulf Stark, an author who has set the tone for books for children and young adults for the past forty years, she has produced Diktatorn (The Dictator), published by the Finland-Swedish publisher Söderströms. The book tells the story of a little boy who is also a dictator, in military uniform and with a red star on his hat. He is in control of the entire world and everyone in it. He even seems to have control over the sun; when he gets up in the morning he tells it to get up, too, and it does. And a rock falls silent when he shouts: ’Silence!’ But he hasn’t bargained with Sirkka and her dark plaits and blue eyes. They go to the same nursery and he cannot boss her about. He tries to get closer to her by tripping up Jussi, the boy she walks next to in line, but not even then will she walk with the dictator. Bondestam’s illustrations mix 1970s patterns with a communist aesthetic. There is no doubting the dictator the boy resembles. The book is complex, an allegory of the western world’s ever more child-centred


society and its so-called curling-parents who frantically rush ahead of their children, clearing obstacles out of their way. Diktatorn can also be read as the story of a perfectly ordinary little boy. He decides when his parents may hug and kiss him, demands: ‘I WANT FOOD’ and is immediately served food. With subtle humour Stark and Bondestam show how odious children can be, with their demands and their sense of selfimportance, and how the adult world allows this to happen. The dictator’s father calls to mind Alfons Åberg’s father in Gunilla Bergström’s popular books. Inserted into the pictures are tickets, and cuttings from Russian news-


papers. Despite the references to the 70s there is something bang up-to-date in the character of the protagonist and Bondestam’s use of retro style. Perhaps the simple moral is that it is more fun being a kind person than one who makes all the decisions. The text does not offer many clues, simply leading the reader through the everyday life of the dictator, but the back cover reads: ‘In the end it can be lonely being a very little dictator. Because you can’t decide that someone has to be your friend.’ With gravity and warmth Sassa Buregren and Maud Mangold tell the story of Kokongs långa resa (Kokong’s Long Journey). A train conductor

finds a small bundle on a luggage rack and decides to take it home: ‘Dear little dumpling, why are you here / left among the cases? / I can’t leave you all alone / on the coat rack – of all places’. Kokongs långa resa is Buregren’s and Mangold’s third collaboration and just like their previous book, Pärlor till pappa, its theme is heartrending. Kokongs långa resa is written in verse and describes Kokong’s journey through a new country, Sweden. When the conductor and his cat open the bundle they are not entirely sure what kind of object has landed under their Christmas tree. ‘A crumple? Or a bumple? Or perhaps more of a wrinkle, such a teeny-tiny

lära sig saker ...

Till exempel andra språk.

left side: from ”kokongs long journey” by sassa buregren (text) and maud mangold (illustrations). this side: from every child’s right” by pernilla stalfelt

twinkle.’ On the first page there are orange Pernillaboken mountains under 13 juni.indd 12 a clear yellow sky, and a figure carrying a bundle. The adult reader will be able to work out who it is that must leave its little bundle on a train all alone. It isn’t easy for little Kokong to feel at home in the conductor’s house. Forgetting is hard and when the homesickness becomes too great Kokong runs away and lies down to rest in the station waiting room. And just when it feels about as tragic as it can possibly get, along comes the conductor and fetches Kokong from the waitingroom. Kokong is allowed to borrow the conductor’s cap and thinks that perhaps the conductor’s house is lovely and cosy

after all, decorated prettily for Christmas. The cat and the conductor sit at the table and Kokong lays out ketchup, mustard and herrings. It might be an unorthodox family but Kokong seems to be happy there at last. Pernilla Stalfelt depicts a child’s vulnerability in the world in a more concrete way. In the picture book Alla barns rätt (Every Child’s Right) she illustrates and interprets the United Nation’s Convention on the Rights of the Child. She draws two adults with giant ears, listening to a child who is trying to say something, and a mother saying ‘Dad’s stupid’, holding tightly to her the child who longs for its father

who is crying on the other side of the picture. It is predominantly 09-06-15about 14.59.50 children in Kokong’s situation, who have come from another country but have rights such as keeping their name or believing in whatever they choose (for some, angels, for others Ganesha the elephant-headed god, or democracy, or even Father Christmas!). Stalfelt’s pictures are, as always, in the naive style, and in its format Alla barns rätt resembles her successful series with titles such as Bajsboken (The Poo Book), Hårboken (The Hair Book) and Dödenboken (The Death Book). Anna-Clara Tidholm has through the years illustrated books by several of


Sweden’s most prominent authors of children’s books — Ulf Nilsson, Barbro Lindgren and Siv Widerberg, to name a few — but most of the time works with her husband Thomas Tidholm. He is also active as a poet and his poetic language insinuates itself into En som du inte känner (Someone You Do Not Know), which together with the pictures generates an indefinable tone of sadness. A young boy accompanies a girl


into the forest, down to the sea and on to a house. He is not allowed to go any further. The boy waits outside the house beside a dog that is familiar from the bleak Hanna, huset, hunden (Hanna, the House, the Dog) that Anna-Clara Tidholm produced on her own in 2004. Finally the boy dares to enter the house and meet the girl’s parents. The wine bottles on the draining board and the positioning of the girl make this feel

uncomfortable. The title is a play on the names you go by when meeting someone: first the girl is called Someone You Do Not Know but by the final page her name has changed, first to Someone You Know and later, but only maybe, to Alice. It is at its finest when the romantic style of Thomas Tidholm is combined with humour, such as when they are sitting outside the house eating pizza: ‘Can it be dangerous here? I said

/ Just then a fairly big cat walked past / Ask a rat, she said / Then she laughed. And then I laughed / It was our first laugh /We took it with us as we ran’. The boy and the girl are like paper dolls in the landscape while the other people and the dog and the cat merge in with the background. The reader is placed inside the bubble that is created when two children really connect. In an ideal world Sara Lundberg’s Sommar (Summer) could have been a continuation of En som du inte känner, the boy and the girl playing together in an idyllic landscape. Lundberg illustrated the 2009 August prize-winning Skriv om och om igen (Write Over and Over Again) and she made her debut as an author with Vita streck (White Lines). The book received good reviews in the press and was nominated for Slangbellan, a prize awarded annually

by the Swedish Writer’s Union for the best debut children’s book. Sommar is a board book for the very youngest with inviting pictures of the summer we long for. It is the first book in Sweden with an Eco label, which chimes well with the illustrations of nature, bringing the reader into close contact with snails and wild strawberries. Over six illustrated pages we follow a boy and a girl doing typical summer activities: eating breakfast, going cycling, catching fish and playing on the beach. The Swedish summer landscape is beautifully drawn with sketchy forests and firm brush strokes. Beyond the jetty we glimpse water lilies, and in the meadows cows are grazing. It is a board book with two-word sentences, their combination still managing to convey a story: ‘Swim, perhaps?’ signals with the girl’s pink inflatable ring and armbands that

the water is cold and that perhaps she hasn’t quite learned to swim yet. The boy builds sand castles and when the cat reaches after butterflies the text ‘Catch butterfly’ feels like an expectation rather than a statement. We discover the same quiet countryside in Lena SjĂśberg’s nomination for the August prize, Tänk om (What If), in which the reader follows the narrator through various what-if scenarios. The narrator is synonymous with the person reading out loud in an approach reminiscent of the telling of traditional story tales, describing what it would be like if you (the child) and I (the adult reader-out-loud) were not ourselves but a big seagull and a little tern, or a mosquito and a tiny gnat. SjĂśberg worked as an illustrator for almost ten years before she made her debut as an author in 2005, and her pictures are delightful and


above left: from â&#x20AC;?someone you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t knowâ&#x20AC;? by anna-clara tidholm (text) and thomas tidholm (illustrations). left: from â&#x20AC;?summerâ&#x20AC;? by sara lundberg. above: from â&#x20AC;?what ifâ&#x20AC;? by lena sjĂśberg


full of detail. The colour scale is muted but the pictures contain a good deal of humour, with a flea circus becoming an immediate favourite. Like Lena Sjöberg, Eva Lindström was also nominated for the 2010 August prize – for the seventh time. Jag tycker inte om vatten (I Don’t Like Water) is not her strongest book but with its simplicity and habitually enchanting illustrations it is a clear example of how enduring the picture book is as an art form in Swedish literature. Lindström has the ability to capture something considered trifling from an adult perspective and turn it


into a real live dilemma. In this instance the issue is the difficulty of avoiding water. Alf really does not like water. In the winter it’s fine; everything freezes over and you can go sledging as much as you like. But for the rest of the year, when the sun shines, there is the neverending swimming in paddling pools, the canoe trips and the cold streams where frogs lurk. At Igor’s house the tadpoles are getting bigger but even if the text reads ’We go back to his house every day to see how much they’ve grown’ the illustration shows Alf in an armchair instead, reading comics. He is

not interested in the frogs but eventually realises that it is in fact something to be happy about: ‘I’m so glad I’m not a frog./ Really, really glad. /I don’t have to swim.’ Water is also the theme in Lena Arro and Sara Gimbergsson’s third book about Lycke and Lage. After Ibland är det bra att det är mörkt (Sometimes It’s Good It’s Dark) and Ibland är det bra att vara liten (Somtimes It’s Good to be Little) comes Ibland är det bra att det är vått (Sometimes It’s Good It’s Wet). It’s good, for example, if you happen to be a fish, or a tree that drinks

left side: from ”i don’t like water” by eva lindström. left: from ”sometimes it’s good it’s wet” by lena arror (text) and sara gimbergsson (illustrations). Below: from ”kjelle starts dog nursery” by kajsa gordan (text) and mia maria güettler (illustrations)

all the water. Lycke also thinks it’s good because when she is thirsty all she has to do is open her mouth and the usual old slide in the park turns into a waterslide. Lycke and Lage are two lovable but indeterminate characters. Lage is big with curly eyebrows and a dark brown nose, while Lycke is small with ears that stick up and a nose that looks more like a beak. Their relationship recalls those in other classic children’s stories, the caring father-figure and the impatient little girl, such as Ernest and Celestine

in Gabrielle Vincent’s books. In Ibland är det bra att det är vått both Lycke and Lage want to go out and do ‘everything you can do in the rain’. Then they go home and the reader has been able to accompany them on an adventure that is just long enough. Kajsa Gordan’s story about Kjelle also takes place during a usual/unusual day. Older children will be familiar with Gordan’s latest book, the third story about the gang on Lövarö, Våga & vinn (Take a Chance and Win), but she has also written the picture book Kjelle börjar på hunddagis (Kjelle Starts Dog Nursery) with illustrations by Mia Maria Güettler. Dog Kjelle’s owner has got a job and Kjelle has to start at dog nursery. The night before he is nervous, if not terrified, about what the other dogs will think of him or do to him.

In his dreams they are huge and throw themselves down beside Kjelle in his little bed while owner Bettan carries on sleeping. But it turns out that even though he is not the strongest and his legs are not the longest, his abundant ingenuity gives him a whole heap of new friends, and even the snobbish Chihuahua is impressed. The story is as comforting as a hug for all dog owners who are forced to leave little Spot at dog nursery, and for the child reader it works not least on an allegorical level,


where the scariness of meeting new friends is transformed into something that is fun. The same theme is found in Lisen Adbåge’s new title Stor-Emma (BigEmma). Little Emma has to go with her parents to visit their friends and their daughter, Big-Emma. Big-Emma is at first about as obnoxious as only a child can be but softens when she can show Emma her dance routine. When it is finally time to go home they have become friends and locked themselves in Big-Emma’s room. Big-Emma shouts: ‘LOCKED IN!!’ while little Emma in her red party trousers holds the door shut. The pictures are both stylish and stylised, angular and full of geometric shapes. They are more refined than


those that illustrate the Kurt and Kio series she introduced in 2009 with Kurt och Kio vill ha koja (Kurt and Kio want to Make a Camp), with their 1980s flavour. Her sister Emma Adbåge, on the other hand, favours a 1950s style. Leni är ett sockerhjärta (Lena is a Honeybun) is about a little girl who wants to be grown-up. The well-meaning ladies crowd around her, calling her Honeybun, and feeling understandably claustrophobic she decides she is going to be an adult. Adbåge allows Leni to explore what adults do via simple symbols: eating strong cheese, drinking coffee, wheeling a child in a pushchair. But when Leni begins to realise all the things adults have to do, such as the cleaning and taking out the

rubbish, she changes her mind and goes along with being a honeybun just to be able to carry on playing, for at least a little longer. In its successor Leni blir en bebis (Leni Becomes a Baby)(2011) she becomes instead very, very little. She has forgotten how to get dressed and how to walk — yes, all of a sudden she has become a baby and even if she doesn’t look like one, she feels like one. The story follows the same structure as its predecessor. First there are advantages: crawling is fun and so is drinking from a baby’s feeding bottle. But when a lady sees her lying on her stomach outside the shop and says: ‘Oh, what a big baby!’ Leni doesn’t think it’s fun any more. She runs home and decides to be a horse instead.

above: from ”big-emma” by lisen adbåge. right side: from ”leni is a honeybun” by emma adbåge


Books for Older Children


Dörren är öppen och Hjalmar går försiktigt mot is one of Sweden’s bathing on rocky shorelines and with Italy. When she starts hearing mystemost prolific authorshan of children’s only one café, creates a down-to-earth rious sounds from the ground floor fönstret, men kan bara se fi skeläget och horisonten. books. Since his debut in 1982 he has and well-defined backdrop. The family her thoughts switch to werewolves. It doesn’t help matters that her grandwritten everything from picture books tree is sprawling and dense. Through Alice står vid fönstretHjalmar’s i storstugan. dad jokes about it, saying: ‘Well, at least (together with Eva Eriksson) to hiseyes the reader appreciates they won’t eat the potatoes.’ Engaged torical crime fiction for adults. In Alice just how complicated relationships can – varannan Jag vecka undrar vad det där varmembers. egentligen, säger (Every-Other-Weekbe between new family readers will pick up on the small clues Alice) illustrated by When Hjalmar realises there would in the form of a green spade and an eye is doing what he does best: peeping out from the Venetian blinds. be nothing binding him and Alice hon. Holmberg creating an impressive drama around It turns out that werewolves aren’t together should the parents decide to a situation that might be considered to blame. Instead it is Simon and his go their separate ways, he is terrified. – Så många Hjalmar. father, living in secret in the room at inconsequential from anpoliser, adult perspec- säger Holmberg depicts Hjalmar’s fear in an tive. Hjalmar’s dad has got together with intelligible way without overdoing the the back of the pizzeria, waiting for perAlice’s mum and now he and Alice aretillbaka? pedagogy. Kent och mamma mission to alltså. stay in Sweden. Vita grows – När kommer de living as “bonus siblings” on each side of very fond of Simon, with his brown New brothers and sisters are the a makeshift wall. But Hjalmar does not curly hair, and is distraught when she subject of – Efter tre fyra öl, säger Hjalmar. finds out one day that he has suddenly want to be a brother to Alice. He wants Vitas hemlighet (Vita’s Secret), illusthem to get married. But most of all trated by Vita disappeared. Lundberg Hahn describes – Kanske säger Alice. he doesn’t want herfem, to fall in love with lives with her mother above a pizzeria accurately the feeling of never wanting Jimmy, her bonus brother in her dad’s in Sweden but dreams about her baby to be happy again in order to make the new family. The conventional Swedish adults understand how much it really brother about to be born to Vita’s – Men det är väl inte happy hour, säger Hjalmar. holiday in an overcrowded cabin, sundoes hurt. Not even Granddad can father and his new wife, who live in – Såg du hur man stavat det där nere? – Vid puben? Bo R. Holmberg

Li Söderberg,

Kerstin Lundberg Hahn’s

Maria Nilsson-Thore.

from ”every-other-week-alice” by bo r. holmberg, illustrated by Li söderberg. left side: from the cover of ”vita’s secret” by kerstin lundberg hahn, illustrated by maria nilsson-thore



cheer Vita up. Eventually she receives a postcard with good news from Simon and his father, and immediately afterwards a photo of a squashed-looking baby, emailed from Italy. Even though Vitas hemlighet alludes to the subject of undetected refugees in Sweden, it is handled with a light touch. From Vita’s perspective, werewolves and little brothers are just as important and real. The child’s unquestionable reasoning is liberating: if there is war in Simon’s homeland and Granddad has room on his sofa, then surely no-one will want to send him back? Viveka Sjögrens Joy till världen (Joy to the World) is also, in part, about coming to Sweden from another country. Joy and her mother move to Sweden from Thailand to live with Gregor. When the story starts Joy’s mother has died and Joy has been given a notebook where she writes down all her thoughts about life and the people around her. She writes: ‘Good things about Gregor: That he is like a dad to me. That he is kind, mostly […]. Bad things about Gregor: That he drinks a bit too much. That he says he’s going to stop, but he doesn’t.’ Life is not easy for the little girl who doesn’t have time to grieve the loss of her mother because of her anxiety about Gregor and his drinking. Luckily her best friend Mira and Mira’s mum eventually ensure Gregor gets the help he needs. The story has parallel themes to Solveig Olsson-Hultgren’s Bara


vara Jennie (Just Want to be Jennie), although the alcohol abuse in this book is a more central theme. Jennie may be younger than Joy but she seems older, probably because she has lived alone with her alcoholic mother, trying hard to protect her little brother Jonatan, so that at nine years old she is already almost an adult. She knows the routine: her mother writes poems, sends them off in thick envelopes and is happy for a while – making pancakes, buying new clothes for Jennie – before the rejection slip from the publisher arrives and everything falls apart again. It is heartbreaking to read about the hope Jennie still keeps alive – hope that the last time really is going to be the last time, a hope that in similar books for older children is often severely repressed. For the time being Jennie has not stopped trusting the people around her, but we understand she is heading in that direction, not least when Jonatan’s father Micke leaves her alone with her drunk mother at Christmas because his new girlfriend does not want to be bothered with her. However, just as with Mira’s mother in Joy till världen, there are other adults who pick up on Jennie’s chaotic life. Here again, it is the mother of a best friend, Monika, who involves herself. When Jennie is teased by some of her class mates, her teacher Eva says wisely: “I want you to know that whatever burden you’re having to carry, it’s far too heavy for a nine year-

old.” After a dramatic climax, in which Jennies mother comes to school drunk, Monika’s mother and Eva lend a hand and, exactly as in Joy till världen, the reader finishes the book with a sense of hopefulness. Fine cartoon strips featuring “Toy and Mr Melin” are scattered throughout the text, describing things that are too difficult to articulate, and even if her mother does not come back, Joy’s story about a Thai princess perhaps makes the sorrow easier to bear. Nils Berg in Anna Ehring’s Augustnominated Syltmackor och Oturslivet (Jam Sandwiches and Bad Luck Times) is also writing in his note book. Lyrics, he says, but perhaps they are more like poems. His mother, too, has recently died and when the book starts his father is not only a single dad but also out of work, and eleven year-old Nils is unhappy. Nothing is as it should be. Nils finds himself in bad luck times. Things become slightly better when it turns out that lizard Harry, given to him by his mum because he was allergic to puppies, happens to be a dragon, and a talking one, no less. Life for Harry is full of pleasures such as jam sandwiches, and he helps Nils (nickname Nisse) to stop thinking so many negative thoughts. Ehring draws a fine portrait of a child who is not as happy as a child ought to be – sometimes all he wants to do is lie in bed, and he definitely does not want to celebrate Christmas. All the while his dad’s bad luck life continues, with

fractured feet and a night in the cells after shoplifting in the supermarket. But Syltmackor and oturslivet is not a gloomy book; the conversations with Harry are hilarious, afterthought Nodi is crazy and runs wild, and portly paternal Grandma offers security, both for little brother Nodi and the reader. Rehearsals with the band Dragonheart, which lends its name to the planned series, indicate that the story of Nisse and his dragon could continue in subsequent books. Just like the situation with Nisse’s dad, money is something of a problem for Abbe’s mum in Annalena Hedman’s Min första världssensation (My First World Sensation). Although not at this precise moment, because she has in fact won loads of money and taken Abbe on a luxury cruise. Abbe doesn’t find it especially luxurious, however. The annoying Günther keeps buying her mum green drinks, so Abbe decides instead to record the saga of her first world sensation on her mum’s phone. That was the time Abbe and her friends Antón and Nadja tried to get into the Guinness Book of Records. After an unsuccessful attempt to cram Antón’s mouth full of drinking straws and Abbe’s mum’s nose full of matches, they organise an attempt to eat the most snowball cakes in one minute at their local restaurant. That is easier said than done but just as they are on the point of giving up, discouraged by nasty bullies

and failed attempts, they come up with an idea for a triple event. They will build the world’s biggest pile of logs, collect money for a village in Tanzania, and make sure old Krut-Kalle with his injured back gets enough logs for the winter – all at the same time. It will be a sensation on several fronts. Meanwhile, aboard the cruise ship, Abbe’s mum tires of Günther and starts phoning Abbe’s ex-step dad Roger in secret, so it’s easy to guess that their relationship will be patched together when the next book, Den skräckslagne stekelsamlaren (The Petrified Sawfly Collector) is published in spring 2011. It describes how Abbe tries to cure herself of her insect phobia by helping Sven find the double-jawed sawfly. The reader can at least take comfort from Hedman’s book that not every child’s life is full of misery. With Att

vara Flisan (Being Flisan), Beata Lyth and Amanda Eriksson have also written a cheerful and refreshing book, despite its theme of the difficulties of being different. Right from the introduction the book explains that it is possible to be different in various ways, but it is probably worst for Flisan, who is as tall as a flag pole. The illustrated text is easy to read and even those sections that describe the things Flisan is unable to do, such as sit on someone’s lap, are related with warmth and humour. There are a few things she is good at, however, such as basket ball, and at the end it seems it is perhaps only Flisan herself who thinks she is odd. The new girl in the class, Molly, appears not to have given a thought to Flisan’s height when she asks if they can play together. There is humour also in Barbro Lindgren’s latest book, Dagbok från

from ”being flisan” by beata lyth, illustrated by amanda eriksson


hönshuset (Journal from the Chicken Coop), illustrated by Kristina Digman. There are no large animals left in the farmyard, only bats and rats. In the farmhouse live Jaget, puppy Mimmi and a few cats. And in the henhouse the turnover is high: the cockerel Mahatma is taken by the fox and so is a whole flock of chickens, careless enough not to go inside when darkness falls. Jaget, presumably an older woman, tries to expand this group of poultry as best she can, and travels to various farms to find husbands for the hens and a wife for the duck, Gösta Bernhard. His first wife Julia Ceasar was taken by the fox and he was so afraid of the second, Sickan Carlson, that he hardly dared enter the henhouse. Giving the animals names of Swedish actors is not particularly amusing, perhaps, but it might give the person reading aloud something to giggle about, as will the reasoning behind the names of the peacock children. If they are girls they will be called Dina and Dorinda, and everyone who has grown up with Eric Linklater’s The Wind on the Moon will sigh with nostalgia. Digman’s

illustrations are absolutely lovely and complement the text with their portrayal of the various animals. Dagbok från hönshuset has no obvious seminal moment or denouement. Life is a circle: ‘Things come and things go, I thought. Such is life.’ Lindgren is as crass and unsentimental as ever when she writes about death and change. She mentions the London terrorist attack, hurricane Katrina and the 2004 tsunami, but returns to the small, everyday things. The animals on Lindgren and Digman’s farm just might engage the curiosity of the child reader – after all, Selma Lagerlöf ’s goose Akka has lived on in many people’s hearts since her two books about the Wonderful Adventures of Nils were published in 1906 and 1907. A book with the more pronounced intention of arousing children’s curiosity is astronaut Christer Fuglesang’s debut as a children’s author, Rymdresan (The Space Journey), illustrated by Alvaro Tapia. The sub-title, Markus and Marianas äventyr med farbror Albert (Markus and Marianna’s adventure with Uncle Albert) hints that it could be one


top: from ”journal from the chicken coop” by barbro lindgren, illustrated by kristina digman. right side: from ”the space journey” by christer fuglesang, illustrated by alvaro tapia

of a series of books combining an exciting storyline with facts about space and science. Markus and Mariana are back from their holiday and run over to see Uncle Albert, who is in full swing with his new invention, a space rocket. Albert assures them he can take them with him to Mars and back in time for dinner. Fuglesang is skilful at slipping in facts about the speed of light, laws of gravity, eras and atoms without resorting to an exaggeratedly didactic approach. His enthusiasm for science shines through and infects the reader via the somewhat exaggerated alter ego Uncle Albert (after Einstein, naturally). The trip taken by the children and Uncle Albert is a journey through space with some very amusing episodes, such as the one in which Mariana tries to drink water while weightless, as well as some scary ones, such as shaking and juddering through a black hole. At the beginning they land in the wrong era and have a little adventure rescuing Max the mouse from the claws of a pterosaur, but finally they land back home again, a little grubbier than before but just in time for dinner.


from the cover of iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m lying here bleeding by jenny jägerfeld. right side: from the cover of excuse me for wanting to be loved a little by johanna thydell 22

Books for Young Readers one of the current trends in Swedish novels for young adults is the use of double perspective. This was evident last year in the collaboration between authors Per Nilsson and Katarina Kieri, in which two of their characters meet in one and the same book, I det här trädet (In This Tree). In 2010 this literary device became even more revalent, perhaps mainly through Lisa Bjärbo’s Det är så logiskt alla fattar utom du (Everybody gets it but you). A girl is pictured on the front cover, a boy on the back. Each character has their own blurb on their respective inside covers, and the alternating sections are headed Johan and Ester. When the story starts Johan has been in love with Ester for four years but they have been best friends all their lives, which is why he doesn’t dare tell her about this latest development. From Ester’s perspective we realise she is totally unaware of the change in Johan’s feelings towards her. She is preoccupied by Adam instead. He has long hair and plays in a band, and Ester is convinced they are made for each other. It all goes well to start with – at least, that’s what Ester thinks. But the reader understands that Adam probably doesn’t share her feelings. He does snog her when he is drunk and tell her she’s ‘like, bloody nice’ but in school he hardly acknowledges her, and after she loses her virginity to him on a grubby mattress in the rehearsal rooms he can’t leave quickly enough. The turning-point in the book comes when Johan takes Ester home after she has seen Adam snogging another girl at a school party. When Johan thinks she has fallen asleep he finally tells her how he really feels, that he is in love with her and has been for years. Ester hears Johan’s confession and after that things are never quite the same. That is, until Johan starts hanging out with the new girl in the class. Only then does Ester realise that she probably loves him too. She orchestrates a treasure hunt around the small town of Växjö, where they live, culminating in a declaration of

love on a cassette tape hidden under the town’s water tower. Tension runs high on New Year’s Eve when Johan is given until midnight to give Ester a yes or a no, during which time Bjärbo keeps the reader in real suspense before the content of Johan’s text is finally revealed. The title of the book is taken from the song Någon gång måste du bli själv by the band Säkert!, and another line in the lyrics says Jag har sett dina pupiller växa när du är med mig (I’ve seen your pupils widen when you’re with me). There is a sense that the protagonist Nora in Johanna Thydell’s Ursäkta att man vill bli lite älskad (Excuse me For Wanting To Be Loved a Little) means exactly that: ‘When I open the chiller by the counter I try to decide whether Stoffe’s pupils get bigger when he looks at me, because I’ve heard that’s what happens when you see someone you fancy.’ Stoffe work’s at Siv’s Local Stores and is a childhood friend of Nora’s big brother, and later in the book Nora’s first real boyfriend. In the book’s short episodes the present is interspersed

with flashbacks. The scenes from her more or less carefree childhood conjure up clearly the difference between being thirteen and being seventeen, and how you can have known someone “forever” or that everything was “easier then”, even though you haven’t even finished secondary school. Nora, Jossan and Lisa go around as a threesome. Or rather, they try to prove to everyone who thinks three girls can’t hang out together that they certainly can. In all honesty it isn’t that easy. Early on in the book the unthinkable happens when Lisa’s boyfriend Jack suddenly gets the idea that he is in love with Nora, and it absolutely must not look as if she has encouraged him. Lisa’s anger is implacable; there is not a chance she can forgive what she sees as Nora’s betrayal. She could be another Louise in Jessica Schiefauer’s novel for young adults Om du var jag (If You Were Me) from 2009 – boy-mad to the point of promiscuity and with a great love for her best girlfriend, but with an ego causing her to be totally insensitive and lacking in self-awareness. It is a relief that Thydell does not let the Lisa trail go cold, and that despite everything that happens with Nora and all the guys – stupid Viktor, Stoffe, and lovely Sylvester, who Nora does not have the sense to appreciate – the sadness of losing a best friend is greater. Thydell’s sympathies lie with Nora, relating events from her point of view, and at times we long for some understanding of Lisa’s behaviour. How come she is prepared to sacrifice a friendship for something as insignificant as a drunken flirtation? From Thydell’s description we realise that at least there is no disturbed childhood lurking in the background – at least, not one as disturbed as that of the popular Mira in Ulrika Lidbo’s Farsta fritt fall (Farsta Freefall). In the follow-up to Decembergatans hungriga andar (The Hungry Spirits of December Street) which last year won the Slangbellan prize for best debut book, the double perspective device is as prominent as in


Lisa Bjärbo’s novel, but instead of being a love story this novel deals with the life of two girls on completely different levels of the sixth form social hierarchy. On the surface Mira is the tough girl who has everything you could want in the enclosed world of the sixth form, but in fact spends most of her time looking after her drug-addicted, alcoholic mother. Henrika has just moved from Skåne in southern Sweden to the Stockholm suburb of Farsta, and Mira is confrontational as soon as she sees her: ‘Organic … free-range … natural fibre-wearing … thick yokel.’ Strangely enough Henrika is not immediately afraid at the prospect of this new life. Although she was hardly the popular kind back in Lund, and although she speaks with a Skånska dialect and does not know anyone in her new class, she thinks a friend will turn up soon enough. Instead it is Mira who turns up, and the reader quickly realises that she is tired of her existence as leader of Farsta’s rowdy gang. Lidbo portrays Henrika’s and Mira’s parallel worlds cinematically as they meet the same dog-walkers, watch the same scenes unfold in the square, and pass each other on stairways, but never properly meet. Lidbo draws a clear portrait of how someone like Mira hangs about town, takes drugs and harasses pensioners, all the time wishing she had a home to go to that smelled of baking instead of vomit. It is a frank depiction that does not shy away from the sordid side of teenage life. At the same time as some class mates are writing a blog about their life in the swanky bars of upperclass Stureplan in central Stockholm, others are swallowing pills and associating with criminals. Henrika is the view from the outside; the comparison with the university city of Lund is tangible, and despite a home environment that is secure and loving compared to Mira’s, the memory of her father’s heart attack lies like a dark veil over everything Henrika sees. Sofia Nordin, August prize nomi-


nee for the second year running, has written a love story about Stella and Sigrid Det händer nu (It happens now). Stella is the narrator and Sigrid is the revered object. However, like Stella, the reader doubts that Sigrid’s feelings for Stella, feelings which are also more than friendship, really are such a good thing. The double perspective is introduced when Stella begins exchanging emails with Agnes, who is 85 and who explains to her what it was like growing up homosexual in her day. Her account of a love affair which was repressed until it was too late finally gives Stella the courage to take a chance with Sigrid. Before this Stella has confused the issue by leading on Sigrid’s brother who is hopelessly in love with her – a sad but nonetheless lucid picture of how easy it is to be seductive when your heart belongs to another. The email exchange with Agnes is at times didactic and the book’s tone is almost inviting, which might be helpful for young people afraid to bring their sexual orientation into the open. At the same time Nordin is careful not to describe the situation as being problem-free. Sigrid’s mother is far from impressed when she realises their relationship has progressed from friendship to love. In their choice of language Nordin and Thydell have taken a step closer to each other; the dialogue is exaggerated in typical teenage-girl style with dramatic expressions such as: ‘I want to die!’ followed by a self awareness: ‘Not, like, really’. Allowing an older generation to talk about their experiences is the theme of Barbara Voors’ Emmy Moréns dubbla liv (The Double Life of Emmy Morén). Confusion arises when 15 year-old Emmy Morén looks up her own name on the internet and finds a namesake. 29 year-old Emmy Morén is an actor and the book takes the form of an exchange of letters between them that increasingly suggests they are one and the same person. The older version of Emmy tries to tell the younger one that she should be kind to her mother and that the first

broken heart is the worst. They try to plan a meeting at a café in Stockholm but their paths never cross as it appears they are living in two different eras. Barbara Voors has written for adults since her debut Älskade du (Dearly beloved)(1990), which with its poetic naivety is in many ways reminiscent of a novel for young adults. Jenny Jägerfeld also made her debut with a book for adults that was also a borderline teenage novel, Hål i huvudet (Hole in the Head)(2006), about 23 year-old Minou. In 2010 she won the August prize for best children’s book with Här ligger jag och blöder (I’m Lying Here, Bleeding). Jägerfelds text moves at a cracking pace right from the first scene in which the protagonist Maja Müller saws off her own thumb. She is in the sixth form at school, battling the usual bullies, and has a single dad with a taste for women and beer. Every other weekend Maja travels to her mum Jana in Norrköping, but this weekend everything is different. When Maja arrives at the station there is no mum there to meet her. The flat is empty, the calendar and mobile left on the table. Not wanting to go all the way back to her dad and interrupt his free weekend of internet dates and parties, Maja stays where she is, ending up by chance at a neighbour’s party, meeting Justin, the person she eventually confides in. Jägerfeld blends the hunt for her mother with episodes from Maja’s completely normal chaotic everyday life. The references to popular culture, from music to Facebook, form an attractive and authentic backdrop, while the philosophical element and real moments of tension drive the story forward. Maja-Maria Henriksson’s Augustnominated debut book, Jag finns (I Exist) is graphic and harrowing. Because the story is told in the first person it is difficult for the reader not to take protagonist Johanna’s abuse seriously. On a concrete level it is tormentor Andreas Vedin who is Johanna’s worst enemy. He rapes, beats and degrades

her in school, and her mother treats her almost as badly at home. The hardest thing to ignore, however, is the collective guilt of the adults. When Johanna sees a psychiatrist she is told: ‘The reason Andreas approaches you in such a brutal way is because he wants to get close to you.’ Yet again the responsibility is Johanna’s. Henriksson pulls the reader in painfully close, so close that it actually seems logical for Johanna to consider killing herself. She does eventually decide to live but there is never any real sense of relief. Her strength has to come from within because there is no other help to be had, and you cannot stop yourself from wondering what happens to all those children who do not find that strength. Henriksson’s own remarks, together with the book’s high level of realism, suggest a biographical element, but nonetheless this is a book that clearly shows how a character can be brought to life. It is also a wake-up call for an unseeing adult world. The technical revolution is becoming ever more prevalent in literature for young adults. Email exchanges are the driving theme of the Sofia Nordin and Barbara Voors books mentioned earlier, but chat rooms, Facebook, texts and other digital communication feature in practically every depiction of contemporary everyday life. In Ingrid Olsson’s Komma över (Coming Over), the fact that protagonist Jeppe checks his ex’s Facebook page and is met by the four crushing words: ‘I’m in a relationship’ contributes to our conception of his loneliness. He is still in love with Emma and cannot understand what went wrong. He rents a shabby, dirty bedsit and from there tries to sort out his life. First he isolates himself and then he tries to numb himself with parties and girls, enthusiastically egged on by his best mate Juggo. Finally he reaches a point where he realises he has to get a grip on his life. He gets a job as a dogwalker and meets Elin, who works in home care. Olsson fast tracks through Jeppe’s various phases of the apathetic

life of the recently dumped, in which the heart feels everything and nothing. A rat lives in Jeppe’s flat and their battle over the remnants of food is both upsetting and humorous. Jeppe is 18, it is summer and everywhere there are parties and girls, but Olsson is particular about easily-overlooked details, such as having to earn a living. How much fun is living independently when all you have to eat is pasta and ketchup? As well as writing books for young adults, Ingrid Olsson also writes for the category older children. In 2010 she published Långt ifrån kär (Not the Slightest Bit in Love), the follow-on from Långt ifrån cool (Not the Slightest Bit Cool) (2009). Here protagonist Linnea has grown older and after the Christmas holidays a new boy, Vilmer, starts in her class. Among the books for young adults written by male authors, with the exception of Gunnar Ardelius’ Bara kärlek kan krossa ditt hjärta (Only Love Can Break Your Heart) there is a lack of realistic love stories. Publishers Författarhuset have brought out Halvvägs hämnd (Halfway Revenge) by MatsArne Larsson, which is certainly no love story but does depict present day relationships. Amanda and Kristoffer are cousins and when they find out that Jon, who was involved in the car accident that killed Amanda’s parents, is going to be cleared of the charge, they decide to get their revenge. Larsson latches onto the double perspective trend, allowing the reader to follow both Jon and Kristoffer and Amanda on their respective journeys. Jon has made up his mind to seek out Amanda and ask for forgiveness, and it so happens that they find themselves in the same dingy motel at the same time. The language is abrupt and mainly in the form of dialogue; it is a pacy, vibrant tale of the amount of aggression young people can harbour, not least Kristoffer, who seems to be fighting against everything when he hits out at Jon. Set far away from Swedish social realism is Den dödes dotter (The Dead

photo: from the cover of ”halfway revenge” by mats-arne larsson

Man’s Daughter) by Janne Lundström. One day Abena’s little brother Akkor is swept away down river as he lies sleeping in a canoe. Abena, full of grief after the death of her father, decides to rescue him, and follows the river much further than she has ever been before. The African landscape is viewed by eyes that have never witnessed anything outside their own village, and stories told about the outside have only been heard through a child’s ears. In her search Abena comes across the white man who is constructing a railway, she is hunted by gold prospectors and crocodiles, and finally meets Kwabena, her rescuer and first love. The story follows Abena’s adventures in a classic home-away-home pattern, and there is a vocabulary at the back of the book to explain the foreign language terms and words. Lundström’s Abena has visions, often scenarios of various catastrophes Akkor may be experiencing, but also reminders of her father, Kwamin. The creepy Zogobal alternates between being caring and frightening; the reader never really knows where to place him. He is definitely terrifying with his scarred cheeks, and he wants to marry Abena although she is still a child, but he does save her life and she has some kind of confidence in him. Lundström has written about Africa and the white man before, in books such as the August prize- nominated Morbror Kwesis vålnad (The Ghost of Uncle Kwesis), (2000).


Authors and illustrators


Emma Adbåge Emma Adbåge is an illustrator and a writer. Together with her twin sister, Lisen, she owns the company Hjördis de Mördis.

Lisen Adbåge Lisen Adbåge has worked as an illustrator and a cartoonist since the age of eighteen. In 2009 she made her debut as a writer with “Kurt and Kio”.

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren/Alfabeta Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency/Alfabeta

Publisher: Natur & Kultur/Alfabeta/Rabén & Sjögren /Bonnier Carlsen Agent: Natur & Kultur/Alfabeta/Rabén & Sjögren Agency /Bonnier Group Agency

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Malin Axelsson Malin Axelsson is a playwright. “Mitt liv som detektiv” is her debut as a writer.

Photo: Gustav Edman

Photo: Bladslottet

Photo: Opal

Lena Arro Lena Arro used to work as a biologist but is nowadays a fulltime writer. She has written several books for children and young adults.

Photo: Gustav Gustafsson

Photo: Richard Gustafsson

Photo: Sara Mac Key

Gunnar Ardelius Gunnar Ardelius is a writer and a translator. He made his debut in 2006 with “I Need you More than I Love You, and I Love You to Bits” which has been translated into several languages.

Lisa Bjärbo Lisa Bjärbo is a writer, journalist and editor. “Det är så logiskt alla fattar utom du” is her debut.

Publisher/Agent: Bladstaden Publisher/Agent: Opal

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency


Magdalena Cavallin Magdalena Cavallin is an illustrator. She has a degree in fine-arts from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm. “Mitt liv som detektiv” is her second book.

Publisher: Kabusa/Rabén & Sjögren

Photo: Jari Välitalo

Photo: Bladslottet

Photo: Kabusa

Sassa Buregren Sassa Buregren is an artist, illustrator and writer.

Kristina Digman Kristina Digman is an illustrator and writer. She has a degree from the Art Academy in Copenhagen. She made her debut as an illustrator of children’s books in 2001. Before that she used to work with graphic design and restoration.

Publisher/Agent: Bladstaden

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Amanda Eriksson Amanda Eriksson is an illustrator and a writer. She illustrates her own books as well as books of other authors.

Photo: Nadja Hallström

Publisher: Bonnier Carlsen Agent: Bonnier Group Agency

Photo: Malcolm Jacobsson

Photo: Stefan Tell

Anna Ehring Anna Ehring is a teacher and a writer. “Syltmackor och oturslivet” is her debut.

Christer Fuglesang Christer Fuglesang is an astronaut with the European Space Agency, and an associate professor in Particle physics. “Rymdresan” is his debut as a writer.

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta Publisher: Fri tanke förlag


Kajsa Gordan Kajsa Gordan is a writer. She has previously worked as a school teacher and a reporter for the Swedish National Radio.

Publisher/Agent: Opal

Publisher: Berghs

Photo: Berghs

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Opal

Sara Gimbergsson Sara Gimbergsson is an illustrator and a writer. She illustrates books for other authors as well as her own books.

Mia Maria Güettler Mia Maria Güettler has a degree from Beckmans College of Design in Stockholm. She has worked as a freelance illustrator for the past five years. Publisher: Berghs

Maja Maria Henriksson Maja Maria Henriksson is a photographer and an artist. She made her literary debut with “Jag finns” which was nominated to the August Prize in 2010. Publisher/Agent: Natur & Kultur

Photo: Markus Sandin

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Photo: Mia Carlsson

Photo: Anders Holmström

Annalena Hedman Annalena Hedman is writer and a librarian, she has also worked as a translator.

Bo R Holmberg Since his debut in 1982, Bo R Holmberg has written more than twenty books for children and young adults. Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency


Mats Arne Larsson Mats Arne Larsson is a writer, play wright and director. He has written several books for both children and adults.


Eva Lindström Eva Lindström is an illustrator and a writer. Together with Barbro Lindgren she has, among many other things, made the books about Max and the Wild baby, which has become modern Swedish classics. Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta

Photo: Anna Kennhed

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta

Photo: Ulla Montan

Photo: Raili Korkkonen

Barbro Lindgren Barbro Lindgren is one of Sweden’s bestknown authors. She made her debut in1965 and has since written several books, some of which have already been considered classics.

Ulrika Lidbo Ulrika Lidbo is a writer and a journalist. She made her debut in 2009 with “Decembergatans hungriga andar” which was awarded The Slangbellan debutant prize.

Publisher: Författarhuset

Publisher/Agent: Gilla böcker

Photo: Peter Lingden

Photo: Författarhuset

Photo: Robert Nordgren

Jenny Jägerfeldt Jenny Jägerfeldt is a psychologist and a writer. She made her debut in 2006 with “Hål I huvudet”. In 2010 she was awarded the August Prize for “Här ligger jag och blöder”.

Sara Lundberg Sara Lundberg has worked as an illustrator of children’s books for ten years. She made her literary debut in 2009 with “Vita streck”. Publisher: Alfabeta/Alvina förlag Agent: Alfabeta/Alvina förlag

Photo: Alfabeta

Photo: Tariq Dajami

Photo: Ingemar Hahn

Kerstin Lundberg Hahn Kerstin Lundberg Hahn made her debut in 1999 and has since written several books for children.

Janne Lundström Janne Lundström has written more than thirty books for children and young adults.

Beata Lyth “Att vara flisan” is Beata Lyth’s literary debut. She has previously worked in film and theatre.

Publisher/Agent: Natur & Kultur

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Photo: Viktor Gårdsäter

Photo: Caroline Andersson

Photo: Kabusa

Maude Mangolds Maude Mangolds is a full-time writer. She has written several books for children and young adults.

Maria Nilsson Thore Maria Nilsson Thore is an illustrator. She has a degree from the University College of Arts, Crafts and Design in Stockholm

Sofia Nordin Sofia Nordin is a full-time writer of books for young adults. She has twice been nominated to the August Prize.

Publisher/Agent: Kabusa

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency


Photo : Johnny Franzén

Photo: Opal

Photo: Leif Hansen

Ingrid Olsson Ingrid Olsson made her debut when she was twenty six and has since written several books for children and young adults.

Solveig Olsson-Hultgren Solveig Olsson-Hultgren made her literary debut in 2002 and has since written several books for children.

Lena Sjöberg Lena Sjöberg made her literary debut in 2005. “Tänk om…” was nominated to the August Prize in 2010.

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Publisher/Agent: Opal

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Photo: Leif Hansen

Photo : Christian Saltas

Photo: Libris

Viveka Sjögren Viveka Sjögren was awarded first prize in a manuscript contest by publisher Libris for “Joy till världen”.

Pernilla Stalfelt Pernilla Stalfelt is an author, illustrator and an Art Educator at the Museum of Modern Arts in Stockholm.

Ulf Stark Ulf Stark is one of Sweden’s best-known authors. He has been translated into more than twenty five languages.

Publisher/Agent: Libris

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Publisher: Bonnier Carlsen, Rabén & Sjögren, Söderströms Agent: Bonnier Group Agency, Rabén & Sjögren Agency


Johanna Thydell Johanna Thydell made her debut at the age of twenty three with the award-winning novel “I taket lyser stjärnorna” which has been translated into several languages.

Anna-Clara Tidholm Anna-Clara Tidholm is an illustrator and a writer. She made her debut in 1970 and has been awarded several awards during the years.

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta

Photo: Sandra Qvist

Photo: Alfabeta

Thomas Tidholm Thomas Tidholm is a poet and a writer. He has written several books together with his wife Anna-Clara.

Photo: Alfabeta

Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency

Photo: Peder Lingden

Photo: Cato Lein

Alvaro Tapia Alvaro Tapia is an illustrator. He made the illustrations for the Swedish translations of the Harry Potter series.

Barbara Voors Barbara Voors was born in 1967 and raised in Iran, where she lived until her family had to flee the revolution in -79. She has written several novels for children and for adults.

Publisher/Agent: Alfabeta Publisher: Rabén & Sjögren Agent: Rabén & Sjögren Agency


Good literature gives the child a place in the world and the world a place in the child. astrid lindgren is Sweden’s most popular author. Her works have been translated into more than 90 languages. She renewed children’s literature and combined artistic integrity with commitment to the rights of children and young people. When she passed away in 2002, the Swedish Government founded The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in her honour. Astrid Lindgren’s books are permeated with deep humanistic values. The prize rewards work in her spirit and aims to improve and strengthen interest in children’s literature all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial


Award is presented annually. It is worth a total of SEK 5 million, making it the world’s largest international award for children’s and young adult literature. Authors receive the award for their entire oeuvre, not for individual works. However, you do not need to have written a word to be considered. Illustrators and storytellers can also win. The award may also be presented to persons or organisations working to stimulate reading by children and young people. Only living persons may receive the award. An expert jury decides the winners. The 12 jury members include authors, literary critics and experts, illustrators and librarians. One member represents Astrid Lindgren’s family. The jury chooses institutions and organisations from all over the world, who may then

nominate candidates, based on their knowledge of children’s literature in the respective countries or linguistic areas. Invitations to nominate candidates are sent out in January each year. The nominations must have been received by the office by May 15. It is not possible to apply for the award. The jury announces the winner in connection with its final meeting in March. The award is presented in Stockholm at the end of May, when Sweden is at its most beautiful. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council.

© The Swedish Arts Council 2011 Text: Alice Kassius Eggers Editors: Zoi Santikos and Helen Sigeland Graphic design: Mats Hedman Translations: Susan Beard Printed by Edita, Sweden The Swedish Arts Council The Swedish Arts Council is a government authority with the principal task to implement national cultural policy determined by the Parliament. The Council is responsible for: • The allocation of state cultural funding to theatre, dance, music, literature, arts periodicals and public libraries, and to the fine arts, museums and exhibitions. • Providing the Swedish government with the basic data it needs to make cultural policy decisions, by evaluating state spending in the cultural sphere, etc. • Providing information about culture and cultural policy. Visions and Guiding Principles: • To promote art and culture with the aim of ensuring everyone’s right to a broad spectrum of high-quality arts and culture • To be a dynamic authority in the development of Swedish cultural policies • To be noted for high degree of competence, respect of legal rights and excellent civic services • To be efficient and flexible in order to enable its operations to be quickly and easy adopted to changing conditions in the outside world. The Swedish Arts Council supports, develops and initiates co-operations between the state, the regions, municipalities and representatives for cultural life in Sweden, e.g. libraries, museums and performing arts centres. The aim is to safeguard and develop Swedish national cultural policy, and to promote cultural diversity and an even geographical spread in cultural provision. The Swedish Authors’ Fund The Swedish Authors’ Fund distributes grants covering travel costs for translators of Swedish literature and sample translations. More information on, contact The Swedish Arts Council PO Box 27215, SE-102 53 Stockholm Phone +46-8-519 264 00 Fax +46-8-519 264 99


Alfabeta bokförlag Box 4284 SE-102 66 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 714 36 30 FAX: +46 8 643 24 31

Bonnier Group Agency Box 3159 SE-103 63 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 696 89 10 FAX: + 46 8 696 89 11

Natur & Kultur Box 27323 SE-102 54 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 453 86 00 FAX: +46 8 453 87 90

Rabén & Sjögren Agency Box 2052 SE-103 12 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 769 88 00 FAX: +46 8 769 88 04

Alvina förlag & produktion ab Björnsonsgatan 25 SE-168 43 Bromma TEL: +46- 70 22 81 903

Fri tanke förlag Box 3020 SE-181 03 Lidingö TEL +46 8 411 14 60

NOFF c/o Fredrikssons förlag Lövbacken 19 187 33 Täby

The Swedish Institute for children’s books library and information centre Odengatan 61 SE-113 22 Stockholm TEL: + 46 8 54 54 20 50 FAX: +46 8 54 54 20 54

Berghs förlag ab Box 45084 SE-104 30 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 31 65 59 FAX: 46 8 32 77 45 Bladstaden Tisenhults säteri Södra flygeln SE-610 14 Rejmyre Bonnier Carlsen Box 3159 SE-103 63 Stockholm TEL: + 46 8 696 89 30 FAX: + 46 8 696 89 31


Författarhuset Bildhuggarvägen 14 SE-724 71 Västerås TEL: + 46 21 35 45 98 FAX: +46 21 35 45 55 Gilla Böcker Lövholmsgränd 12 SE-117 43 Stockholm Kabusa böcker Heurlins plats 1 SE-413 01 Göteborg TEL: +46 31 85 95 80 Fax: +46 31 12 84 45 Libris Box 30104 104 25 Stockholm SE-104 25 Stockholm

Opal Box 20113 SE-161 02 Bromma TEL: +46 8 28 21 79 FAX: +46 8 29 66 23 Rabén & Sjögren Box 2052 SE-103 12 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 769 88 00 FAX: +46 8 769 88 04

The Swedish Publishers’ Association Drottninggatan 97 SE-113 60 Stockholm TEL: +46 8 736 1940 FAX: +46 8 736 19 44 Göteborg Book Fair SE-412 94 Göteborg TEL: +46 31 708 84 00 FAX: +46 31 20 91 03

New Swedish Books for Young Readers 2011  

Promo for Swedish literature for young readers, published by the Swedish Arts Council

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