White Ravens: Swedish

112 books      

Sweden (Swedish) - 1993 - 159
Anrell, Lasse (text)
Lepp, Mati (illus.)
Spinkis och Blixten
(<Proper names>)
Stockholm: Bonniers Junior, 1992. 32 p.
ISBN 91-48-52031-4
soccer - acceptance
An entertaining, funny book about a dream come true: being accepted by a soccer team in spite of being the smallest child. The different characters in this story are portrayed in a very warm- hearted and human manner both in the text as well as in the pictures, and young readers will find it easy to share their expectations, joy and disappointments. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 190
Eggens, Magda
Lagercrantz, Rose
... vad mina ogon har sett
(... What My Eyes Have Seen)
Stockholm: Raben & Sjogren, 1992. 77 p.
ISBN 91-29-62067-8
National Socialism - Jew/Persecution - Hungary m'Klory <1944-1945>
Rose Langercrantz has written the memoirs of a Hungarian Jewish girl as a first-person report. The internment of the family, the murder of the mother and little sister, the trembling with desire for survival until the liberation and the resettlement in Sweden, thanks to the Prince Foike Bemadotte Campaign have an especially great impact, which makes this book stand out among the numerous other books about similar experiences. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 191
Hellberg, Hans-Eric
Bakorn masken
(Behind the Masks)
Stockholm: Bonniers junior, 1993. 166 p.
ISBN 91-48-52086-1
Burglar - Foreigner - Detective Story
Two girls try to retain the burglar who has broken into their apartment. When he offers resistance, the situation becomes dangerous, until they are rescued by Ali, a Lebanese refugee. But his sudden appearance makes him, too, suspicious. As a result of the ensuing investigation, he is faced with deportation. But when it is determined that, on the contrary, he had only been helpful, he, of course, can stay. A simple story, but well- written and suspenseful, especially suitable for youth who are reluctant readers. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 192
Larsson, Mats
Alex Borell och Rasisterna
(Alex Borell and the Racists)
Stockholm: Norstedts, 1993. 127 p.
ISBN 91-1-937302-3
Sweden/History <1990-1993> -Neonazism - Right-Wing Extremism - Racism - Civil Courage - Detective Story
Neonazism in Sweden? It exists and is even suited to carry the plot of a detective story in which a youthful photographer who gets involved in a brutal encounter with right-wing extremists through his Chilean girlfriend decides to fight actively against it. This well-told and thrilling detective story set in the Stockholm scene does not misuse this topic to catch a corner of the market, but functions instead as a convincing call to civil courage in view of the racism spreading around Sweden. (13+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 193
Linde, Gunnel (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
En som hat tur
(One Who Had Good Luck)
Stockholm: Norsteds Förlag, 1993. 85 p.
ISBN 91-1-927452-1
Holiday - Girl - Grandmother
The well-known Swedish author skillfully tells the easy to read, humorous story of a holiday in which a girl who travels with its little dog and big brother to visit grandmother gets involved in all kinds of adventures. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 194
Nilsson, Per
Hjärtans fröjd
(Joy of My Heart < also: Lemon Balm))
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1992. 151 p.
ISBN 91-29-62125-9
Love stories are on the rise, and hardly a youth novel, regardless of plot, can resist the attraction to this theme. This book deals with nothing other than seeking and finding, love and jealousy, fall and hope. That a math and music teacher is in a position to depict this old theme in such an enchanting, sensitive and yet linguistically ambitious style that one tumbles enchantedly on from one episode to another, lets one have hope for that profession. (15+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 195
Pohl, Peter
Gieth, Kinna
Jag saknar dig, jag saknar dig!
(I Miss You! I Miss You!)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1993. 255 p.
ISBN 91-29-62104-6
Girl - Twin - Death - Mastery - First Love
A death breaks up the normal life of the twins Tina and Cilla, full of teenage problems and hopes, disrupting the harmonious and idyllic life of a family with stepmother and stepbrother. Cilla dies in a car accident. To mourn and to overcome mourning is a difficult task for Tina and her father, who until this event had been rather cold. A new love means a new beginning for Tina. Peter Pohl is the guiding hand behind this narration of a story of a surviving sister which is based on a true situation and he masterfully manages to combine fiction and reality. As is to be expected, he does not offer us "problem literature" which anxiously clings to pedagogical intentions, but instead through his original, often lightly ironic style into a lively picture of family life and an unconventional depletion of love between teenagers an electrifying reading experience. (15+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 196
Sundvall, Viveca (text)
Eriksson, Eva (illus.)
En barkbåt till Eddie
(A Cattle Boat for Eddie)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1992. 152 p.
ISBN 91-29-62146-1
Asthma - allergy - play therapy
Because Eddie is allergic to dogs, he experiences dangerous shortage of breath. His older brother saves him by notifying the emergency service. His stay in hospital is made easier by the play therapy they conduct with him there. Viveca Sundvall skillfully develops this dry, but seldom treated topic in an interesting and exciting manner. The excellent pencil drawings by Eva Eriksson make the book even more attractive. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1994 - 197
Wahl, Mats
(The Winter Vik)
Stockholm: Bonniers, 1993. 287 p.
ISBN 91-48-52119-1
Sweden - Racism - Crime - Love
John-John has grown up in a socially deprived area. His friend Sluggo joins up with the Neonazis, and he himself is pushed by his friends into criminal acts. A love relationship, however, gives him the strength to keep his head up, even in this mess. In an impressive, demanding language, interwoven with poetic asides, the author depicts this inferno of botched childhoods, alcoholism, crime and racism - which Sweden is no longer spared. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 153
Danielsson, Bernt
Stockholm: Pan (Norstedt), 1994. 204 p.
ISBN 91-1-937441-0
Alcoholism - Seduction - Death
Of course prohibition still reigns in Sweden, of course no book can be published which glorifies alcohol, especially not for young adults - but this wonderfully inebriating book deals with the fascination of intoxicating drinks and their effects on people, on art and literature - on our culture as such. Danielsson, who was perhaps a little too enamored with his own self-made linguistic cocktails of English and Swedish in earlier books (such as in "Härifrån till Kim" - From here to Kim), has found a style here that, while still a mixture, no longer serves up arbitrary snatches of English, but rather a rich array of pearls of Swedish vernacular that one will seek in vain in standard dictionaries, and avoids falling into a short- lived teenage slang. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 154
Gelotte, Ann-Madeleine (text/illus.)
Brev från en kanin
(Letters from a rabbit)
Stockholm: Tiden, 1994. 179 p.
ISBN 91-550-4066-7
Rabbit < Literary figure > - Reality - Fantasy
Falling out of a book by Beatrix Potter into the real world, two rabbits and their mother are hence forced to cope with a world much too large and awkward for them. In this hommage to Beatrix Potter, the author succeeds in creating funny, eccentric episodes out of the confrontations between the somewhat conservative rabbit mother and her children with the contemporary world in the form of a farmyard and its many animal residents. This is an easy-to- read text which will surely provide entertaining reading for everyone. (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 155
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Sprang Olsen, Ib (illus.)
Lilla Geo eller Flickan som kunde lura döden
(Little Geo, or the girl who fooled death)
Stockholm: Bromberg, 1994. 63 p.
ISBN 91-7608-652-6
France History 1900-1950 – Illegitimate child-Vitality
In this pleasantly short book one has all the world in a nutshell: love, death poverty, war, mercy, child-like hope, courage and good fortune. In so few pages the author unfolds, as in passing, a virtual Comédie humaine in which each episode is short story, an embryonic novel. The foil to a chunk of real family history in France, as befits our century, could hardly be more dismal than that against which Georgette, a child born out of wedlock and soon orphaned, makes her way into a secure middle-class existence. Stimulating and impressive are the illustrations - the work of an old master - which through their authenticity (he traveled to France especially for this purpose) take on an urgency that no reader, no child can escape The extremely reticent form of these black and-white pencil drawings are surprising for their concentrated atmosphere and dramatic force, which is enhanced in every sense by a nervous line of seldom found finesse, even by Spang Olsen himself. Turn-of-the-century atmosphere, cityscape, tender mother-love, but also human baseness even to exhibitionism in action (in the background, but clearly visible) - everything that makes the eye keen and the imagination winged is found in abundance on these few pages. (8+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 156
Nilsson, Ulf (text)
Gustavsson, Jan (illus.)
Råttan kommer!
(The rat is coming!)
Slockholm: Bonniers junior, 1993. 32 p.
ISBN 91-48-52135-3
Hobo - Social isolation - Oppression - Liberation - Remorse
A hobo rat, who himself has turned mean through constant social ostracization and persecution, becomes an oppressor of weaker mice from whom he steals food. But one heroic little mouse succeeds with her child-like optimism in stirring his heart so much that he feels remorse for his deeds. With this short story, Nilsson, who by now has made a name for himself as an author of fable-like animal stories for the best Swedish illustrators, takes issue with the in times of crisis all too readily accepted motto "homo monini lupus." Its illustrations are on the same par as the story. The phy- siognomy is apt and funny, the episodes are cleverly depicted. Jan Gustavsson is among the best realistic modern illustrators. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 157
Persson, Gunilla Linn (text)
Höglund, Anna (illus.)
Delfinen mellan mussia och moln
(The dolphin between shells and clouds)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1994. 32 p.
ISBN 91-638-3102-3
Loneliness - Self-knowledge - Strangeness - Understanding - Sibling rivalry
Again and again one astounds at how popular this very individualistic illustrator is with Swedish readers. The reason that she has such success with her bizarre and strongly stylized pictures may have something to do with young readers being schooled by today's grotesque comic series. Yet Persson is certainly not giving them easily understood topics. It is not possible to depict in only a few words the absurd situation of a lonely woman having a dolphin as a substitute for a child delivered to her house and getting used to its unusual wishes. He helps her to find a new will to live and she helps him to overcome his jealousy of a younger sibling. To be thrown off the track of everyday life for a few moments and thereby find one's own self is a tension-filled story that the reader will find rewarding. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1995 - 158
Wahlin, Bertil (text)
Hagstrand-Velicu, Kerstin (illus.)
(The book of small animals)
Stockholm: Tiden, 1994. 128 p.
ISBN 91-550-3899-9
Insects - Reptiles - Field guide/Animals
These two Swedes have created a clearly organized and easy to use field guide for everything that flies and crawls around us Europeans at home, in the garden and in the neighborhood day in and day out. The text is limited to naming and describing animals and their activities, without too much superfluous knowledge; included are clear, painstakingly executed color illustrations which are even more informative than photographs, since they do not confuse the reader with ingenious and decorative close- ups, which are often more for sales- promoting than illuminating. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 204
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
(The Friday surprise)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. [14 ] p.
ISBN 91-638-0388-7
Divorce - Single parent - Loneliness - Girlfriend
Two girls, only children of divorced parents, one living with her mother, the other with her father, become friends and thus overcome their loneliness. While a seemingly everyday life story, the author's style of narration captivates the reader with an intensive, human approach and a penetrating choice of words that will leave no reader unmoved. Similarly direct and intensive are the watercolor illustrations by her daughter Rebecka, who has become a drawer with a brush who puts whatever she sees onto paper, in color, without any detours via sketches and drafts. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 205
Lindqvist (text)
Eklund, Erika (illus.)
(<Proper name>)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. [14 ] p.
ISBN 91-638-0353-4
Child/Grandfather - Forefathers - Adventure
When a child is alone, its imagination is especially willing to go wandering. In one illustration a grandfather, great-grandfather and great-greatgrandfather step out one after the other, each drawn to their old easy chair where each had liked to sit, and now they begin to fight over it. When his parents come along, Nikodemus pushes them and in fact his imagination quickly back into the picture again. This well-known motif is given amusing variation and illustrated with action-filled, loosely drawn caricatures. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 206
Ryberg, Ulf (text)
Härdin, Sonja (illus.)
Pappan som växte fast på sin stol
(The Papa who Became Stuck to his Chair)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 91-87-80470-0
Father - Family - Conservativism - Punishment
Such a grotesque, pasha-like father who lets his wife do all the work while he does nothing but eat can only be found today in picture books - at least in Sweden. Getting fatter and fatter, he earns his punishment when his chair becomes stuck to his bottom. Only the difficult decision to change himself releases him from this embarrassing mark of Cain. The text in verse form, as is still common in Sweden, is accompanied by appropriately caricaturist illustrations, making the book an entertaining read for everyone. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 207
Sörenson, Margareta
Bakom vindsdörren
(Behind the Attic Door)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1995. 97 p.
ISBN 91-87804-75-1
Foreigner - Integration
The life a perfectly normal, average Swedish family is disrupted by an extraordinary event, the arrival of a refugee family from the Middle East. This book sensitively describes the problems and cautious attempts at becoming acquainted from the point of view of the little girl, Liselott, in simple words so that the young reader can easily identify with the goals of the book. (8+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 208
Stark, Ulf (text)
Palmgren, Jessica (illus.)
Min vän shejken i Stureby
(My Friend the Sheikh in Stureby)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 114 p.
ISBN 91-638-3039-6
Sweden/Childhood memories
This strongly autobiographical, amusing book by the renown Swedish author deals with a boy's attempts to conquer the world (at first through hypnosis), his first closer encounter with the female sex and a boy's life in Sweden in the 1950s. It is the sequel to Min vän Percys magiska gymnastikskor (»The Magical Gymshoes of my Friend Percy«). (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 209
Wahl, Mats
Lilla Marie
(Little Marie)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 266 p.
ISBN 91-638-3217-8
Single mother - Mother/Daughter - Father/ Daughter
Always particularly interested in the strange ways of the human psyche, Mats Wahl relates here in this many-layered novel - with as usual for him in lower class setting - the problems of a fifteen-year-old girl, Marie, the first-person narrator. Frequently acting unexpectedly aggressive, Marie runs away when she fears that her mother's friend wants to have sex with her. By bringing longstanding terms of relationship into motion, she actually becomes closer to her mother, even though in the end she must learn to accept that fact that she owes her own life to a rape. Wahl's stunningly written description of youthhood in Stockholm give the book its tension and color. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 210
Wahl, Mats (text)
Nordqvist, Sven (illus.)
Nu seglar Vasa!
(Now the Vasa is sailing!)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. 95 p.
ISBN 91-638-3199-6
Wasa (Ship) - Disaster/History 1628
In Sweden there are now many books available about this famous shipwreck, but hardly any in other languages or for children. Now two of the best children's book authors have been assigned the task of making this new book for children and have valiantly succeeded in creating a better book than all previous ones. Mats Wahl tells a suspenseful story about the life of the ship builders; Sven Nordqvist shows that he can draw more than just cats. His illustrations are vivid, lively and thus informative. His slightly caricaturistic manner of drawing, remotely reminiscent of Ralph Steadman, fits this book well. In addition the book contains thirty pages of interesting facts and photos. (A German edition of this book was published in 1995 by Carlsen). (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1996 - 211
Wegelius, Jakob
Herr Balders hemlighet
(Mr. Balder's Secret)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1995. [28] p.
ISBN 91-638-0450-6
Sheep - Lawn mower
A very typically English style of grotesque humor is given expression in this story of the estate owner Balder, who orders sheep by newspaper advertisement to mow his lawn. The sheep are little inclined to work and decide to take it easy. But they also defend him, as it befits their own interests, against the much too strict neighbour. This amusing and unusual, but not exceptionally original story with pictures in finely drawn contours, as curly wooled as a sheepskin. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 201
Anderson, Lena (text/illus.)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87804-91-3
Daily routine - Bedtime
Pictures which include short verses depict the day of an uncle who is taking care of his nephews. In the course of the story he works through the numbers one to twelve. But the whole thing is narrated with such humor and the animal protagonists portrayed with such expressiveness that the numbers seem ultimately just a welcome opportunity to invent a tale. (4+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 202
Bredow, Katarina von
Knappt lovlig
(Scarcely permitted)
Stockholm: Norstedts förlag, 1996. 224 p.
ISBN 91-1-963032-8
First love - Friendship
Fifteen-year-old Hanna, who lives alone with her single-parenting mother, searches out human contact in most unusual ways. Her girlfriend is an outsider and her first love is a 30-year-old man. In neither situation is she disappointed. The author succeeds in depicting the mental state of a teenage girl as universally human. Her books do not deserve to be shoved into the category of girl literature, since boys would also find them valuable. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 203
Danielsson, Bernt
Liv och död
(Life and death)
Stockholm: Norstedts förlag, 1996. 197 p.
ISBN 91-1-960182-4
First love - Detective story
As in his previous works, Danielsson succeeds in making this story about holidays at the seashore an elegant mixture of love affairs, phantom criminals and strange personalities to produce a highly original narrative. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 204
Ericsson, Eric (text)
Alvner, Christina (illus.)
Karlssons farmor får besök
(Karlssons grandmother has a visitor)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1996. 36 p.
ISBN 91-638-0646-0
Loneliness - Woman - Monster - Friendship
One day Mrs. Carlsson, who lives alone in the country, receives a case of bananas and in it, to her surprise, is an exotic monster. It is so gluttonous and egoistic that her life is turned upside down and she finally drops it off at the zoo. But then they each have such a longing for the other, that the monster returns and helps the old woman cope with her loneliness. It is not so much the story itself but its rendering in caricature illustrations of a traditional style that make this book remarkable. The still relatively unknown artist is quite good at depicting facial expressions and takes this opportunity to satirize a typical bourgeois Swedish home. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 205
Gravitation. Berättelser om att bli stor
(Gravity. Tales of growing up)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1995. 160 p.
ISBN 91-7712-4170
Growing up/Anthology
Seventeen renown Swedish authors, including Peter Pohl and Mats Wahl, write about growing up, about the suspenseful moment between childhood and the adult world. They draw either from their own experiences or depict fictitious fates - but in any case quite enthralling. (14+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 206
Hörling, Anna (text/illus.)
Tussas kalas
(Tussa's birthday invitation)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1996. 29 p.
ISBN 91-29-63819-4
Birthday party
This presumably ordinary topic is treated here with such unusually funny pictures that not only the joys but also the sorrows (of the others) at such an event are fully visible. (4+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 207
Lindström, Eva
(<Proper name>)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 91-7712-492-8
Animal/Man - Friendship
A lonely woman and a lonely, helpless fantasy animal can become friends. They remain loyal, even when others try to separate them. That is the message of the touching story, presented in colorfully well-balanced, naive illustrations. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 208
Marko, Susanne (text)
Hyman-Vallien, Ulrica (illus.)
Rappatack. Svartsjukans sånger
(Rappatack. The songs of jealousy)
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 91-27-05767-4
First-born - Jealousy
Extremely expressive illustrations make this story of a little girl's jealousy of her soon to arrive sibling an exciting aesthetic experience. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 209
Nilsson, Ulf (text)
Hald, Fibben (illus.)
Enqvist, Marianne (illus.)
Höglund, Anna (illus.)
Mästaren och de fyra skrivarna. En berättelse om Jesu liv och död
(The master and the four writers. A story of Jesus' life and death)
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1995. 245 p.
ISBN 91-27-03977-3
New Testament/Interpretation
This especially remarkable book makes its appearance at a time when the decline of Biblical knowledge in the Swedish society and especially among its youth is already widespread. A renown author has taken on the task of citing the key passages of the four gospels, making their interpretations easy to follow and putting them into the context of their times. Without any missionary zeal, he conveys the truths contained in the gospels that have universal relevance in a powerful manner. Three highly regarded illustrators and a satisfying printing design help this edition to rise well above similar attempts. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 210
Olsson, Ragnar (text)
Torudd, Cecilia (illus.)
(The book of tails)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 91-7712-411-1
Tails from all around the world are collected here. The caricurist Torudd, who is well-known for his impudent style, demonstrates what they are good for. That all the tails of this world, as different as they may appear, are in truth the same, makes this picture book a perfect model of international understanding. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 211
Pohl, Peter
När alla ljuger
(When everyone is lying)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1995. 190 p.
ISBN 91-29-63042-8
Father/Daughter - Business criminality
By now one of Swedens most well-known youth book authors, Pohl succeeds again and again in depicting very realistically the shocking experience and the resulting inner development of his protagonists. In this case it is Lotta, a girl brought up in a sheltered family, whose world crashes down around her when her beloved father, a powerful businessman, dies a mysterious death. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 212
Stalfelt, Pernilla (text/illus.)
(The book of hair)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1996. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87804-84-0
Different forms of hair and the advantages and disadvantages of hair are presented here in a very funny manner. Pernilla Stalfelt's illustrations are intentionally primitive caricatures which underline the comedy of the individual scenarios. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 213
Stark, Ulf (text)
Enqvist, Marianne (illus.)
(The golden heart)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. 86 p.
ISBN 91-638-3348-4
First love
Short and , but very exact in choice of expression - a technique Stark is master of - this is a love story about a piano-playing boy and a girl who loses her golden heart-charm in the water. He returns it to her, only to claim her real heart. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 214
Thor, Annika
En ö i havet
(An island in the sea)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. 196 p.
ISBN 91-638-3306-9
Sweden - Immigration - Jew - Xenophobia
Certainly books about the crimes of the German Nazis are destined to find a wide readership, not only on account of their political content, but unfortunately also because they hold out promise of a particular suspense. That is all the more reason to recommend this book. It portrays the fate of two Jewish girls from Vienna who are sent to foster parents in Sweden. Hence the theme is not persecution or escape in Germany, but rather how children are at the mercy of others in a foreign country. Of course, they find friendly, helpful people, but their integration is not easy. Remarkable is the manner in which the author also includes in her fascinating narrative the aggressivity shown to strangers - whether they are Jews or not - and thus contributing to a coming-to-terms with a part of Swedish history which has long been tabu. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 215
Torudd, Cecilia
Vi måste bada!
(We have to take a bath!)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1995. [26] p.
ISBN 91-29-63093-2
Toddler - Brother - Play
A little boy decides to help his even smaller brother because his mother wants to sleep in one morning. In the end the mother needs to spend much more time putting things back in order, than if she had gotten up and done everything herself. This book by the well-known caricaturist is an example of the outstanding Swedish books for small children, which are so witty that adults can take pleasure in them, too. (4+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1997 - 216
Wahl, Mats
Emma och Daniel. Mötet
(Emma and Daniel. The meeting)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1996. 154 p.
ISBN 91-638-3340-9
Tolerance - Single-parent family
Emma's single-parent father has invited Daniel and his mother, whom he became acquainted with through a newspaper ad, to his holiday house in the moun-tains. His daughter protests, but has to put up with the situation. Through their joint experiences, the two very different children get to know each other just as well as the adults. As in his earlier works, Wahl has an excellent manner of drawing his characters and portraying their development. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 199
Brinck, Lotta (text)
Räder, Andréa (illus.)
Gröna rätter för unga kockar
(Green dishes for young cooks)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1996. 77 p.
ISBN 91-29-63054-1
Vegetarian cooking
Vegetarian dishes from different countries are presented with clear, easy to follow instructions in such a way that young people can prepare them without problem. The dishes are not presented as photographs but in lovely, unpretentious color illustrations. (10+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 200
Dunér, Anna (text)
Raagaard, Kirsten (illus.)
Emilia i simhallen
(Emilia at the swimming pool)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 91-638-0752-1
This book for the youngest readers is representative of similar series for the same readership, which are typical for Scandinavian countries in their naturalness and matter-offactness. Many experienced, and even the best artists in the field work on these series. Kirsten Raagaard, for example, is a seasoned draftswoman who maintains a good balance between childlike and true-to-nature representations. Typically Scandinavian is the unabashed portrayal of nakedness or toilet-usage, as well as the presence of only one parent, mother or father. (3+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 201
Eklund Lykull, Anita
Julia mitt i världen
(Julia in the middle of the world)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1996. 331 p.
ISBN 91-29-63773-2
Adolescence - Love - Personality development
The third novel of a trilogy finds Julia now a student and having to readjust her life after just being left by her first boyfriend. The search for new relationships and a tour of Europe help to raise her self-confidence. This novel is an example of numerous Scandinavian novels which take adolescents on the doorstep of the adult world seriously and avoid any attempts at indoctrination. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 202
Klefelt, Lena (text/illus.)
Mosad banan. En bok för små och stora direktörer
(Smashed bananas. A book for young and old directors)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1997. [24] p.
ISBN 91-87805-06-5
Infant - Adult - Role reversal
The artist takes the old theme of »topsy-turvey world« and gives it an original twist by letting an authoritarian director and father experience in a dream how an infant feels, how helpless and powerless one is as a child. Incidentally it seems to be typical for these times that only fathers are authoritarian and in need of re-education. The mothers in such books are notoriously modern and even unbearably tolerant. Klefelt's extremely unobtrusive, minimal line drawings and dry color pencil coloration complement this grotesque story excellently. (5+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 203
Larsson, Mona
August Strindberg. Bilder ur hans liv
(August Strindberg. Pictures from his life)
Stockholm: LL-Förlaget, [1997]. 74 p.
ISBN 91-88180-35-2
Strindberg, August/Biography
In a very simple and factually condensed form, that is nonetheless quite interesting to read, this book presents Strindberg's life, documented with historical photographs, and creates a portrait of his times. This citation is also meant to give recognition to the remarkable publishing program of LL (Lättläst stands for ), which produces books that take their readership seriously. Some titles deal with developmental disorders, autism, aphasia or dyslexia, fighters, reluctant readers or immigrant children. Among LL's specialities are the heavily abridged re-editions of classics such as by de Maupassant, Shelley or Lagerlöf. Photodocumentary stories tell about the vacation of two developmentally retarded young women or about the love relationship of a woman in a wheelchair. The books are exceptionally attractive, well-illustrated, printed on good paper and nicely bound. Also the didactic conceptualization of the information books is excellent, their graphic design of lovely pictures and photographs is clearly arranged, and the text is kept as concise as possible. (12+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 204
Lekander, Nina (text)
Zweigbergk, Helena von (text)
Ahlbom, Jens (illus.)
Pojken och staden
(The boy and the city)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 91-638-0657-6
City life - Everyday life
Books which depict life in the city are still a relatively rare thing. All the more reason to welcome this picture book in which the daily troubles of city kids and their vexed parents are portrayed in witty, exuberant scenes of life. The city of Stockholm is readily recognizable, but the episodes involving parking violations, busses full of children, dog poop, and grocery shopping can be found in many similar cities. Typically Swedish is, however, the touch of local color, for instance, in the state-run alcohol shop with the advertisement »Buy a little less, be happy in moderation. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 205
Lindgren, Barbro (text)
Höglund, Anna (illus.)
Nu är vi gorillor låssas vi
(Now let's pretend we are gorillas)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1997. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87805-10-3
Play - Patronization
With their »alternative« picture books for the youngest readers, not those sweetish and ridiculous ones, Scandinavian publishers are still far advanced. This one deals with children at play, deftly illustrated with naive pictures that focus on the essentials of the plot. While adults are always faulted in children's books for being so patronizing to children, here the older child is allowed to get away with playing the »father« to the younger one, much to their mutual delight. (4+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 206
Ollars, Janne (text)
Örtengren, Lisa (illus.)
En onsdag i Karl Grans liv
(A Wednesday in the life of Karl Grans)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1996. 95 p.
ISBN 91-638-3296-8
Personality development
Karl Gran, a boy who cannot yet tell the difference between fantasy and reality, brings confusion to the adult world around him with his ideas. The naive tone of the narrative, told from Karl's perspective, is an ironic portrayal of adult fallibility. The traditional style line drawings are skilful caricatures. The author won the publisher's competition with this book in 1995. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 207
Schenkmanis, Ulf (text)
Johansson, Sven-Gösta / Forsberg, Lasse (photos)
Waltmark, Barbro (recipes)
Vanliga bär
(Common berries)
Stockholm: LL-Förlaget, 1997. 72 p.
ISBN 91-88180-90-5
The brief text gives a minimal explanation of the essential botanical details and other practical information. Very beautiful photographs of the individual berry sorts (including the well-known kinds of currants, wild and cultivated strawberries, and Scandinavian specialities such as blueberries, cranberries and others) make them easily recognizable. Several easy recipes which young adults will not hesitate to try are included at the end of the book. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 208
Toss, Anna (text)
Ahlbom, Jens (illus.)
Jag, mamma och Socka Musen
(I, Mommy, and Sockamouse)
Stockholm: Alfabeta, 1996. 77 p.
ISBN 91-7712-744-7
Mother/Child - Storytelling
A mother tells her young son phantastic stories in which the younger sister always plays a heroic part. The stories are understandable without being laboredly childlike and written with a dry humor that older children will also appreciate. This is an unpretentious read-aloud book with simple but skilfully drawn black-and-white illustrations. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 1998 - 209
Wahl, Mats
De övergivna
(The forsaken)
Stockholm: BonnierCarlsen, 1997. 206 p.
ISBN 91-638-3461-8
Juvenile delinquency
The by now widely-known author could not resist the temptation to write a sequel to »Vinterviken« as the middle volume of a trilogy. But Wahl's narrative skill, his inimitable portraits drawn from the oppressive milieu of social misfits, which he once knew first-hand as a social worker, and his dialogues are so captivating that one gladly gets drawn into his stories. Naturally the focal point is once again the socially marginalized hero, 19-year old John-John, who together with two friends becomes petty thief and runs up against big-time criminals, who force the boys to take part in a kidnapping. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 207
Eriksson, Erik
(The steel castle)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998. 114 p.
ISBN 91-87805-26-x
Ocean - Environmental pollution
Martin's father and older brother, both fishers, fail to return one day from their fishing. During his search for them, Martin finds himself near a steel factory, an enormous facility that is poisoning the ocean and holding Martin's father and brother, among others, captive to work. With the help of magical powers Martin is able to destroy the factory's computer-run control system and free the prisoners. This novel is one of the few attempts to sensitize children to environmental problems by means of a suspenseful, fantastic plot. (12+) ☼

Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 208
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
Passa Klara
(Babysitting Klara)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998. 51 p.
ISBN 91-87805-29-4
Siblings - Babysitting
A well-behaved brother is good at taking care of his little sister, but sometimes he would like to have his freedom. Two of his girlfriends, who relieve him of his duties, discover that this is no easy task. Rose Lagercrantz proves again in this slim volume her considerable knack for telling simple, ordinary events in an original and realistic manner. The story is not at all limited to the main plot, but depicts, along the way, many things that make it interesting for beginning readers. An important part of the book are the gouache illustrations with strong colors that courageously fight against the grey tones of daily life routines and in their seemingly eyewitness-like involvement in the events have a certain naivety that works especially authentic. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 209
Leandoer, Kristoffer
Änglar i hissen
(The angels in the elevator)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1998. 143 p.
ISBN 91-638-3556-8
Death - Afterlife
When his mother goes through heavy labor, David - who is not allowed to be with her - is hardly able to deal with the suspense and is own fears. With an elevator that is suddenly in his garden, he escapes into a fantastic world, a world of the dead. There he finds angels, a forest overseer, who seem to be in a clinch with one another, and people asleep under the trees. David meets a schoolmate who has died and attempts to escape with her. Like Eurydices, she is forbidden to return to earth. Only David finds he way home; in the meantime his mother has given birth to a baby girl, who is given the name of the dead girl. Within this fantastic tale questions are brought up that encourage deeper reflection. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 210
Nilsson, Ulf
Fyra berättelser
(Four tales)
Stockholm: Bonnier Carlsen, 1998. 54 p.
ISBN 91-638-3547-9
Nilsson's four stories about love bear the gentle scent of melancholy and wistfulness that often pervades books by Scandinavian authors. Even with a touch of eccentricity, these follow in the Swedish literary tradition. The publishing house Bonnier Carlsen has started a series of small paperbacks called »Signal« that offers young adults high-quality stories by the most well-known Swedish children's and young adult authors. The uniform, nearly abstract, but still colorfully vivid covers help avoid the stigma of »teenager books.« Aside from Nilsson, stories by Inger Edelfeldt, Maria Gripe and Cannie Möller have appeared so far in this series. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 1999 - 211
Opatowsky-Wahlberg, Osnát (text)
Persson Malm, Maivor (illus.)
Prinsessan och månen
(The princess and the moon)
Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1998. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87805-41-3
Child/Adult - Thinking - Differences
This little story of a sick princess who wishes that her father give her the moon in order to get well again makes is so very clear that children think in different ways than adults. The little girl accepts a little golden ball as the moon because it matches her own image. All her father's fears that the sight of the moon still glowing in the sky could make her fall ill again are of nought, because she is certain that the moon can grow back again. Only the court jester (as in other stories, too) is in a position to intermediate between the child and adult styles of thinking. In her first book, the illustrator, like Fam Ekman, takes up the highly stilized forms used before 1945 (such as by Legér), giving the pictures an emphatically graphic appearance, without sacrificing the liveliness of the caricatured figures. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 200
Härstedt, Kent (text)
Lempinen, Erja (photos)
Mitt första år i riksdagen
(My first year in parliament)
Stockholm: LL-Förl., 1999. 89 p.
ISBN 91-89042-64-6
Swedish government - Member of Parliament
This publishing house produces picture books, information books and abridged literary texts for reluctant readers and adults that are striking for their meticulous design. The motto is that the disadvantaged deserve not the cheapest but the best! Here the reader learns about the duties and private state of mind of one member of the Swedish parliament from his own point of view. The social democrat Kent Härstedt finds just the right words to explain things to someone who is otherwise not interested in politics - and there are surely many such individuals. The over-proportionate number of photographs makes his working day most vivid and easily understood. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 201
Palm, Anna-Karin (text)
Bengtsson, Anna (illus.)
(The winter of wild animals)
Stockholm: Natur och Kultur, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 91-27-07521-4
Stockholm - Winter
The winter that can transform the city with a blanket of snow is a strong stimulant to children's imaginations. This picture book addresses the excitement of the unusual and tells about the snow clouds that roll off the trees and roam through the city as snow-leopards on quiet, padded paws. The illustrator succeeds brilliantly in portraying the wintry gloominess (which is especially strong in Europe's northern regions), the coldness, and the dampened colors and tones in her expressive pictures, done predominantly in pale shades of blue, that are alternately contrasted with dampened violet or pink and then again warmer colors of domestic security. (5+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 202
Pohl, Peter
Man kan inte säga allt
(One cannot tell everything)
Stockholm: Rabén & Sjögren, 1999. 234 p.
ISBN 91-29-64724-x
Sister - Death - Sex murder - Youth - Violence
In a manner apparently typical for Pohl's style of writing, this novel begins with a catastrophe and has a shattering ending - the younger sister of the first-person narrator is found dead on the playground, victim of a sex murderer. While seeking to understand »why«, he attempts to reconstruct the events leading up to the crime and find the murder, independent of the police. Pohl doesn't take the easy course of portraying a perverted adult as the guilty one; instead it is two school pupils, and of foreign nationality at that. They meet their downfall in an appalling way, as there are adults behind them who pull the strings. Pohl uses dialogues and inner monologues in a fascinating and suspenseful manner to drive his plot. Even the inner state of the brother, who must realize that he cannot fully grasp what has happened, is described without obscuring anything with abstract insinuations. (15+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 203
Stalfelt, Pernilla (text/illus.)
(The book of death)
[Stockholm]: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87-80554-5
Death - Burial - Customs/Sweden
There have already been several picture books dealing with touchy subjects published by this author. This topic is perhaps the most touchy one yet. Is it right to caricature such a serious topic? Indeed, disrespectful cartoons of invalids, of the living and of the dead are accompanied by occasionally cheeky captions (for example, dealing with a possible life after death: »Imagine what it would be like to become a hotdog!!!«). But the whole undertaking aims at making it clear to children in an unsentimenal way that death is something natural and a part of life. At no time does the book poke fun at the worries and cares of the sick and the mourning. (6+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 204
Tidholm, Anna-Clara (text/illus.)
Läsa bok
(Read a book)
[Stockholm]: Alfabeta, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 91-7712-905-9
Books from Scandinavian countries, and most especially from Sweden are proof that one can make books for very small children that nonetheless avoid triviality and saccharinity in the pictures! The books for this age group by Tidholm, who is more known for her austere style, have clearly arranged pictures with bold but not garish or gaudy colors and distinct but not depreciative shapes. The brief story being told is simple, but - not simplistic - and will even be enjoyed by the adult who is reading aloud. (2+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 205
Wahl, Mats (text)
Ambrosiani, Björn (text)
Nordqvist, Sven (illus.)
Folket i Birka. På Vikingarnas tid
(The people of Birka. The age of the Vikings)
[Stockholm]: BonnierCarlsen, 1999. 96 p.
ISBN 91-638-3692-0
Birka - Haithabu - Vikings - Everyday life
The author-illustrator team of Wahl and Nordqvist seems to be continuing productively in the area of historical information books. Following upon their books about the sailing ship »Vasa« and trading history with China, this book delves into the life of the Vikings, an topic closer to home. Once again Wahl develops a story around the everyday life of a typical family, while Nordqvist makes use of his particular talent of blending historical exactness, realistic portrayal and caricature into a lively whole. The reader thus acquires insight into life in a past era that is by no way and means dry. (10+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2000 - 206
Wahldén, Christina Nord
Kort kjol
(Short skirt)
Stockholm: Tiden, 1999. (2nd ed.) 126 p.
ISBN 91-88877-03-5
Compelled by her experiences as a police reporter, the author attempts in her first book to put into words the ghastly inevitabilty of events surrounding the ever more frequent rapes within school environs and the depressing results for the girls as victims, and thereby draw it out of a cloud of suppression. The report of one such rape by two guys after a school party and what follows in court and at school seems all the more oppressive due to its objectve tone in connection with the minute record of events. But precisely in this way it avoids any hint of sensationalism and helps to understand the psychological state of everyone involved - with the aim of better protecting young people from such human catastrophes by making them aware of the inhumanness of such acts. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 201
Åberg, Berit (text)
Jönsson, Maria (illus.)
Svårt och sånt
(Difficult stuff and the like)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2000. 123 p.
ISBN 91-29-64753-3
Ethics - Everyday life
Children think, are afraid, have fears. Modern-day children may think more and may be afraid more often than those of former times, because they have wide access to information of what happens or could happen to them. That is why books articulating those fears and exploring ethical issues can be of great value. This book addresses various problems relevant to a child's perspective in the form of a ten-year-old girl's fictional diary: unfriendly play-mates, older brothers and sisters, illness in the family, the mother's abortion, war (on TV). The tone skilfully alternates between seriousness and tom-boyish lightheartedness, sustaining the reader's interest while preventing the text from becoming too ponderous. (10+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 202
Bodecker, N. M. (text)
Blegvad, Erik (illus.)
Hellsing, Lennart (transl.)
Skynda, skynda, Nilla lilla!
(Hurry, Little Nilla, hurry!)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 91-87805-77-4
Winter - Preparation - Wife - Couple - Roles
This unusually original picture book, a delightful blend of idyll and striking caricature, could be considered a multi-cultural product: written and illustrated by two Danish immigrants in the USA it has been ingeniously translated by Lennart Hellsing, the renowned poet for children's literature – his text reads like an original poem. The still current topic of women's emancipation is transported back to the 1900s: The ever serving wife dutifully pursues her housework while her husband, relaxing in a rocking chair, commands her about. The historical setting serves the authors' ironic purpose: firstly, manual labour is more apt to demonstrate a housewife's diligence than the handling of electrical kitchen appliances. Secondly, the traditional backdrop of the 19th century allows for a more convincing portrayal of a husband's patriarchal claims than modern day life with its rather subdued forms of male dominance. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 203
Erberth, Stig (text)
Alvner, Christina (illus.)
Barnens djurbok A - Ö
(The child's Animal ABC)
Stockhom : BonnierCarlsen, 2000. 120 p.
ISBN 91-638-3681-5
Animals - Alphabet
The expectations raised by the old-fashioned title, reminiscent of non-fiction books of the 19th century, are countered by a very modern concept. Modern, not in the sense of a scientifically meticulous and naturalistic representation of the animals, but rather in the choice of unusual postures. While the characteristic anatomy of the individual animal is never neglected, it is the mimicries and little jokes the animals perform which will intrigue children much more than sober, zoological depictions. One can see a lion cub romping about on its father's head, the behind of a sleeping elephant, a swan gliding in for a landing, a wallowing horse and many other enjoyable scenes. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 204
Stark, Ulf (text)
Nordström, Jockum (illus.)
Ensam med min bror
(Alone with my brother)
Stockholm : BonnierCarlsen, 2000. 44 p.
ISBN 91-638-1684-9
Siblings - Childhood memories
The well-known author has been transposing his childhood memories into literature for quite some time already. In this text, he relates how he and his older brother spent their holidays away from their parents with friends. Gifted with a fine intuition for a child's way of seeing the world, he allies the humour of simple situations with a deep sense of humanity and high literary craft. For example: The children send off a half-starved firefly on a bark raft, while innocently calling after it: »Have fun!« The artist, inspired by contemporary art movements, assembles rough, large pieces of different material to a collage, breaking the edges with drawn lines. Even though the illustrations are strong of character, they complement the text without ever imposing themselves. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2001 - 205
Widerberg, Siv
Walter-Lax, Lena
Wennerstrand, Carl
Vända livet
(Turn life around)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2000. 171 p.
ISBN 91-29-6582-0
Drug abuse - Radical right - Violence
The well-known author Siv Widerberg adopts the role of a mediator for two authentic young adults' voices who relate how they succeeded in giving up their previous lifestyle and to take steps in a more positive direction. Lena, who grew up in a proletarian environment with an alcoholic father, hoped to find recognition and self-affirmation in drugs; Carl sought support amongst gangs of young adults who attempted to fight life's crises with racist slogans. These authentic accounts are free of literary stylisation and of greatest impact if read as sober non-fiction texts. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 196
Bergqvist, Karin (text)
Lundberg, Fredrik (text)
Lundqvist, Ulf (illus.)
(The book about bacteria)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 59 p.
ISBN 91-27-08596-1
Books about big animals or small and cuddly ones are easy to make because you can flaunt magnificent colour-photographs and illustrations. Information books about bacteria, on the other hand, are extremely rare – especially those for children. Therefore, anyone planning such a book needs to be able to write in an exciting style – something which the authors of this book are particularly good at. They rely on the facts' own potential for attracting the readers' attention rather than dressing them up in neat little stories. At some point, however, the bacteria themselves get a chance to speak. The illustrator of this book does not attempt to portray the bacteria »realistically«. Instead, he creates differently shaped monsters that wander the pages and offer diverting optical breaks from the text. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 197
Buregren, Sassa (text/illus.)
(The Democracy Handbook)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 47 p.
ISBN 91-29-64866-1
The author of this book presents the abstract topic of democracy in an easily comprehensible and entertaining way. He takes a child of a fictitious family as a starting point and voices the demands this child might possibly have towards society (e.g. »The youth club should be open till the evening«). With the aid of simple examples, the author then demonstrates which »institutions« (e.g. family, town council, government) are responsible for what kind of matter. In a second step, he shows ways leading to the fulfilment of these goals. At the end, the author introduces several people who have fought for human rights and democracy: Mahatma Ghandi, Iqbal Masih, the carpet weaving boy who was assassinated, Anne Frank, Astrid Lindgren, and others. The simple yet informative illustrations further add to these qualities of the book. (8+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 198
Corneliusson, Marie (text)
Porat, Anna von (text)
Glave, Lotta (illus.)
Så funkar ekonomi : en första upplagsbok
(This is how the economic system works : a first reference book)
[Stockholm] : BonnierCarlsen, 2001. 79 p.
ISBN 91-638-2052-8
Economy – Monetary economics
This book provides children with basic information about money, monetary economics, family income, government revenue, speculation on the stockmarket, and similar topics. The text is written in a very concise style, forcing the authors to express themselves accurately. This fact makes the book an interesting read, easy to understand. Economic relations are explained with the help of simple examples. This book does not rely on photographs of money and the like; instead, it trusts in the effect of a uniform, slightly caricaturesque style of illustrations rendered in rich colours. High quality books about such topics are hard to find. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 199
Hammar, Johanna (illus.)
[Stockholm] : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2001. [12] p.
ISBN 91-87803-12-7
Children's game
The style of Johanna Hammar's first two books for toddlers, »Åka« (»Driving«) and »Leka« (»Playing «), resembles that of the Dutch artist Dick Bruna. Like Bruna's books, they meet the demands of educationalists from around 1900 who stated that clear outlines and homogeneous colours were the most suitable for small children. Despite the similarities, this artist can be distinguished from Bruna by her use of more »elegant« outlines and a wider range of colours. Nevertheless, the pictures, full of information, are just as easy to recognise and leave as strong an impression as those of the Dutch artist. (2+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 200
Jaensson, Håkan (text)
Grähs, Gunna (illus.)
Rita ensam hemma
(Rita home alone)
[Stockholm] : Alfabeta Bokförl., 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 91-501-0048-3
Child – Loneliness – Drawing – Fear – Coping with fear
A small girl, alone at home waiting for her father, draws her own picture book. In this storybook, she projects her own fears onto another girl, wandering about in a city and being exposed to increasingly threatening dangers; finally, the father comes home and ensures that the story ends happily. Instead of cultivating an expressive style, as she did in her earlier books, Gunna Grähs, one of Sweden's most original illustrators, lets this story begin in a fictional reality drawn in naturalistic style. When the readers enter Rita's own book, the child protagonist's drawings closely resemble the artist's usual bizarre pictures, distorting and parodying her style. The book concludes with a happy end showing another naturalistic picture of father and daughter. (5+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 201
Kadefors, Sara (text)
Wirsén, Stina (illus.)
Långlördag i city
(A long Saturday evening in the city)
[Stockholm] : BonnierCarlsen, 2001. 94 p.
ISBN 91-638-3907-5
Parents – Separation – Child – Protest
Klara, the child of separated parents, living with her quarrelsome mother who is preoccupied with her own problems, feels that she is the victim in her parents' fight against each other. The provocative desire for an expensive bike, which she finally steals in a fit of desperation and defiance, makes her parents see reason again. They cover up for Klara's deed by inventing an extremely unlikely story of a different theft in order to diminish the bike dealer's mistrust, and, as a result, the family is reunited. In this modern and often painfully realistic »Lottie-and-Lisa«-story (Erich Kästner) even impossible events and absurd situations are described in an exceptionally sparkling and amusing manner. One example for this is the family episode at the junk-food hut, making the book a pleasure to read – in spite of its serious topic. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 202
Mankell, Henning
Eldens gåta
(The fire riddle)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2001. 210 p.
ISBN 91-29-64821-1
Africa – Girl – Handicap – Poverty
Sofia, a girl who has lost her legs when stepping on a landmine (as Mankell told in the first volume of this trilogy called »Eldens hemlighet« – »The fire mystery«) has by now accepted her new life without legs and struggles to earn her living by sewing things. Her work is much appreciated by her customers. But now she is fifteen and the thought of being loved by someone is completely inconceivable to her. Therefore, the first date with a boy, her »moon-boy«, seems but a dream to her. Yet, slowly she realises that she is strong enough to survive and that other people may not lead easier lives even if they still have two legs: Her sister Rosa, for example, is slowly dying of AIDS. The book's central topic, poverty, and the problems resulting from it are brought out particularly well in Mankell's narration. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 203
Nilsson-Brännström, Moni
(The school trip)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2001. 156 p.
ISBN 91-27-08608-9
School trip – Coming of age – Estrangement
A class of twelve- and thirteen-year-old teenagers, including some immigrant children, go on a last school trip together before they separate to leave for secondary school. In this book, the author, whose »Tsatsiki«-books about a young boy with a Greek father were a great success, relates how the teenagers slowly start drifting apart now that they are about to go separate ways. She convincingly portrays each of the 21 pupils and thus accurately describes teenagers' feelings in a European country towards the end of the twentieth century. (12+) ☆

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 204
Sidenbladh, Cecilia (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
Slottet brinner
(The castle is burning)
[Bromma] : Opal, 2001. [28] p.
ISBN 91-7270-950-2
Stockholm/1697– Royal castle – Fire disaster
This book is one of several well-made picture books about history published within the last few years (another interesting title for example was illustrated by Sven Nordqvist). They are supposed to acquaint children with historical events and settings in an entertaining way. The widely known burning of the Stockholm castle in the times of Karl XII enabled the rebuilding of the castle by Nicolaus Tessin. The renowned illustrator Nygren draws an account of these events from a kitchen maid's point of view, whose father (a man of German origin) is one of the royal cooks. Nygren's realistic drawings show the fictitious characters as individuals and therefore easily take the reader back to a life 300 years ago. (8+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2002 - 205
Trenter, Laura (text)
Kovanen, Erika (illus.)
Gräv efter spår
(Dig for traces!)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2001. 52 p.
ISBN 91-501-0070-x
Scandinavia – Archeology – Introduction
With its precise text, which is fairly detailed without being boring, and its powerful almost caricature- like illustrations, this non-fiction book clearly stands out from those naturalistic, sterile books, which are still flooding the international market. Despite their individual unusual style, the illustrations cannot be considered to be less informative than those in mainstream non-fiction books; they concentrate on the essential information. The texts do not only convey interesting facts but also include exciting and tempting recipes, such as: How to cook an un-plucked chicken in a coat of clay à la Stone Age. Parents will certainly be delighted at the results that can be expected from their children's cooking excursions. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 195
Hellsing, Lennart (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
(The magic ring)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2002. [28] p.
ISBN 91-87803-54-2
Children’s poetry – Language game
Lennart Hellsing and Astrid Lindgren both wore the crown of Swedish children’s literature after the Second World War. Now, Lennart has to continue on this path alone. The more than eighty-year-old writer is still a very productive poet for children. His poems, rich in sound and carrying original, sometimes bizarre ideas, are an exciting read. They meet children’s pleasures for playing with language, but never attempt to toady to children by imitating their style of speaking. One of Hellsing’s »trademarks« is the choice of high-quality illustrators for his books. Tord Nygren is an old hand at illustration, and his delicate figures and landscapes are perfect for this gathering of fairytale-like characters from the Swedish folk tradition. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 196
Lagercrantz, Rose (text)
Lagercrantz, Rebecka (illus.)
(The moonlight doll)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2002. 52 p.
(Sparvens roliga läseböcker)
ISBN 91-87803-63-1
Child – Illness – Doll – Friendship
A lonely and dreamy boy buys a mysterious Japanese doll. A sick girl in the neighbourhood longs for just this doll and receives it. She secretly talks to it on Christmas Eve, and the doll helps her to get well again. Rebecka Lagercrantz has added simple, empathetic, and attractive illustrations to her mother’s story. She perfectly captures the child-characters’ innermost moods with her naïve style and strong gouache colours on coloured papers. With just a few details, she evokes a typical Swedish room or a typical street in Stockholm. The doll’s portrait is wonderfully set off against the baby blue paper. This decorative kind of art is inspiring – especially for both children and adults. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 197
Langer, Joakim (text)
Trokenheim, Martin (illus.)
Kapten Kalle på de sju haven
(Captain Kalle on the seven seas)
Stockholm : Forum, 2002. 150 p.
Pettersson, Carl Emil (1875-1937) – Lindgren, Astrid / Pippi Longstocking
Shortly before her death, Astrid Lindgren allegedly admitted that there was a real-life role model for Pippi Longstocking’s father Efraim: Carl Pettersson. He went off to sea when he was twelve, and – after a few years – reached New Guinea in the South Seas where he dealt with copra. After having been shipwrecked in 1904, he safely arrived on a small island, received a warm welcome, married Sindu, the chief’s daughter, with whom he had eight children, and was later himself appointed chief by the native inhabitants. The author turns this biography into a short, adventure story which all admirers of Astrid Lindgren should know. (8+) ☆ ☼

Sweden (Swedish) - 2003 - 198
Westergren, Ebbe (text)
Nygren, Tord (illus.)
Tillbaka till Medeltiden
(Back to the Middle Ages)
Stockholm : BonnierCarlsen, 2002. 88 p.
ISBN 91-638-2133-8
Kalmar / Sweden – Everyday life – Kalmar Union / 1397
With the publication of this book featuring pictures by Tord Nygren, the publishing house continues its very appealing series of richly illustrated books about historical topics. Nygren is experienced in depicting historical costumes and building techniques and manages to convey a vivid picture of those times. Ebbe Westergren deals with the topic »Middle Ages« by taking the everyday life in the Swedish town Kalmar in 1397 as an example; that year, Sweden, Norway, and Denmark were united under a single monarch in the Kalmar Union. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 190
Althoff, Johan (text)
Nyberg, Robert (illus.)
(The book of words)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2003. 288 p.
ISBN 91-501-0229-x
Swedish – Vocabulary – Wordplay
This book of words, which should rather be called »word-play-book«, cannot be recommended for translation but can certainly be used as inspiration. With some other books to their credit, Johan Althoff and Robert Nyberg already are experienced ‘language educators’. They easily manage to present the characteristics and peculiarities of the Swedish language to children in a highly entertaining way. Readers can leaf through this book with curious eyes, play with the words, and – what is most important – enlarge their vocabulary. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 191
Enquist, Per Olov (text)
Wirsén, Stina (illus.)
De tre grottornas berg
(The mountain with the three caves)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2003. 139 p.
ISBN 91-29-65875-6
Grandfather – Grandchild – Mountain – Hiking – Adventure – Fear – Courage
To recommend a book that immediately attracts attention because it is the first children’s book written by a famous author might be carrying coals to Newcastle. So what? It is not Per Olov Enquist’s intention to add a new dimension to children’s literature, he merely writes a gripping adventure story about a hiking trip planned by a grandfather for his grandchildren. But how he writes it! He creates suspense, includes humorous allusions that children can understand, and also adds some irony for the grown-ups. Because reading it aloud to children (namely his own grandchildren) is certainly what the author had in mind. True, other authors also write humorous texts, but in Enquist’s stories even bold metaphors seem rather original and not at all far-fetched. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 192
Lindström, Jonathan (text/illus.)
Allt från början : från urcell till människa
(Everything from the beginning : From the primordial cell to man)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2003. 61 p.
ISBN 91-638-2657-7
Humans – Evolution
You can create a book with many beautiful photographs and still fail to say anything much. Yet, you can also explain something, paint a few pictures to go with it, and leave out all the superfluous stuff – and that’s exactly what the author of this book about the creation and evolution of life on earth does. The illustrations that accompany the concise text of this nonfiction picture book were drawn by the author himself and explain the important facts. With their caricature- like style and some entertaining interludes, they make reading and understanding this book an entertaining task. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 193
Nilsson, Ulrika (illus.)
Brum pling hallå!
(Buzz ding hello!)
[Stockholm] : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2003. [16] p.
ISBN 91-87803-75-5
Electrical appliances
This book can be seen as a typical example of contemporary Scandinavian books for toddlers in general, which are modern in both content and illustration. It introduces an ‘up-to-date’ family who is equipped with all the modern-day electronical appliances imaginable, such as computer, microwave, mobile telephone, etc. The pictures show simple shapes with strong black outlines. The bright basic colours, used in slight variations of the standard norm, are printed onto the paper not as smooth plain fields, but as vibrant and wild scribbles imitating the style of children’s drawings. (2+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 194
Stark, Ulf (text/illus.)
När jag besökte himlen
(When I visited heaven)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2003. 60 p.
ISBN 91-638-2667-4
A critic once wrote: »When you see Ulf Stark’s name on the cover of a book, just grab it.« And indeed, the author always manages to fascinate his readers with his stories that consist of a characteristic mixture of humour and profundity. And so does this book: In his dreams, the author travels up to heaven to find out how his parents, whom he hasn’t seen for ages, are doing. When he does really meet them, he learns that they simply go on with their comfortable middle- class life and seem to be very happy. Ulf’s father turns into the boy he used to be and plays with his grown-up son. Eventually, he gives him an advice that might as well have been uttered by the famous German author Erich Kästner: »Never forget to play!« In the end, Ulf whispers his goodbyes, saying: »We will meet again!« (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 195
Thydell, Johanna
I taket lyser stjärnorna
(The stars shining in the ceiling)
Stockholm : Natur och Kultur, 2003. 222 p.
ISBN 91-27-08705-0
Mother – Cancer – Death – Daughter – Self-assertion
The single mother has to tell her daughter Jenna that she is suffering from breast-cancer. Overwhelmed, the 13-year-old tries to come to grips with the situation. At the same time, she is struggling along in school. In one of her classes she writes a poem about her mother. If she is to die, Jenna will commit suicide, it reads. When the mother really dies, Jenna discovers that the mother of her greatest enemy in school is an alcoholic. Because suffering unites, she can suddenly empathise with the girl. In the end, Jenna changes her poem: When you die, Mama, I shall live – for you. The young author has written a touching debut novel remarkable both in subject matter and language. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2004 - 196
Wahl, Mats
Svenska för idioter
(Swedish for idiots)
[Stockholm] : Bromberg, 2003. 311 p.
ISBN 91-7608-932-0
Adolescence – School – Everyday life – Puberty crisis – Sexual behaviour – Social status – Fear of the future
Following a successful pattern of youth literature, Mats Wahl lets his protagonist tell the story as first-person narrator and inserts long dialogues, which – like most of Wahl’s writings – are larded with slang yet have a convincingly realistic touch to them. The author demonstrates his extraordinary skill with an unusual progression of scenes and his uniquely imaginative turn of events. The novel describes an integrated high school class in which lower-class pupils are packed together with pupils who have learning difficulties. It seems that the teenagers aren’t interested in anything at all, no matter how fervently the new Swedish teacher tries to fight against their indifference. Henk, the first-person narrator and son of a kiosk owner, is the only one who takes the teacher’s suggestion of writing a book seriously. In his clumsy and faulty language, he starts writing the novel Swedish for idiots, single chapters of which are woven into this excellent book. (14+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 190
Blom, Tomas (text)
Wessnert, Gudrun (text)
Lundberg, Sara (illus.)
Trosspojken med snurretoppen
(The page with the diabolo)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2004. 180 p.
(Tusen år i Sverige ; vol. 2)
ISBN 91-29-65626-5
Three volumes of this four-volume history of Sweden have now been published. This work neither tries to reduce history to an assumed lower level that children may understand – as many of the older works do – nor does it follow the modern trend and split information into a bunch of pictures. Instead, the authors tell episodes from different eras and convey the specific atmosphere of the past rather than explain the general course of history. Imaginative illustrations underline the encyclopedia’s literary tone. Double spreads, scattered between the various stories, offer short facts about each time period as well as reproductions of historical documents and objects that relate necessary background information. Readers will easily understand that there is more to history than just pictures and objects. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 191
Casta, Stefan (text)
Ullström, Staffan (illus.)
Den vilda staden : boken om djuren som flyttar till stan
(The wild city : the book of the animals who move to the city)
[Bromma] : Opal, 2004. 110 p.
ISBN 91-7299-085-6
City – Animals
This highly entertaining non-fiction book, which describes the surprising variety of animal species living in inner-city environments, has a pleasing layout and design and was thoroughly researched. Several good photographs and a lot of carefully drawn naturalistic yet unobtrusive illustrations are interspersed among the well-written, amusing text. The urban world depicted is unmistakably Swedish – so that, as an extra bonus, the book automatically evokes the special atmosphere in Swedish cities. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 192
Haamer von Hofsten, Josefine (text)
Hamström, Marlene (photogr.)
(The movingoutofhomebook)
Stockholm : Tiden, 2004. 96 p.
ISBN 91-88879-55-0
Teenager – Independence – Flat – Everyday life
This book offers useful information for adolescents who are planning to move out of their parents’ place and start living on their own. In addition to some suggestions of how to furnish one’s flat with the essentials and other practical advice, the book also lists a number of important addresses that might offer young readers some help. Naturally, this book describes and is geared towards the situation and life in Sweden and advice can thus not be transferred directly to other countries. Nevertheless, it provides a good insight into the characteristic social system of this democratic country and might therefore be used as a model for similar self-help books for young people leaving their ›nests‹. (16+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 193
Halling, Thomas (text)
Andersson, Kenneth (illus.)
I Stockholm med öppna ögon
(In Stockholm with open eyes)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2004. [44] p.
ISBN 91-501-0301-6
Stockholm – Tourist guide
This picture book about Sweden’s capital is certainly more original than all travel guides for children. Unlike others, this book does not try to anticipate the traveller’s own experiences through photographs reminiscent of travel brochures that distort reality by using small details or wide-angle shots. It is a lot more consistent to draw scenes and impressions and only use photographs as an additional graphic element. Kenneth Andersson’s pop-art-like graphic style, which makes each page look completely different from the next, guarantees that the illustrations won’t ever become boring. If you take the inventive use of colours into account, printed in a velvety matt quality, these pictures actually make readers long to discover their real-life model. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 194
Ortman, Lisa Berg (text)
Kapparath, Madhu (photogr.)
Pooja från New Delhi i Indien
(Pooja from New Delhi in India)
Stockholm : LL-Förl., 2004. 96 p.
(Barn i världen)
ISBN 91-89451-98-8
India – Child – Everyday life
Books describing the life of children in other countries are usually published as a series to present as many different cultures as possible. After 1945, a lot of committed publishing houses and authors had a strong desire to promote a better understanding between people with their books – and they still do so today. A lot of these books are of astonishingly high quality. So far, the present series by the publishing house LL, which particularly caters for children and adults with reading difficulties, encompasses four titles. In a comfortable small landscape format, these books offer an insight into other people’s daily life through a careful selection of high-quality photographs. A few lines of text, simple yet precise, give just the right amount of information. (10+) ☆ ☼

Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 195
Pallin, Lena (ed.)
Du och jag : om kärlek
(You and I : about love)
[Stockholm] : Bromberg, 2003. 125 p.
ISBN 91-7608-934-7
Poetry – Love
Once again, love is the topic of a children’s book – it’s a subject popular with readers and obviously a profitable business for publishers. This anthology presents an interesting selection of poems by popular children’s book authors and by children themselves. How varied and surprising love can be is perfectly demonstrated in a poem by Ann Mari Urwald: Together they are lying / in bed / same pillow / She is black, soft, and warm / He is blond, spindly, and sensitive / they lie close together / same position / their eyes are half closed / she enjoys / his hands / lovingly touching her ear / they are lying for a long time / until he falls asleep / then she stretches her four legs / and slowly leaves the bed. (10+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 196
Stark, Ulf
Min vän Percy, Buffalo Bill och jag
(My friend Percy, Buffalo Bill and I)
[Stockholm] : Bonnier Carlsen, 2004. 212 p.
ISBN 91-638-3631-9
Boy – Holidays – Summer – Grandparents
Ulf Stark is one of those authors whose lives serve as an endless source of inspiration for their work. It is no use to ponder about just how much of this story is indeed based on real childhood events. Stark simply handles the genre of fictional autobiography with such skill that he achieves a perfect and fascinating atmosphere of authenticity. This tale of a family who spend their summer with the grandparents starts harmlessly but quickly develops into a drama between grandfather and grandmother that delves deep into the past. It tackles the grandfather’s unrequited desire to be loved by his wife, which brings him to the brink of death but eventually seems to find fulfilment. Stark has created a touching portrait of both Percy, Ulf’s friend, and the grumpy grandfather. In contrast to grandson Ulf, Percy is unbiased and can thus approach the taciturn old man more easily. With his Parsifal-like egoism and naïve ability to admire everything, Percy always manages to surprise the people around him. (10+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2005 - 197
Zetterholm, Finn
Lydias hemlighet : Ett magiskt konstäventyr
(Lydia’s secret : a magical art-adventure)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2004. 316 p.
ISBN 91-85199-16-8
Stockholm – National Museum – Girl – Talent – Time travel – Artist
One day, the talented 12-year-old Lydia vanishes when she touches a painting at the Stockholm National Museum. Just like Alice (the famous protagonist from Lewis Carroll’s children’s classic »Alice in Wonderland«), the girl tumbles down a tunnel into a different world and time, from one era into the next. She meets various artists from different epochs – Rembrandt, Diego Velázquez, Leonardo da Vinci, Edgar Degas, Mary Cassatt, William Turner, and Salvador Dalí – and learns about them and their lives. Almost imperceptibly, this adventure turns into a short introduction to art. True, there may be a lot of similar introductions, but very few that are as amusing and exciting to read as this one. (11+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 190
Brinkemo, Per
Ali, Ahmed Hassan
Stockholm : Tiden, 2004. 232 p.
ISBN 91-88879-61-5
Sweden Immigration – Cultural conflict – Integration – Somalian boy – Abduction
A lot of children’s book deal with integration problems of refugees from non-European countries. The host country is frequently portrayed as xenophobic. This book proves how cruel the confrontation between different cultures can be even within a refugee family. Achmed, a Somalian boy, is regularly beaten up by his violent father because he tries to assimilate into the Swedish society. Eventually, his mother takes him to Somalia and abandons him there. Two years later, he manages to contact the Swedish embassy in Ethiopia, which finally enables him to return to Sweden, his mother country, albeit under huge bureaucratic obstacles. This case caused quite a stir in the press in 2002, and it’s a journalist who convincingly presents this tale to young readers. (12+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 191
Everdahl, Göran (text)
Prah, André (illus.)
Bli expert på 5 minuter : bildningsakuten
(Expert in five minutes : intensive education unit)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2005. 96 p.
ISBN 91-638-4914-3
General knowledge
People complain that there is an education crisis among young people. That is why this author wants to tell intimidated teenagers: »Education is cool!« To avoid their embarrassing themselves in conversation, his plan is to give reluctant students with a guilty conscience an »effective kick up the backside«, modelled on the good old encyclopaedias. On selected topics such as architecture, fashion, Vincent van Gogh, Winnie the Pooh, Stalin, etc, he provides basic knowledge and a bit beyond that, to arouse interest. The accompanying pictures, photographs, and drawings are fairly unobtrusive and do not take centre stage as they do in many popular non-fiction titles. (12+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 192
Falkirk, Anders
(The second team)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2005. 165 p.
ISBN 91-638-4208-4
Football Youth
Just as someone who curiously peeps into a horse book for girls to get an idea what this incomprehensible horse-world is like, so a football ignoramus may draw some unexpected wisdom about football from this book. It’s not all about the pleasures of playing oh no. The author, himself a football coach of teenagers, also dares to voice some criticism about ambitious local clubs that dream of success without any consideration for their young players. Two small town clubs join forces to hit it big. By nominating an elite team, they create enormous pressure, which almost scotches the joy of playing for the ones excluded. Yet, one coach instils a new sense of confidence into this »bunch of losers«. Despite the happy ending, the criticism of a commercialisation of football is very palpable in this book. (10+) ☼

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 193
Karlén, Per José (text/illus.)
Boken om känslor
(The book about feelings)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2004. [30] p.
ISBN 91-29-66029-7
Emotional behaviour
This book opens with a double-page maze to show readers what it means to lose oneself in the labyrinth of feelings. Conflicting emotions, such as feeling brave but at the same time afraid, cheerful but sad, too, are represented in convincing pictures. They can comfort the child readers, who will suddenly realise that they are not alone in their emotional world, which they do not understand. The illustrations with smooth fields of colour and strong outlines, created on computer according to the current trend, avoid sentimentality, but neither do they make fun of the readers. With their powerful, distinctive colouring, they are an impressive graphic experience that goes beyond the literal meaning. (6+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 194
Landström, Lena (text)
Landström, Olof (illus.)
Fyra hönor och en tupp
(Four hens and a cock)
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 91-29-66015-7
Cock Suppression – Hen – Rebellion – Women’s emancipation
This time, the popular picture-book-writing couple have wittily translated the topic of women’s emancipation for young readers. Four hens (with »typically female« broad backsides) are bullied by their (small and sinewy) cock. While their feeding area becomes smaller and smaller, his grows. They are not even allowed to cluck anymore. At first, far too unorganised to fight him, the hens finally pull themselves together and join a personality training course including typical methods such as fitness training, relaxation, team work, and more, which the authors mockingly transport to the chicken level. Afterwards, they take on the cock and put him in his place. Now the hens rule the farm while the cock is allowed to continue his ivory-tower projects a little way off. (8+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 195
Selander, Margareta
Det är orättvist
(This is unjust)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2005. 175 p.
ISBN 91-501-0571-x
Chile Mapuche – Minority – Suppression
In the Chilean village of Curileo live some members of the Mapuche people. Their relationship with the better-off descendants of the Spanish is rife with tension. When, one day, someone sets the house of an estate manager on fire, the Mapuche Luis is unjustly accused of the crime and thrown into prison. His daughter Millaray, who is friends with Felipe, the victim’s son, fights for his release from prison and even manages to expose the true culprit. Thus, it is the children children like Millaray, Felipe, and the landowner’s son who does not believe his father, or the daughter of the arsonist who beats up his children when drunk – who have to save the world because the adults are neither willing nor able to enforce justice. (9+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 196
Stalfelt, Pernilla (text/illus.)
(The violence book)
Stockholm : Eriksson & Lindgren, 2005. [28] p.
ISBN 91-85199-40-0
Violence Prevention
Creating yet another provocation after her books about poop, death, dicks, worms, and love must certainly be boring. But no! Pernilla Stalfelt has now employed her talent for visualising and explaining unpleasant or embarrassing topics in order to solve an urgent problem. She shows various types of violence, and despite the amusing drawings, the readers feel hardly inclined to laugh when they witness somebody being stabbed with a needle, or a town being reduced to rubble in a war. However, Stalfelt’s sense of humour often helps readers to endure the terrible events and smile about a flattened fly or a man furious that he cannot open a glass of jam (the topic, in this case, is »necessary violence«). In addition, the illustrator also shows the opposite of violence: humans talking to and caressing each other, helping others, listening, etc. Therefore, this book about violence is actually an impressive plea for peace and understanding. intl-understaning (8+) ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2006 - 197
Tidholm, Anna-Clara (text/illus.)
Alla får åka med
(They can all come)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2004. [28] p.
ISBN 91-501-0435-7
Charity Brotherly love
In terms of artistic quality, books for toddlers are often the stepchildren of the children’s literature business. In Scandinavia, however, and in Sweden in particular, a unique sensitivity for the first books in a child’s life has arisen. Yet even here, books with a special message are rare. In her trademark visual language, plain but beseeching, the illustrator interprets Christian virtues such as »Agape« (brotherly love) or »Misericordia« (charity). On her little truck, a girl collects all those who are suffering, who are sad, lonely, and helpless the dispirited Father Christmas, the boy who bumped his knee, the shivering dog, the crying teddy bear – and invites them all into her cosy home for dinner. (2+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 189
Ahlström, Gabriella (text)
Arrhenius, Ingela P. (illus.)
Fanny … och fallet med flickan i staden
(Fanny … and the case of the girl in the city)
Stockholm : Tiden, 2006. 107 p.
(Ett fall för Fanny / Gabriella Ahlström)
ISBN 978-91-85243-61-7
Cannes – Film festival – Detective
With this series, the publisher Tiden offers another detective series specifically for girls. In the first volume, the young detective Fanny travels to the film festival in Cannes with her mother and solves a complicated case there. Even if the plot moves within the conventional frame of this genre, the fresh voice in which it is told makes this book quite unusual. Thus, the director at Fanny’s school, who suggests a change of air to cure her restlessness, is boldly addressed by first name – a behaviour that is met with surprise by most foreign readers (who may also be utterly astonished to learn that »Vickan« and »Madde« refer to the Swedish princesses Victoria and Maddalena). Such a cheeky and disrespectful style turns this book into an entertaining read. (10+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 190
Althoff, Johan (text)
Sheppard, Sarah (illus.)
Nyberg, Robert (illus.)
Nattpäron : en bok om att hitta på, tänka och berätta
(Nightpear: a book for exploring, thinking, and storytelling)
[Stockholm] : Bonnier Carlsen, 2006. 128 p.
ISBN 91-638-4621-7
Everyday life – Imagination – Day – Night
This book was originally created to accompany an exhibition striving to stimulate children’s imagination, but it can also be enjoyed independently. It shows the course of one night and one day up to the following evening in seemingly contradictory pictures. On collages presenting a rather bleak and narrow-minded everyday world, the artists have superimposed sketchy, caricature-like black-and-white drawings of apparently ordinary people doing everyday things but uttering absurdities. The book’s aim is to teach children that they can enrich their dull everyday life by using their imagination. (7+)

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 191
Bečević, Zulmir
Resan som började med ett slut
(The journey that started with an end)
Stockholm : Alfabeta, 2006. 223 p.
ISBN 978-91-501-0750-0
Sweden – Bosnian immigrant – Refugee – Integration
Just like the author, Nino, the first-person narrator of this novel, is a Bosnian refugee arriving in Sweden in 1992. Therefore it seems likely that the story has strong autobiographical elements. For those readers who are not familiar with the problems of being a refugee, this book provides important and sometimes fairly amusing information. It relates, for example, the various difficulties that may arise in a class of pupils from more than eight different nations when learning Swedish. Unfortunately, there is a lot of violence involved and even the immigrant children are not free from prejudice against others. Problems with the female sex constitute another barrier to overcome on the way to becoming a »true Swede«, even if, in the end, it is a girl who gives Nino more self-confidence. (14+) ☆

Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 192
Grähs, Gunna (text/illus.)
Tutu och Tant Kotla
(Tutu and Aunt Kotla)
[Stockholm] : Alfabeta, 2006. [24] p.
(En hejhej bok)
ISBN 978-91-501-0579-7
Sweden – Immigrant – Foreigner – Integration – Multicultural society
With this series, the publisher offers a number of small picture books dealing with all kinds of integration. In this volume, the reader follows a black boy delivering newspapers on a snowy grey winter day. He trudges through one of the bleak Swedish suburbs of newly-erected houses so unlike the boy’s familiar African home. Nevertheless, in one of the tall buildings a door suddenly opens and he is invited for coffee and cake by a lonely old woman simply because she likes his friendly face. He tells her about Africa, she tells him about her childhood. In the end, Tutu walks away with a smile. Such a sweet story might easily turn into a pedagogical lecture if it wasn’t for this wonderful artist who combines a fresh, decorative, spacious style with original visual ideas. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 193
Herrström, Christina
Tusen gånger starkare
(A thousand times stronger)
[Stockholm] : Bonnier Carlsen, 2006. 217 p.
ISBN 91-638-5250-0
School – Girl – Social differences – Inequality – Assertiveness – Gender role
What starts as an ordinary school story on the perennial topic of powerful bullies gathering their »subjects« around them and tyrannising the rest of the class soon acquires a different note. The new girl, an interesting foreigner aptly named Saga, acts with such confidence and superiority that she easily dethrones the old Number One – to the delight of (most of) the other girls. By dealing a complete defeat to a teacher who, intentionally or unintentionally, always favoured the boys, she turns herself into the speaker of the timid girls, who used to let the male classmates get their way. With her and because of her, the girls’ badly battered confidence receives a boost. It doesn’t even matter much that the school authorities win through in the end. The shy first-person narrator, for one, is inspired by Saga’s courage. With her exceptionally precise language, the author manages to get to the core of the problems and build up the suspense in each scene. Her cheeky tone turns this book into an entertaining and diverting read. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 194
Holmberg, Bo R.
Stockholm : Rabén & Sjögren, 2006. 155 p.
(Ett fall för Robert Parkman / Bo R. Holmberg)
ISBN 978-91-29-66420-1
Girl – Stalking – Pursuit – Private detective
With this first volume, the popular children’s book author has started a new series of crime fiction for children because such stories have been mushrooming in the Scandinavian countries for years. A teenager who runs a small detective agency is approached by a girl who fears that she is being followed – his first proper case. Instead of disarming the alleged stalker, however, he catches a violent burglar and hands him over to the police. Holmberg has a lot of experience in creating an exciting plot mainly from dialogues. He portrays his hero Robert’s great self-confidence in a clearly ironical way to make him fail all the more effectively. Ultimately, this is a highly amusing, well-crafted story disguised as a detective novel. (12+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 195
Nilsson, Ulf (text)
Eriksson, Eva (illus.)
Alla döda små djur
(All the little dead animals)
Stockholm : Bonnier Carlsen, 2006. 34 p.
ISBN 91-638-4668-3
Child – Animals – Death – Burial
This is a book about death, though not – as one might expect – a sad one. On the contrary, it proves that burying animals can sometimes be quite funny. When, on an utterly boring day, Esther finds a dead bumblebee, she is delighted. She builds a little cross, digs a grave, and scatters some flowers on it. Her brother is allowed to write an elegy. While he is good at poetry, he turns out to be a sissy who is afraid of dead animals. Esther even opens her own funeral parlour. Armed with a suitcase full of necessities, the children set out in search of dead animals. The anonymous dead are quickly christened before the funeral. After having treated several mice, a hedgehog, a hamster, and three fishes snatched from mother’s freezer, their most exciting case turns out to be a roadkilled rabbit. The next day however, the children’s morbid game gets pushed into the background by other fascinating matters. With Ulf Nilsson’s witty style and Eva Eriksson’s ingenious eye for characterisation, this book is a real treasure. (6+)

Special Mention - Sweden (Swedish) - 2007 - 196
Stolpe, Marika (text)
Pehrson, Lars (photogr.)
Ida & elefanterna
(Ida and the elephants)
Stockholm : Ström, 2005. [64] p.
ISBN 91-7126-000-5
Kenya – Elephant – Wildlife reserve
This photo documentary accompanies a Swedish girl on her visit to her friend John in a wildlife reserve in Kenya. The author makes Ida tell in first-person, eyewitness style about how young elephants are brought up and looked after. Both children help with the feeding, play with the animals, and sleep close to them at night to give them a sense of security. The factual narrative is complemented by equally factual, lively photographs, which present an accurate picture of everyday life at the reserve and enable children to (almost) share the protagonists’ experiences. The readers are offered a true introduction to African nature without getting dazzled by picture-perfect, glossy magazine photographs. (8+) ☆ ☼