Archive for April, 2015

Focus on the joy of books and storytelling in this year’s award week

April 28, 2015

Focus on the joy of books and storytelling in this year’s award week

This year’s Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) week begins on Monday May 25. Representatives from South African organisation PRAESA will visit Stockholm and Vimmerby to participate in an extensive program targeting students, educators, media and an interested general public.

– Through their work, PRAESA has shown how crucial books and stories are in creating rich lives for children and young people, says Director Helen Sigeland. With their efforts to make literature vibrant in several languages and to raise children’s self-esteem as a starting point, we hope to inspire and engage. Many people want to meet them, and in the program this year the interaction with students and educators are particularly prominent. We are obviously very delighted and excited about this!

PRAESA, the Project of the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, is an organisation working to promote reading and literature for children and young people. They were announced as this year’s recipient on March 31. In Sweden, PRAESA will be represented by Director Carole Bloch, Training Coordinator Ntombizanele Mahobe and Malusi Ntoyapi, Programmes Support Officer.

Selection of planned events during the award week:

May 26 Participation in the award ceremony for the reading promotion project Children and Books.
May 26 Public talk with author and jury member Mats Kempe at Kulturhuset.
May 27 Workshop with children at Kulturhuset.
May 28 Visit to Hjulsta elementary school that runs the project “The world’s ALMA”.
May 29 Visit to the Astrid Lindgren school in Vimmerby.
May 29 Opening of the new exhibition The whole world’s burning! at Astrid Lindgren’s Näs.
June 1 Award Ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall.

More information about the award week will be published on

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is given annually to a single laureate or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and reading promoters are eligible. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature. The UN convention of rights of the child is the foundation of our work. An expert jury selects the laureate(s) from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations all over the world. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and is administrated by the Swedish Arts Council.

Celebrate World Book Day with Nalíbali

April 23, 2015

nali 3
Every year on 23 April, South Africa celebrates World Book Day. Today Nal’ibali, PRAESA´s large-scale national reading promotion program, is launching a special children’s literacy rights poster to assert and affirm for children what they need to become inspired and competent readers and writers. Carole Bloch, Director of PRAESA says:

– Many organisations and communities across South Africa are aware of the fundamental challenge we all face in bringing joy and meaning to print in South African languages to all our children – including the very youngest. At Nal’ibali, we believe all children can grow up to be powerful readers and writers and we hope to further empower them with this guide.

The poster has been developed to further the impact of PRAESA’s 2014 Charter of Children’s Literacy Rights, which helps adults to put in place the conditions and resources children need to become fully literate.

– The poster is available in all 11 South African languages to ensure ease of access to the content, and to affirm the equal importance of all languages for literacy development, says Arabella Koopman, Nal’ibali Content Development Manager.

It´s available in the following languages:

Kitty Crowther in Mons – premiére tomorrow!

April 22, 2015

Photo: Gerda Dendooven


Photo: Mons2015

For four weeks now, 2010 ALMA laureate Kitty Crowter has been working with a very special project in Maison Losseau, Mons, Belgium.

She’s been making illustrations, just like a Venetian painter, in a white box inside the Maison Lossseau. Tomorrow the box opens and everyone will be invited to enter it through a little, very little door and will dive in the wonderful world of the slag heap or rather in the wonderful idea Kitty has of it: an imaginary scenery in real size, drawn from the floor to the ceiling. Little creatures, crazy trees, unbelievable Worlds.

The installation is open for a month, until May 25th. The project is part of Mons2015 – European Capital of Culture, more information here.

Congratulations Kitty – we ´d loved to be there!

Photo: Mons2015

Photo: Gerda Dendooven

A greeting from Näs

April 17, 2015
Photo: Astrid Lindgren's Näs

Photo: Astrid Lindgren’s Näs

The award office got his lovely photo from Anneli Karlsson at visitor’s centre Astrid Lindgren’s Näs after the announcement. Students from intermediate level of compulsory school (11-year-olds) in Vimmerby followed the press conference live at Näs. During the upcoming weeks they will study the work of PRAESA and learn more about South Africa and reading promotion. Soon (late May) they´re going to meet PRAESA’s representatives in connection with the award week. As Anneli Karlsson put it: We all look forward to meeting them!

PRAESA strives to support children’s self-esteem and linguistic identities

April 14, 2015


PRAESA, Project for the Study of Alternative Education in South Africa, was founded in 1992 by the anti-apartheid activist and academic Neville Alexander, who was held for ten years as a political prisoner alongside Nelson Mandela on Robben Island. From the 1980s until his death in 2012, Alexander worked to raise awareness of multilingualism as a key to personal and societal development. His objective was to offer children schooling and literature in their native tongues. For more than twenty years now, PRAESA has made powerful, innovative moves to highlight literature as a key component of both personal and societal development, always grounded in the specific conditions of South African society and culture.

PRAESA has three core goals: to provide children with high-quality literature in the various South African languages; to collaborate with and foster new networks among publishers and reading promotion organisations; and to initiate and carry out activities that support and sustain a culture of reading and storytelling in socially vulnerable communities. South Africa is a country of 11 official languages, with a large gap between poor schools in rural areas and townships and urban schools with stronger resources. PRAESA was an early advocate of using literature and stories in literacy instruction. It has also addressed fundamental questions of how to support school systems in vulnerable areas and how to encourage bilingual or multilingual teaching.

In 2006, PRAESA started the Vulindlela Reading Club in Langa, a township outside Cape Town. The club was quickly followed by many more, both in Cape Town and in other provinces. Club activities emphasize the importance of weaving together books and group reading with dramatization, singing games and storytelling. PRAESA strives to support children’s self-esteem and linguistic identities and activities are held both in children’s native languages and in English. The starting point is always children’s natural curiosity about stories, reading and literature. The Vulindlela Reading Club formed the point of departure for the Nal’ibali project: a large-scale national reading promotion program begun in 2012. Nal’ibali is a network of reading clubs that uses media campaigns to encourage children to read and inspire parents, grandparents and teachers to read with them.

PRAESA believes in change at the grass-roots level. Reading clubs are run by local volunteers, who attend workshops and receive training and mentoring. They continuously develops its strategies and methods to support socially vulnerable areas and reach out with stories and books.

PRAESA’s work manifests fundamental values of democracy and a view on human rights inherited from its founder, Neville Alexander. It is pledged to break down language barriers and support the peaceful co-existence of languages, in partnership with others and with full faith in linguistic, ethnic and cultural diversity.

PRAESA is the 2015 Laureate for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Link to the jury citation here.

PRAESA presented at the Swedish Children’s Institute for Children’s Books

April 10, 2015


Yesterday jury members Elina Druker and Mats Kempe gave a presentation of PRAESA at the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books. Present teachers and librarians were curious about knowing more about PRAESA: s activities, especially how they are dealing with multi-language questions.  The conclusion was that we all have a lot learn from them!

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After their presentation Gunilla Lundgren, reading promoter who is  famous for introducing Nobel laureates to the Children in Rinkeby, shared her experience of co-operations with Vulindlela reading clubs.

Reactions in media

April 2, 2015


The news that PRAESA was announced as the 2015 ALMA Laureate on Tuesday resulted in reactions from many news channels from different parts of the world. Here are some examples of media covering the announcement:


The Guardian

BBC News

Frankfurter Allgemeine

El Universo

The Times of India

Global Post



Africa News

The Hindu

Daily Journal

Neue Bücher Zeitung

Publishers Weekly

Daily Herald

The story was also reported in several South African media channels, such as

Times Live

Business Day

Cape Times

Sowetan News


Philip Pullman, author and 2005 ALMA Laureate was among the first to congratulate PRAESA:

My warm congratulations to PRAESA, and my hopes that the award will do wonders for the encouragenment of reading and storytelling in South Africa.
Philip Pullman

A day to remember

April 1, 2015

Our photographer Stefan Tell worked hard yesterday afternoon – here are some of his photos from the announcement at the National Library of Sweden.

Speech by Sweden’s Minister for Culture and Democracy, Alice Bah Kuhnke.


Jury Chairman Boel Westin announced the 2015 Laureate: PRAESA!


Reactions from the audience at the National Library!


Henry Ascher, professor of paediatrics and member of the ALMA jury presented the work of PRAESA.


Neville Alexander, the founder of PRAESA.


The press conference was followed by interviews…


…and interviews…


…and some more interviews.


And outside the sun was shining! 🙂