Archive for March, 2016

ALMA co-operates with dairy producer Arla Foods

March 31, 2016

ALMA co-operates with dairy producer Arla Foods

This summer, Arla Food’s dairy consumers will be able to read about laureates of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) on milk packs. By reading their books and writing about them, children and young adults will be able to win books.

– We are delighted to co-operate with Arla again, says ALMA Director Helen Sigeland. We believe that books and literature can build bridges between people and cultures, and we are looking forward to giving more young people the possibility of getting to know our laureates.

The Arla campaign begins in late summer 2016. All contributions from children will be published on ALMA: s web.

This is the third time ALMA co-operates with Arla. Last time was in 2010 when Belgian author and illustrator Kitty Crowther was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Press invitation: The world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature to be announced on April 5

March 29, 2016

Press invitation: The world’s largest award for children's and young adult literature to be announced on April 5

Welcome to cover the announcement of the 2016 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Time: April 5 at 12:45 pm
Venue: Illustrator’s Café, Bologna Children’s Book Fair

12.45 Opening speaker is Staffan Forssell, Director General at the Swedish Arts Council and Helen Sigeland, Director at the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Speech by Robert Rydberg, Ambassador of Sweden to Italy.

13.00 The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2016 is announced by Jury Chairman Boel Westin through a streamed link from the National Library of Sweden, Stockholm. The announcement is followed by a short presentation of the laureate (s) by the jury present at the Illustrator’s Café.

13.45 A celebratory toast in the ALMA stand C5 in Hall 30

Jury representatives will be available for interviews and the award office may provide journalists, if possible, with contact information for people and organisations with expert knowledge about this year’s laureate(s). For interviews and contact details please contact Communications Officer Helene Andersson. Photos and press releases in various languages will be available in our press room:

A press package with videos in high resolution from the press conference will be available on during the afternoon. Please register if you are a first time user. Questions about registration may be forwarded to

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.

One announcement – two press conferences

March 22, 2016

In two weeks the world will know who the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury has appointed as 2016 Laureate.

After a year of studying the works of 215 nominated candidates, the jury will come to the final decision. Jury Chairman Boel Westin announces the name or names of the laureates at 1:00 pm CET on April 5th right after the last jury meeting.

The news will be out in Bologna and Stockholm simultaneously as the announcement is broadcast by link from Stockholm to Bologna. Viewers can also follow the announcement live on our web.

Will it be an author, illustrator, storyteller or a reading promotion individual or an organisation? Keep an eye in our social media channels or follow us on for instant news about the Laureate (s)!

30,000 books by Astrid Lindgren and Gunilla Bergström to refugee children in Sweden

March 18, 2016


Good news from copyright company Saltkråkan:

From March 9, 30 000 copies of Astrid Lindgren’s The Red Bird and Gunilla Bergström’s Good Night, Alfie Atkins in Arabic will be distributed to children who have come to Sweden as refugees from war and disaster. The project has been initiated by Saltkråkan AB, the copyright company run by Astrid Lindgren’s family, and the children’s book publishing company Rabén & Sjögren. It is a collaborative venture with the Migration Agency and Save the Children.

The initiative for the project comes from Marit Törnqvist, the illustrator of Astrid Lindgren’s book, The Red Bird. The idea was born when she visited an asylum accommodation complex, having brought with her a copy of this book translated into Arabic. The reactions from grownups and children were immediate – they turned the pages, read, pointed and laughed. She felt that all Arabic speaking children should be given a copy of The Red Bird, in their own language, as a welcome present.

The Red Bird is very symbolic story, and my strong desire is that Sweden will be a Sunnymead for the children who come here”, says Marit Törnqvist.

Gunilla Bergström’s picture book Good Night, Alfie Atkins is also being distributed through this unique collaborative venture. This will be done with the help of the Migration Agency, and Save the Children will be distributing the books as a part of their activities among the children.

“It’s particularly in times of tragedy that we need songs, poems and stories – all types of cultural expression – more than ever! To give us hope. Or comfort? Or to give us new strength!” says Gunilla Bergström.

The books have been financed by Saltkråkan AB and Rabén & Sjögren, and all the authors, illustrators and translators have refrained from receiving their royalties. Bok-Makaren AB (the copyright company of Alfie Atkins), Junibacken and Opsis Barnkultur have also contributed financially.

“We know that reading is the ground for children’s language, vocabulary and development. This is our way of letting the future readers meet hope, fantasy and storytelling in Swedish children’s books”, says Ann Sköld, Publishing Director at Rabén & Sjögren.

For Saltkråkan AB, the copyright company that is run by Astrid Lindgren’s family, this project is a logical consequence of the values reflected in the life and works of Astrid Lindgren.

“The children who come to Sweden as refugees should be made to feel welcome and should have the opportunity, through good children’s books in their own language, to understand the place they’ve come to. All children’s equal value and right to culture were basic standards to Astrid Lindgren”, says Annika Lindgren, Head of Publishing at Saltkråkan.

Mark my words: Literacy through culture

March 14, 2016

Carole Bloch, PRAESA Photo: Stefan Tell

When we speak or write to each other in the same language, it’s easy to assume that we share the same understandings. Yet we also know that it’s quite possible to ‘miss’ one another – both as we speak, and when we read what someone else has written. In face-to-face communication, because we are there on the spot, we have a relatively good chance to check the intended meaning. We listen, discuss and ‘read’ body language and tone of voice. These all provide us with the clues we use to reach understanding.

But with writing – on paper or digitally – there’s more potential for misinterpretation. Because writing is permanent and can be read and reread, unintended meanings of messages can easily be made and consolidated in the mind of the reader. Nevertheless, the more clues we have, like who the particular writer is and the history of or background to the communication, the better we are able to respond to one another in writing and communicate successfully.

Leading neuroscientist Chris Frith in his fascinating book Making Up The Mind explains how it works. Language and culture arise from and depend on social sharing. Neither could exist without our ability to create models of reality in our minds – and to share these. We have to do this because we can never directly get inside someone else’s mind: “When I look at a tree in the garden, I don’t have the tree in my mind. What I have in my mind is a model (or representation) of the tree constructed by my brain. This model is built up through a series of guesses and predictions. In the same way when I am trying to tell you something, I can’t have your idea in my mind, but my brain, again through guesses and predictions, can construct a model (or representation) of your idea in my mind”. Without us even being consciously aware of it, our brains are constantly using the models we create to predict what will happen next as we strive to understand and communicate with others. And all of this relies on our prior knowledge, which we use to confirm or adjust our predictions, depending on positive or negative previous experience. It starts at birth, as we use our senses to explore.

So what might this imply for young children learning to communicate? It must be that richly satisfying and interesting experiences, from life or from storybooks, become the pool of ‘prior knowledge’ to predict from as children talk, read, and write. For me, this reinforces the urgency to prioritise conversing and reading abundantly with all children in their mother tongues, which they understand best.

What about you?

Carole Bloch, PRAESA

Post originally published on published here with permission from the author

Four weeks until this year’s announcement!

March 8, 2016

Today it´s four weeks until the announcement of the laureate or laureates of the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The 2016 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) Laureate will be announced at the National Library of Sweden on April 5 at 1:00 pm CET by Jury Chairman Boel Westin in connection with the jury’s final meeting. Check out the list of nominated candidates here.

Opening speakers are Ulrika Stuart Hamilton, Chair at the Swedish Arts Council, and Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minster for Culture and Democracy in Sweden.

You can also follow the announcement live on starting 12:50 pm CET.

Here are some photos from last year! Photos by Stefan Tell


Minister for Culture and Democracy Alice Bah Kuhnke and Sweden’s national librarian Gunilla Herdenberg.



Alice Bah Kuhnke and Staffan Forssell, Director General at the Swedish Arts Council.



Jury member Elina Druker (right) being interviewed.


The Artistry and Influence of Maurice Sendak

March 3, 2016

Children’s Books expert Elizabeth Kennedy has written an interesting article about the Artistry and Influence of author and illustrator Maurice Sendak. Who would have thought, she writes, that Maurice Sendak would become one of the most influential, and controversial, creators of children’s books in the twentieth century?

Born on June 10, 1928, in Brooklyn, New York and died on May 8, 2012. He was the youngest of three children, each born five years apart. His Jewish family had immigrated to the United States from Poland before World War I and were to lose many of their relatives to the Holocaust during World War II.

Sendak changed, unlike any other contemporary picture-book artist, the entire landscape of the modern picture book – thematically, aesthetically and psychologically. Primarily it is in the dozen or so books that Sendak both wrote and illustrated, where he penetrated the most secret recesses of childhood. He compared childhood to “a range of humiliation” which he happened to remember better than most other people do.
His major breakthrough was Where the Wild Things Are, 1963, where he all at once revolutionised the entire picture book narrative. Referred to as the picture book of picture books, no study of modern children’s literature has been able to ignore it. Having been translated into a great number of languages, many generations of children throughout the entire world have read the book. No picture book creator today can entirely escape Sendak’s influence.

Both Sendak’s stories and some of his illustrations were subject to controversy. For example, the nude little boy in Sendak’s picture book In the Night Kitchen was one of the reasons the book was 21st among the 100 most frequently challenged books of the decade 1990-1999 and 24th among the 100 most frequently challenged books of the decade 2000-2009.

As he went on to create other popular books and characters, there seemed to be two schools of thought. Some people felt that his stories were too dark and disturbing for children. The majority view was that Sendak, through his work, had pioneered a completely new way of writing and illustrating for, and about, children. Kennedy quotes Sendak at the his Caldecott Medal acceptance speech;

“Certainly, we want to protect our children from new and painful experiences that are beyond their emotional comprehension and that intensify anxiety; and to a point we can prevent premature exposure to such experiences. That is obvious. But what is just as obvious-and what is too often overlooked-is the fact that from their earliest years children live on familiar terms with disrupting emotions, that fear and anxiety are an intrinsic part of their everyday lives, that they continually cope with frustration as best they can. And it is through fantasy that children achieve catharsis. It is the best means they have for taming Wild Things.” (Source: Caldecott & Co.)

Sendak received a spate of awards, including two Caldecott Medals (1964 and 1974) and the Hans Christian Andersen Medal from IBBY (1970), and in 2003, he and Austrian author Christine Noestlinger shared the first Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Maurice Sendak is the modern picture-book’s portal figure. He is unparalleled in developing the picture-book’s unique possibilities of narrating – to the joy of constant new picture-book illustrators. Furthermore, he is one of the most courageous researchers of the most secret recesses of childhood – to the delight of constant new readers.
Citation by the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award jury, 2003

More to read:

Reading guide for Where the wild things are

More about Maurice Sendak


Check out our new folder

March 2, 2016


This is the new ALMA folder, check it out here. It´s available in English, Italian, German and Swedish. What do you Think?

If you want the printed version, contact us here.