Archive for the ‘Kitty Crowther’ Category

Kitty Crowther writes for picturebookmakers blog

October 22, 2014


Today Kitty Crowhter writes for the picturebookmakers blog! Here, Kitty talks about the creation of her latest picturebook, ‘Mère Méduse’ (Mother Medusa), and she shares some enchanting sketches and illustrations. This striking picturebook about the maternal bond is published in French by Pastel—l’école des loisirs:

Kitty: It’s the fiftieth anniversary of l’école des loisirs in 2015. I used to read those books as a child and loved them over and over. I’ve now been working with Pastel—l’école des loisirs for twenty years. My latest book with them will be released in November 2014. It’s called ‘Mère Méduse’. To translate the title into English, I would say ‘Mother Medusa’ and not ‘Mother Jellyfish’. Even though medusa and jellyfish are connected.

Continue reading at Kitty’s blogpost here.

Hello Kitty!

November 7, 2013
Kitty and Jonte Nynäs at the Nordic Watercolor Museum.

Kitty and Jonte Nynäs at the Nordic Watercolor Museum.

Yesterday Belgian illustrator and author Kitty Crowther visited the Nordic Watercolor Museum in Sweden to talk about her book Le petit homme et Dieu (approx. The Little Man and God, our transl.). Her visit was part of the museum’s work towards exploring the potential of pictorial storytelling. Le petit homme et Dieu is about the friendship between a boy and his little unusual friend – God. Does God exist? If she/he exist – who is she/he?

– There are so many ways to believe, Kitty told the audience. I believe in everything you can´t see.

She also talked about the fact the ending of her stories is not always certain when she starts writing them.

–I do have an idea, but I cannot formulate it until I´m actually there. And I don´t create stories, the stories choose me.

Kitty Crowther received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2010.

The Swedish edition (Rabén&Sjögren) Den lille mannen och Gud.

The Swedish edition (Rabén&Sjögren) Den lille mannen och Gud.

Recipients emphasize children’s right to culture

February 26, 2013


Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

“The right to culture is the right to liberation from the restrictions imposed by education,” according to the Dutch author Guus Kuijer, last year’s recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. His words are especially relevant in the context of the world’s largest book fair for children’s and young adult literature, which takes place in Bologna, Italy, from 25 to 28 March.

Children’s right to culture is the overall theme of Sweden’s presence as the first Nordic guest of honour at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Children’s right to culture is all about the right of children to participate in society and have access to art, culture and information. It is also about giving children a voice in the form of good-quality children’s and young adult literature.

A genuine children’s perspective is something that is shared by all the authors, illustrators and reading advocates who have received the annual Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Shaun Tan, illustrator and author, was the 2011 recipient:

“Imagination is arguably the key to all success, and also freedom from a certain tyranny of mediocre thought, low expectation and closed mindedness. Imagination is also a fragile thing; although it seems to be a natural talent every child is born with, it can be easily blunted or malnourished unless it remains exposure to a broad range of creative thinking. Books in particular remind us that the world is constructed through imagination as much as real-life experience, and so leave us empowered to think about new possibilities. “

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

Illustrator and author Kitty Crowther, who received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Prize in 2010, has a broader view of Children’s right to culture:

“It’s not just children. This is the right of everybody. That is why the little local libraries are of huge importance; with non-sedentary activities where the generations are mingled.”

Photo: Stefan Tell

Photo: Stefan Tell

The uncompromising child’s eye view is a constant presence in Guus Kuijer’s work, and the platform for an insightful portrayal of the adult world through his main protagonists. He will be appearing at the Salaborsa library in Bologna on 27 March at 2 pm. The recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2013 will be announced the day before.

Why not read a really good book?

December 21, 2012

We suspect that many of you blog readers might have some lazy vacation days in front of you now. Why not read a really good book? Here are some suggestions from the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Mats Berggren. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Mats Berggren

Mats Berggren, member of the jury:

I´ll put your letters under the mattress – A correspondence 1971 – 2002 (our transl.) by Astrid Lindgren and Sara Schwardt (Salikon 2012). The best book I´ve read this fall. I was expecting some Astrid Lindgren curiosities, but this is something much more. Sara’s drama, which emerges through the letters, is captivating, I read the entire book at one sitting to find out how it went. She writes well, she is after all only 12 years old when the book begins. There is a directness in the teenage heart that makes me think of Barbro Lindgren’s books. Astrid is very skilled at being personal enough to get Sara to open herself. A the same time you get clues about Astrid herself – she complains about how hard it is to write, it took an entire spring to finish the last two chapters of the Brothers Lionheart.

Elina Druker. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Elina Druker


Elina Druker, member of the jury:

I´d like to recommend Kitty Crowther’s Le Petit Homme et Dieu (Pastel 2010,The Little Man and God , our transl., not yet published in English), a picture book about a little man who meets a strange creature in the forest, a creature that turns out to be God. The book, which is skillfully translated by Lennart Hellsing, is a fun but also staggering story that raises news thoughts and questions, and is perfect for both younger and older readers.

Helen Sigeland.

Helen Sigeland

Helen Sigeland, Director:

The Children of the King by Sonya Hartnett (Penguin Australia 2012) is set in World War II England. Two children, Cecily and Jeremy, are sent to live in the country to escape the bombing in London. The two siblings and ten-year-old May soon find mysterious ruins and learn about a terrible legend involving two missing children relating to Richard III. This is a wonderful thrilling novel about power and effect of war for (young) adults. Read it!

Annika Edlund.

Annika Edlund

Annika Edlund, member of the jury:

I can recommend the book Florian Knol by Guus Kuijer (Querido 2006). Florian is an ordinary boy with an unusually large and red hair. A small sparrow sits on his head and Florian names the sparrow Nico. Katya from his school, who is a grade above him, explains that she is in love with him, and that makes Florian’s tummy tickle. At the same time he’s thinking about whether he´s really ready for love, or if he is mature enough to take care of an old person…
… because in the neighboring house old Mrs Raaphorst lives, and she has forgot her key. That´s in itself not that serious, but Florian is perplexed as she talks about a fork when she apparently means a key. There is something very confusing about this. Together with Katya, he decides to help the old lady, whom they call granny.

The book of Florian Knol is a wonderful story about understanding, forgetfulness and love, written by this year’s award recipient, Guus Kuijer. The book was published in 2006 in Dutch, and this year in Swedish. I was delighted and had such a good feeling in my whole body while reading this book. It´s a philosophical and loving book for everyone.

(All images above are taken by photographer Stefan Tell.)

Interview with Kitty Crowther

December 7, 2012

Kitty in Sweden

Author and illustrator Kitty Crowther is climbing the top list of the Swedish book charts with her illustrations of the Astrid Lindgren Christmas classic “Tomten är vaken”. Last week she visited Stockholm to promote the book, and was interviewed by Radio Sweden.

Listen to the interview here.

New Astrid Lindgren book illustrated by Kitty Crowther

October 22, 2012
Photo: Stefan Tell

Kitty Crowther, illustrator and recipient of the 2010 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, is in the limelight this week with a new book, written by no other than Astrid Lindgren! Tomten är vaken (Rabén&Sjögren) was written by Astrid Lindgren during the 1960s, and has never been published in Sweden before. Kitty Crowther describes the book about the Swedish Tomte (garden gnome – not Santa Claus!) as a very warm, comforting, almost healing story.

Kitty, how come you started this project?

Birgitta Westin, from Rabén&Sjögren, had the idea of inviting me to illustrate this story. It seems that the manuscript was languishing in a cupboard, until the German publisher died, and the text reverted to the Lindgren family. They then asked Rabéns if the story could be republished. When I had the proposal, I was thrilled, and apparently the Lindgren family was happy that I would be the illustrator. It´s almost like a nice roundabout, my being awarded the Astrid Lindgren prize, and then illustrating one of her stories.

Tell us about the story!

It´s a very warm, comforting, almost healing story. I just love the Tomte, he is such a fantastic character. Nothing is really said about him but you get to know him from the way the story develops. Astrid is such a powerful story teller. You understand, without realizing that you understand. The story is about a Tomte watching over a farm and all its living creatures. In the middle of the cold winter he goes and checks that all are fine. Winter is there, and very chilly, and the Tomte has his magic language giving hope and warmth, that goes straight to your heart. He is, however, a lonely Tomte. He is so shy, so ancient, part of the beliefs of the old world. So I am very happy to go back to that form of energy. Life is going too fast, these days!

What was it like to illustrate the book, can you describe your work process?

At first I found it very difficult to find the right character, or to invite the Tomte to my pages. This took ages, till, after a long while, I found him, and could not stop smiling when he was under my pencil. The other difficulty is that this is a very traditional, classic  story. I have to respect its energy. But luckily  I just love snow. And I love drawing animals. I wanted them to be very real. I have been checking the works of others, notably Rien Poortvliet`s farm pictures. And only when I had found the style I wanted, I checked out Victor Rydberg on the internet. The northern lights was the perfect idea.

I just love this greenish glow in the night sky, but it is quite difficult to do a story set entirely at night.
I actually had a Viktor Rydberg Christmas book as a child. So I knew what his Tomte looked like, although I was confused about his size. For, in Nils Anderson he is very small, flying on the back of a goose.

When we interviewed you for our 10 year anniversary, you said that “I am connected to Astrid. She is an incredible person. I can almost feel her smile.” What were your feelings working with this project?

Just fantastic! I first read the story in a library a few days ago. I could sense Astrid smiling, and it was amazing and wonderful to win the ALMA prize, but it is even more amazing to have her name and mine side by side. People tell me that it´s the perfect story for me to illustrate.

Do you believe in Santa Claus?

Of course! Who doesn`t (but not the coca cola one!) I believe in many things that I don`t see. When you look at the character of Santa Claus, and do some research, it´s very, very interesting. And a very very old ritual, about darkness and light. Winter to Spring, when it starts to get difficult to find warmth and food.

I will shortly be attending the Montreuil book fair in Paris, one of some eigth illustrators. The theme isto be “adventure”, and it has been a great adventure, illustrating Astrid´s book. When talking to my friend, the Director of the fair, Sylvie Vassallo, she pointed out that Astrid´s book is the perfect Christmas book, and even though the Francophone world doesn`t know about Tomten. Indeed it is a difficult word to translate. Portvliet says “Gnome”, which is impossible in French. So the solution we found is Lutin, close to the fairy world. For the book will also be published in French, by Pastel, very shortly.

The story is not about Santa Claus, because the Tomte is a very “bienveillant” person. He offers no presents, but himself, his time, and magic language, giving hope and comfort. He is such a loving creature. The book is about nature, and all its myths and legends.

Interview with Kitty Crowther for the 10th anniversary of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, here.

This fall will be an exciting book season

August 15, 2012

Photo: Opal

In September, Guus Kuijer´s Florian Knol will be published in Swedish by book agency Opal (“Florian Knol – ett alldeles vanligt kaos”). The protagonist is Florian, a philosophical young man of about 10 who discovers that what is normal for one person may seem strange to another. A sparrow takes up residence one day in Florian’s red hair, but it soon turns out that the sparrow actually lives in the hair of an old lady, also a redhead. The old lady has dementia, as Florian and his classmate Katja soon realize. But how can they help her? And is it really any stranger to refer to keys as forks than to drink beer for breakfast like Katja’s father? Florian realizes that there are some problems that adults have to fix for themselves, but that friendship across the generational divide is both possible and rewarding. The book was first published (in Dutch) in 2006.

And shortly, Swedish readers can enjoy 2011 ALMA recipient Shaun Tan´s Tales from Outer Suburbia (“Berättelser från yttre förorten”), published by Kabusa. This anthology contains 15 stories from his upbringing in the suburbs; “Yet I think it is also a fine substitute for the medieval forests of fairytale lore, a place of subconscious imaginings. I’ve always found the idea of suburban fantasy very appealing”, Shaun Tan says.

In October, Rabén&Sjögren will publish something quite unique, the story Tomten är vaken (Santa Claus is awake, our transl.), written by Astrid Lindgren herself, with illustrations by 2010 ALMA recipient Kitty Crowther. The manuscript was written around 1960, and has never been published in Sweden before.

Shaun Tan and Kitty Crowther meet in Stockholm

May 17, 2011

Fans of picture books will have an exclusive opportunity to see two of the world’s leading artists meet in Stockholm on Monday the 30th at 3 pm.

They are illustrators of the same age and have both been selected as recipients of the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. But they come from different continents and have very different artistic expressions. On Monday, May 30th, this year’s recipient of The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Shaun Tan, meets the Belgian illustrator Kitty Crowther, the 2010 recipient.

Monday May 30th at 3:00 p.m.
The Riksdag Library, Storkyrkobrinken 7A.
Open to everyone, but limited seating. Free admission.  The presentation is in English.
Moderator is the journalist Gunilla Kindstrand.

For the complete award week program please visit


Images from the announcement

April 2, 2011
Now a few days after the frenzy surrounding the announcement of the 2011 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award it’s time to share some images.
At 1 pm on the 29th Larry Lempert, the chairman of the jury stepped up on the podium to announce Shaun Tan‘s name and read the jury’s citation.
At the same time at the Bologna Book Fair, the audience was ready to see the announcement broadcasted from Vimmerby. In the audience were several representatives of the nominating bodies, nominated candidates as well as previous winners – such as Kitty Crowther:
The crowd cheered as Shaun Tan’s name was announced! And a toast was raised at the stand of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award stand.

Swedish writers at Salon du Livre

March 18, 2011

This year Salon du Livre looks north. Under the heading Les Lettres Nordiques, 40 Nordic authors will participate in debates and seminars, the largest number ever.

The Swedish authors writing for children and young adults include Annika Thor, Ulf Nilsson, Johanna Thydell and Ingrid Olsson. A large exhibition of Nordic books in their original languages and in translation into French will be on display.

Also, the 2010 recipient of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Kitty Crowther will be there! She will talk about her work in the Nordic Pavillion on Monday, together with Jury Member Ulla Rhedin. Here you will find the details of the program.

For an interesting overview of Nordic children’s literature (in French), we recommend this article in Le Monde.

So if you are planning to meet spring in Paris – don’t miss Salon du Livre.