The librarian: Why we love working with books by ALMA laureates

May 22, 2017

For the fourth year running, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is our school-wide spring theme here at Hjulsta Elementary. Teachers, staff and students ages 6–16 have been reading, discussing and getting inspired by the ALMA laureates and Astrid Lindgren herself. Not for the last time, I’m sure!

As part of our ALMA theme, we always spend a lot of time on Astrid Lindgren. Many of our students are new immigrants to Sweden, and nearly all of them have parents born in another country. For anyone attending school in Sweden, we think Astrid Lindgren is required reading. Astrid’s characters, her language, Swedish life in the olden days – all these are things that every Swede has a relationship to. Reading Astrid’s books, and watching the first-rate films that have been based on them, unlocks an important piece of our shared cultural heritage for our students.

Reading books by the ALMA laureates also helps us see what life can be like under very different circumstances. The ALMA books introduce us to people from all over the world and from throughout history. For example, when PRAESA was recognized a few years ago, we had the chance to learn a great deal about life in South Africa.

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PRAESA visiting Hjulsta Elementary i 2015. Photo: Stefan Tell

Often we grown-ups are surprised by how powerfully our students respond to the ALMA books. The Swedish government instituted the award to recognize authors and illustrators whose work is “of the highest artistic quality and conveys the deeply humanist spirit associated with Astrid Lindgren.” Obviously, “highest artistic quality” will always be somewhat subjective, but we can tell there is something special about these books. We fall in love with them; they challenge us; above all, they get us talking. And when we think and talk about different interpretations, we grow in wisdom together. This is a joyful process – it is exhilarating to realize the importance of our thoughts, and how smart we really are when we try. And I think our ALMA theme has made us grown-ups a little braver. We have learned that books we thought might be too difficult or too “out there” can lead to very exciting discussions.

ente_tod_und_tulpe_KUNSTMANN_2007-766x1024
From Duck, Death and the Tulip, Kunstman Verlag

This spring, many of our groups were deeply affected by reading Wolf Erlbruch’s Duck, Death and the Tulip. The book led us to talk about death and how sad it is to lose the people we love, but also about how a person reaching the end of their life can be a perfectly natural thing. We also read Leonard: we laughed at the pictures, congratulated ourselves on discovering clues to the plot, and some of our students wrote their own stories and drew pictures of the things they are most afraid of.

Leonard
From Leonard, Peter Hammer Verlag

Many of the ALMA laureates take up difficult subjects in their books. Depression – death – loneliness – sad things that are not easy to talk about. We read about them and process them together, through conversation and our own creative activities. Sometimes the authors joke about the very hardest questions. But it is always done in the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, with respect for people who facing different life challenges and with optimism that difficulties can be overcome.

Many of the books by the ALMA laureates are fairly quick reads and invite a real range of interpretations. The numerous picture books work well for readers of all ages. Some of our teachers and staff like to return to the same books over and over with different student groups. We never get bored, and we learn more each time from our students’ reflections. But with such a wealth of literature, if we want to try something new there is always another book to explore.

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Interpretation of Scritch, scratch, dip, clapote by Kitty Crowther

We hope and believe that our ALMA theme has helped other schools throughout Sweden learn more about the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award and its laureates. In the hopes of inspiring others, we have been documenting our work on our website: www.världensalma.se.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award opens the door to a literary treasure chamber. We hope that many other schools around the world will seek out the treasure and have reading experiences as fantastic as ours!

/Cilla Dalén, librarian at Hjulsta Elementary School in Stockholm

H.R.H. Crown Princess of Sweden to Present German Illustrator Wolf Erlbruch with the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

May 22, 2017

H.R.H. Crown Princess of Sweden to Present German Illustrator Wolf Erlbruch with the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award

Welcome to cover the award ceremony of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017, to be presented the German Illustrator Wolf Erlbruch.

Time: Monday May 29, 6:00 – app. 7:10 pm
Venue: Stockholm Concert Hall

The award is presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on Monday 29 May 2017 attended by Alice Bah Kuhnke, Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy who is giving a speech in honor of Wolf Erlbruch.

The compere for the evening is the journalist and literary critic Mrs. Yukiko Duke. There will be artist performances and presentations of Wolf Erlbruch’s work. The prize diploma is designed by Swedish illustrator Marcus Gunnar Pettersson.

Wolf Erlbruch, born in 1948, has written some ten books of his own and illustrated nearly fifty titles by other authors. He is best known for his illustrations of The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business (1994) and Duck, Death and the Tulip (2008), which both became a great success around the world.

For accreditations and interviews
Mariella Kucer, mariella.kucer@alma.se +46 (0)76-5401017.

Images and videos
Press images and video content in broadcast quality with highlights and soundbites from the award ceremony will be available at the ALMA newsroom during the evening.

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.

Wolf Erlbruch to Sweden

May 4, 2017

Wolf Erlbruch to Sweden

The German illustrator and picturebook author Wolf Erlbruch is coming to Sweden to receive the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) and to give a public lecture. The award is presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria at a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on 29 May 2017 attended by Alice Bah Kuhnke, Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy who is giving a speech in honor of Erlbruch.

The compare is the journalist and literary critic Yukiko Duke:

– Wolf Erlbruch approaches the big life issues with warmth and humour and makes them easy to understand for the youngest readers. He is truly a worthy laureate of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world’s largest literary children’s literature prize. It is a great honor and joy for me to lead the celebration of this wonderful author and illustrator.

On May 23 at 6 pm, Wolf Erlbruch meets the readers in a lecture at Kulturhuset Stadsteatern in Stockholm. The event is open to the public and free of charge. The program for the visit in Sweden also includes meetings with children and young adults at Hjulsta grundskola and the German school in Stockholm as well as a visit to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home Näs in Vimmerby.

“Oh dear, oh dear” was Erlbruchs’s reaction when Jury Chairman Boel Westin on April 4 informed the German illustrator that he is the laureate of the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature. The choice of Wolf Erlbruch has been honored around the world and has had a great deal of media impact in Sweden and abroad.

Wolf Erlbruch, born in 1948, has written some ten books of his own and illustrated nearly fifty titles by other authors. He is best known for his illustrations of The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business (1994), which became a great success around the world.

More information on Wolf Erlbruch at www.alma.se/en
 
For interview requests and information, please contact
Mariella Kucer, Communications officer
Tel: +46 (0)76 540 10 17
E-post: mariella.kucer@alma.se

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.

Wolf Erlbruch is the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate

April 4, 2017

Wolf Erlbruch is the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award laureate

Wolf Erlbruch, born in 1948, is a German illustrator and picturebook author. He is best known for his illustrations of The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business (1994), which became a great success around the world. Wolf Erlbruch has written some ten books of his own and illustrated nearly fifty titles by other authors.

The citation of the jury reads:

Wolf Erlbruch makes existential questions accessible and manageable for readers of all ages. With humour and warmth deeply rooted in humanist ideals, his work presents the universe on our scale. He is a master of the illustrator’s art who honours tradition whilst opening new creative doors. Wolf Erlbruch is a careful and caring visionary.

“Oh Astrid I love you! She didn’t know me but I knew her for a long time through her books, which I love for her humour and sharpness. It’s everybody’s humour, it’s the kind of humour everyone can appreciate. I never believed I would receive this award but now I know it is true. I’m still in a shock and will be for some time. But it’s wonderful!” says Wolf Erlbruch in a comment to the ALMA-office.

After studying graphic design, Wolf Erlbruch worked primarily as an illustrator for magazines such as Stern and Esquire before beginning to teach. Until 2009, he was a professor of illustration and drawing at institutions such as the University of Wuppertal, where he also lives.

Erlbruch made his debut in 1985 with the illustrations for James Aggrey’s The Eagle That Would Not Fly. His first major success came five years later with The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew It Was None of His Business, with text by Werner Holzwarth – a book about an angry little mole who gets poop on his head and sets out to track down the guilty party.

Wolf Erlbruch often embarks on existential journeys, posing important questions about the meaning of life and death with both humour and clarity. Duck, Death and the Tulip (2008), a tender story in which little Duck gets a visit from Death, has been hailed as a modern classic and often described as the most beautiful book ever published about death. A simple and refined meditation on the nature of life and the omnipresence of death, it speaks to children and adults alike. One of the most controversial titles that Erlbruch has illustrated is L’ogresse en pleurs (1996), with text by Valérie Dayre. On its face a dark fairy tale about a woman who wants to devour a child, the book takes a deep look at difficult and important issues in the parent-child relationship, such as symbiosis and freedom, love and the fear of loss.

Wolf Erlbruch is an innovative illustrator. His visual style grows out of a long tradition and is characterized by strong lines and graphic precision. He often combines different techniques: collage, pencil and chalk drawing, graphic experimentation and watercolour. Animals, especially bears, make frequent turns as characters and protagonists in his stories, as in The Miracle of the Bears (2006) and The Bear Who Wasn’t There and the Fabulous Forest (2016).

Wolf Erlbruch has received numerous awards, including the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis and the Hans Christian Andersen Award for his complete works.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award will be presented by H.R.H. Crown Princess Victoria in a ceremony at the Stockholm Concert Hall on 29 May 2017.

More information
Mariella Kucer, Communications Officer
Phone: +46 (0)76 540 10 17
E-mail: mariella.kucer@alma.se

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.

Pre-alert: The world’s largest award for children and young adult literature to be announced on April 4

March 28, 2017

Pre-alert: The world’s largest award for children and young adult literature to be announced on April 4

Welcome to cover the 15th announcement of the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA), the world’s largest award for children’s and young adult literature.

The prize, which amounts to EUR 570 000, is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. Previous laureates include Philip Pullman (2005), Kitty Crowther (2010), Barbro Lindgren (2014) and Maurice Sendak (2003). Last year’s laureate was the American author Meg Rosoff.

For this year’s award, 226 candidates from 60 countries are nominated. The list of candidates is available here.
 
Alice Bah Kuhnke, Swedish Minister for Culture and Democracy is giving a speech and Jury Chairman Boel Westin will announce the laureate of 2017 on Tuesday April 4, 2017 at 12:45pm CEST at the National Library in Stockholm, Sweden. The announcement will be followed by a presentation of the laureate by the jury.

Footage and images

Press content, along with press releases, will be available on http://www.mynewsdesk.com/alma April 4th from 13:15 pm CET onwards and throughout the day:

  • Audio recording of the phone call to the laureate
  • Broadcast-quality b-roll of the announcement
  • Soundbites / interviews with the Jury Chairman
  • High-resolution still images of the event
  • In addition: images and video from the Bologna Children’s Book Fair where the announcement will be broadcasted live.

Accreditation and interviews

Please contact Mariella Kucer, Communications Officer +46 8 519 264 17 / +46 76 540 10 17, mailto:mariella.kucer@alma.se

Live broadcast

We are also able to offer media outlets the opportunity to broadcast the event live on their webpage via an embed codeOR a IP-broadcaster. If interested, please let us know by replying to this email or by contacting us at mariella.kucer@alma.se.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) is the world’s largest prize for children’s and young adult literature. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million, is awarded annually to a single recipient or to several. Authors, illustrators, oral storytellers and those active in reading promotion may be rewarded. It was founded by the Swedish government in 2002 and isrewarding one or several laureates annually regardless of language or nationality. The award is designed to promote interest in children’s and young adult literature, and in children’s rights, globally. An expert jury selects the winners from candidates nominated by institutions and organisations worldwide. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award is administered by the Swedish Arts Council.

Previous ALMA laureates:

  • 2016 Meg Rosoff
  • 2015 PRAESA
  • 2014 Barbro Lindgren
  • 2013 Isol
  • 2012 Guus Kuijer
  • 2011 Shaun Tan
  • 2010 Kitty Crowther
  • 2009 Tamerinstitutet
  • 2008 Sonya Hartnett
  • 2007 Banco del Libro
  • 2006 Katherine Paterson
  • 2005 Ryôji Arai & Philip Pullman (shared)
  • 2004 Lygia Bojunga
  • 2003 Christine Nöstlinger & Maurice Sendak (shared)

Who writes children’s books?

March 8, 2017

Since ALMA was founded in 2002, 8 women and 5 men has been awarded. For more than a century, The Nobel Prize in Literature has awarded 14 women and 99 men. Will the gender gap grow or decrease?

Not surprisingly, mostly women are committed to children’s literature (as well as children’s culture at large). Today, on International Women’s Day, we can’t help wondering: Why is this a gender issue?

International Women’s Day (March 8) is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women. Of course, we want to highlight Meg Rosoff, Barbro Lindgren, Isol, Kitty Crowther, Sonya Hartnett, Katherin Paterson, Lygia Bojunga, Christine Nöstlinger – all laureates of the worlds largest international children’s and young adult literature award. The award, which amounts to SEK 5 million,  indicates that writing for children and young adults is extremely important. Children’s and young adult’s access to literature is a precondition for democracy and openness.

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Today is the start of this year’s book sale in Sweden.

February 22, 2017

Today is the start of this year’s book sale in Sweden. Some book recommendations worth heading out in the crowd for are written by authors with ‘Lindgren’ as last name and are linked to the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award:

  • Astrid Lindgren’s “Krigsdagböcker 1939-1945” (Salikon Förlag)
  • Barbro Lindgren, laureate of Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2014, with the books about Max (“Sam”) and ”Loranga part 1 & 2”(Rabén & Sjögren)

Enjoy the Reading!

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017 to be announced on April 4th

February 21, 2017

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2017 to be announced on April 4th

The announcement of the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) takes place Tuesday April 4th 1:00 pm CET at the National Library in Stockholm. Alice Bah Kuhnke, Minister for Culture and Democracy in Sweden is giving a speech and Jury Chairman Boel Westin will announce the laureate of 2017.

The announcement will be followed by a presentation of the laureate by the jury.

The press conference will be broadcast live on www.alma.se and via a link to Bologna Children’s Book Fair, the leading international book fair for children and young people.

ALMA rewards authors, illustrators, storytellers and reading promoting individuals and organisations. For this year’s award, 226 candidates from 60 countries are nominated. The list of nominated candidates is available here.


Press contact and further information

Mariella Kucer, Communications Officer
Phone: +46 76 540 10 17
E-mail: mariella.kucer@alma.se

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.

– Anne-Marie, Why do you read?

December 1, 2016

ann-marie-korling– Why do you read a group of teenage boys asked me. I wanted to tell them that I read because it is the cheapest way of travelling to distant places, after a page or two you find yourself absorb into a different world, and that ticket cost you nothing at all.

I wanted to say this, but I didn’t. Then I thought that I could tell them that I just happened to have opened that book and had found myself so absorbed I found it impossible to put it down again. And perhaps I should tell them about my father, who died when I was little and how I find myself adopting fathers in the books I read, and there are so many dads to choose from.

 The boys stared at me, waiting for my response. But I couldn’t explain to them why I read. It is important for me to read, I wanted to say, because I can be someone else when I read, someone other than myself, I can be a lonely old man sitting on a step and sometimes I’m friends with someone who tells me everything about themselves with no worries in the world. I can wear a knight’s armour, ride a horse like a god, travel around the world and go to school in a town in India.

 – But honestly, why do you read, the boys asked me. They sat down on the steps where I was sitting. I told them I would happily read aloud to them and opened the book wide.

 And even if the book didn’t start with “Once upon a time”, it was as if it did, because that book grabbed us instantly, the way a good book does. Astrid Lindgren had likened it to the bite of a northern pike. When you find yourself completely hooked. As I read the words of the story enveloped us and as I finished, it was with a massive splash, the splash of a wild pike batting his tail in the water.

 The boys wanted more and asked me maybe I could re-read a paragraph or two, the bit in the text that had gripped them the most. I did as they wanted, thinking about that brave teacher who read Winnie the Pooh to my son and his classmates when they were seventeen, dramatizing the story with different voices and impressions for each character. He whimpered out Piglets worried words and sounded as down and despairing as Ior. They laughed together at his storytelling, but also unknowingly mirrored themselves in the book, it told them it was ok to be whoever you are.

 –Why don’t we read more? One of the boys asked. Now the question was suddenly more open and no longer directed at me. Why don’t we read? Yes, why don’t we? I closed the book and told them I had to leave. As I walk away, I hear them shout after me. “Oy, you, what was the book you were reading called?”

 

Anne-Marie Körling

Children’s Laureate, Stockholm

 

 

 

Jury member Anna Höglund Awarded The Astrid Lindgren Prize

November 15, 2016

Yesterday the writer and illustrator Anna Höglund was awarded the Astrid Lindgren Prize, established by publishing house Rabén & Sjögren in 1967 to mark Astrid Lindgren’s 60th birthday. This is prize is given annually on November 14th to writers for children and YA.

The citation of the jury reads:

Anna Höglund’s stories and pictures are poetic and precise, original and beautiful, timely and timeless. She writes about relationships, emotions and identities, about being young and growing up, in ways that resonate and linger with readers of all ages.

Anna Höglund was born in 1958 in Stockholm and is considered one of Sweden’s leading illustrators. She has worked with many well-known writers such as Barbro Lindgren, Ulf Stark and Gunnar Lundkvist. She made her debut in 1982 with Sagan om pannkakan (The Pancake Story) and has since published over 20 books, many of which have been translated from Swedish into other languages.

Her work has been recognized through several Swedish and international awards, including the 1994 Zilveren Penseel award in the Netherlands and the 1995 Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis in Germany, which she shared with Ulf Stark for Kan du vissla Johanna? (Can You Whistle, Johanna?), the 1996 Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis for Resor jag aldrig gjort (Journeys I Have Never Made), and the 1998 Pier Paolo Vergerio European Prize for Children’s Literature for Mina och Kåge (Mina and Kåge). Her latest book, Om detta talar man endast med kaniner (This Is Something You Talk About Only With Rabbits), received the Snowball award in Sweden for the best picture book of 2013.