Posts Tagged ‘children’s books’

New book award for Sonya Hartnett

August 19, 2013
Sonya Hartnett at the National Library of Australia. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Sonya Hartnett at the National Library of Australia. Photo: Jeffrey Chan

Three children have been sent to live in the countryside, safe from the war in London. When they find two boys hiding in a castle, the past and future come together to make an extraordinary adventure.

That´s the story of Children of the King (2012) by Sonya Hartnett, which last Friday was announced as winner of the Younger Readers Book of the Year 2013 by the Children’s Book Council of Australia (CBCA).

Sonya Hartnett received the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2008, with the following jury citation:

Sonya Hartnett is one of the major forces for renewal in modern young adult fiction. With psychological depth and a concealed yet palpable anger, she depicts the circumstances of young people without avoiding the darker sides of life. She does so with linguistic virtuosity and a brilliant narrative technique; her works are a source of strength.

Sonya has received numerous awards, and among these the CBCA’s Book of the Year for The Silver Donkey (2005) and The Midnight Zoo (2011). She comments last week’s announcement in the Brisbane News:

“When you get a book like The Children of the King you can feel it’s good from the start. The good ones feel as if they’re already written and you’re just transcribing them.”

Cover of Children of the King.

Cover of The Children of the King.

Follow the announcement live on our web

March 22, 2013
The announcement takes place in Vimmerby, the birthplace of Astrid Lindgren. The cultural centre is situated next to Astrid Lindgren's childhood home. Photo: Emma Jansson.

The announcement takes place in Vimmerby, the birthplace of Astrid Lindgren. The cultural centre is situated next to Astrid Lindgren’s childhood home. Photo: Emma Jansson.

The announcement of this year’s recipient can be followed live on our web, starting 12.50 on Tuesday. It will be followed by a short presentation of the recipient by one of the jury members. Watch jury member Elina Druker’s presentation of last year’s recipient Guus Kuijer here.

Like the previous years, the announcement in Vimmerby will be streamed by link to the international children’s book fair in Bologna, which is very special for us this year as Sweden as the first Nordic country is guest of honor. The Swedish Minister for Culture, Lena Adelsohn Liljeroth will participate in the ALMA press conference, something we of course are very happy for.

2012 announcement in Bologna. Photo: Stefan Tell.

2012 announcement in Bologna. Photo: Stefan Tell.

Get under the surface of the recipients’ works

January 11, 2013


Today, we launch reading guides for twelve works by ten previous recipients. The reading guides contain an introduction of the author, description of the contents, a suggested interpretation and topics for discussions. They can be a really good way to get under the surface of our recipient’s books. Many thought-provoking questions are put forward, such as Does the reader feel sympathy with the man in the story, and if so why? (The arrival) Why is it so important for Gilly to do well at school and come top in all the tests? (The Great Gilly Hopkins) There are different kinds of friendship – one is the kind between an adult/old person and a child/young person. How does such a friendship differ from one between people of the same age? (My Friend the Painter).

Award director Helen Sigeland comments the launch in this morning’s press release:

– The Astrid Lindgren Memorial is not just an award focusing on a specific writer, illustrator or organisation when the award is presented, it is an ongoing reading promotion project. We are promoting the best books in the world for young people in as many ways as possible. Hopefully these reading guides will inspire teachers and librarians to include these books in curriculums, reading clubs and workshops. And maybe they can give publishing houses ideas for translations!

The guides are based on the following books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Maikäfer, flieg! (Fly Away Home) by Christine Nöstlinger, O Meu Amigo Pintor (My Friend the Painter) by Lygia Bojunga, Northen Lights by Philip Pullman, Basu ni Notte by Ryôji Arai, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, The Ghost’s Child by Sonya Hartnett, The Devil Latch by Sonya Hartnett, Alors? by Kitty Crowther, Lénfant Racine by Kitty Crowther, The Arrival by Shaun Tan and Het Boek Van Alle Dingen(The Book of Everything) by Guus Kuijer.

The reading guides are written by members of the jury who are experts in children’s and young adult literature.

Link to Reading Guides here.

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.)

Good Dragon and Bad Dragon

December 18, 2012


2003 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award recipient Christine Nöstlinger has recently launched book Good Dragon and Bad Dragon, with illustrations by Jens Rassmus. Her publishing house Residenz Verlag describe the book as “a truly refreshing story on being courageous and encouraging others, unique in its wisdom and funny as only Christine Nöstlinger’s stories can be”. The story revolves around young Florian, who´s got two dragons, a good one and a bad one;

And only he can see them and no one else! Together, the three of them are invincible. Good Dragon and Bad Dragon are always there for Florian. But when they are about to leave for their vacation, Florian is really surprised: They are afraid of the sea! Fortunately, Florian’s mum has an idea: They need dragon floaties! But where to get them? Online, of course! And then, all set up with invisible floaties and a lot of fun, Florian encourages his dragons to try something new…

Guadalajara International Book Fair coming up

October 29, 2012

Four weeks to go until the opening of the Guadalajara International Book Fair (FIL) in Mexico on November 24. This is the most important publishing gathering in Ibero-America, and the second largest book fair in the world after the Frankfurt Book Fair. ALMA will participate as usual, and it is award Director Helen Sigeland’s first visit to Guadalajara:

–The Guadalajara International Book Fair is an important forum of us in our efforts to increase awareness of ALMA worldwide. We have very good experiences of our relationship with the book fair, and I am very much looking forward to making new contacts, sharing experiences and getting more knowledge on literature from this part of the world. And of course to experience the amazing book fair itself!

ALMA is also represented by Mats Berggren, author and member of the jury, who is invited to lecture on reading promotion and previous ALMA recipients.

The book fair is open between November 24 and December 2, and applies to both the general public and professionals. Last year, publishing houses from 43 countries exhibited at the fair and the number of visitors exceeded 659 000. More information here.

The FIL Press Conference announcing the 2012 program.Photo: Guadalajara Book Fair.

Brussells Books

October 23, 2010

Brussels has more to offer than moules frites, waffles and chocolate. If instead you are looking for food for thought, visit the book store Tropismes. Located  in the stunning 19th century Galleries of Saint-Hubert, a mere praline’s throw away from Grand Place, it carries a superb selection of Belgian, French and Dutch picture books – making it the ideal place to get an instant overview of what is happening in terms of illustration in the region.

And yes, chocolatier Neuhaus is just next door …