Time flies so rapidly for us at the moment, already November!
I wrote about some nice autumn books a while ago at Lille Nord and thought I would share these beauties here as well. Autumn is the perfect time for reading!
The beautiful and poetic Pappersväxten [The Paper Vegetation] written and illustrated by Swedish Josefin Sundqvist and published by one of our favourite Swedish publishers, Urax, is about the lonely boy Edgar, who collects tiny seeds in jars, tells stories alone in the darkness and draws maps of a co-existing imaginative world. The other kids in school don’t seem to understand him; he’s an outsider and doesn’t fit into the predefined social space of a school class. But one day something happens: One of his seeds begins to sprout, and a strong vegetation grows its way out of the class room, passing windows and buildings up towards the rooftops of the city where Edgar finds a new friend. The story is both full of hope and sorrow, and Josefin Sundqvist’s illustrations are dense with their refined patterns and wealth of details. They are like fertile seeds themselves, spreading their vegetation all over the paper. The imaginative world that Edgar excessively draws becomes real, and something grows to unforeseen strength both inside himself and in his universe. The colours and the mood of the book are perfect companions for an autumn day with time to talk about more serious topics like loneliness, exclusion and friendships with the kids. The book has something to offer for all ages.
The books by the iconic Swedish illustrator and writer Eva Lindström are also perfect for autumn reading with their dreamlike and magic depiction of nature. In En Fågeldag [A Birdday] we follow two bird kids, Lena and Bosse, throughout a very normal day in a bird’s life – we see what they play, what they eat, what their parents tell them to do, and what they do in secret. Frida Viola (5 years) and Molly (2 years) are giggling every time we read about their meals – it’s so funny to see the birds set around a typically family dinner table with cutlery and porcelain eating flies, worms and mosquitos! We follow the family in all its everydayness, with duties and quarrels – so well-known and familiar and yet so funny and curious.
In Vi är Vänner we meet the little girl Lilly. Deep in the forest she becomes best friends with the Hare and the Slow worm. During a summer we see what they do, and mostly what they don’t. They look up into the trees and the leaves, they sit quietly in the forest bed, they talk. And, says the text, “they were both having fun and were bored, they were both sad and happy”. When autumn comes the slow worm leaves to go into hibernation. “How do we know, you will come back again”, Lilly and the hare ask – “we don’t know”, is the brief answer. And then winter comes with cold and loneliness, and the three friends are longing for spring and being together. It’s a beautiful book about unconditional friendship, about just being and doing nothing together without questioning our differences. The animals are wild and can’t be held or owned – just as it should be in any friendship. The story about a girl making friendship with wild animals is exciting for all ages, while the deeper considerations about the meaning of friendship is an added bonus for older kids.