Winter reading tips

Christmas vacation is almost upon us. How to fill the days? With a book! Books fuel our imaginations, keep us company when we’re alone, and open the doors to brand new worlds. Here are some tips from the ALMA office and jury: some of our favorite books, written by ALMA laureates. Perfect to read alone or together. Happy Reading from us at ALMA!

# Jury member Annika Edlund’s book tip:

The Runaways by Ulf Stark and Kitty Crowther (2019)
Grandpa is in the hospital. He’s not a very popular patient, but his grandson Ulf is very fond of him. The feeling is mutual: something hard for Ulf’s dentist father to understand. So they decide to plan an escape. No surprise that it turns out to be a magical, if slightly strenuous weekend. Pastel drawings by Kitty Crowther underlay the text with light and dark, anger and joy, dreams and reality, all melding into a gorgeous whole. I love it!

# Jury member Maria Lassén-Segers book tip:

Mrs. Meier the Bird by Wolf Erlbruch (1997)
Leaning in and caring for others can have unexpected consequences. Worrywart Mrs. Meier saves an abandoned baby bird and devotes herself to teaching it to fly, the result is nothing short of a miracle! A feel-good story in words and pictures for all ages.

# Jury member Mårten Sandén’s book tip:

Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson (1977)
This story is a nearly perfect example of how everyday life can reflect things that really don’t happen every day. The story of Jess and Leslie’s friendship is an easy read for everyone, but for those who can read between the lines, a whole world is waiting to be discovered.

# Jury member Lena Kåreland’s book tip:

Brown Girl Dreaming by Jacqueline Woodson (2014)
If you haven’t read Jacqueline Woodson’s autobiographical story about a young black girl’s upbringing and family, you’re in for a treat. The lyrical prose, visual and rhythmic, surges across the page, pulling readers into a story that moves between South Carolina and Brooklyn. We learn about America’s history of racial oppression and violence, but also about hope and belief in the future.

# Director Helen Sigeland’s book tip:
The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer (2006)

How do you become happy? By learning not to be afraid! That’s the lesson 12-year-old Thomas learns from a kind but slightly strange neighbor lady. Thomas lives in constant fear of his mean father, who is strictly religious and hits both Thomas and his mother. The novel is set in the 1950s, but sadly, it could have been written today. Just like Astrid Lindgren, Guus Kuijer defends every child’s right to their own life, thoughts, and opinions. When Kuijer won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award in 2012, the jury wrote, “Respect for children is as self-evident in his works as his rejection of intolerance and oppression.” Guaranteed to be a momentous read for everyone ten and up!

# Jury member Mats Kempe’s book tip:

Tales From Outer Suburbia by Shaun Tan (2009)
In fifteen short texts, Shaun Tan opens a door onto the subtle mysteries of our everyday life. Ordinary people experience strange phenomena, unique events that often pass us by, misunderstood or even unremarked. Tales From Outer Suburbia is both realistic and mysterious, agonized and redemptive. The amazing stories interplay with mystical, fantastical illustrations. One of the best books in the world!

# Jury chair Boel Westin’s book tip:

How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff (2004)
Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from New York to the English countryside to spend the summer with an aunt and four cousins she has never met. Her aunt has to leave soon after Daisy arrives and the five cousins are left alone in the big house. The next day, England is occupied by an unnamed enemy. A deeply moving story about what happens when your whole world is upended. Intensely narrated; every word is exciting. Impossible to put down.

# Communications officer Mariella Kucer’s book tip:

Cicada by Shaun Tan (2018)
Cicada works at an office and his co-workers are not that nice. One day he is fired. But just when things seem at their lowest, something unbelievable happens… A beautiful, thought-provoking book for anyone who has ever felt trampled on or invisible. Don’t be deterred if the plot sounds dark: this is a book that can start amazing conversations between children and adults. A book for all ages!