|Päivi Nordling writes about the Finnish debate on immigration
and about a seminar where this topic was discussed in relation to children’s
literature. The prevailing opinion at the seminar was that children’s books
tend to include a passive token immigrant. Thus, there is a need for books
today that represent children of different ethnic backgrounds equally and
Together with a group of 12 to 14-year-olds, Markku Töllinen has explored how children choose their reading matter. The cover, the blurb, and the first pages are crucial. Other attractive features are adventure, excitement, humour and strange settings.
Panu Söderström and Anna Takala reports how children’s literature is part of the election debate in Sweden. Targeted issues are e.g. the role of school and the equality of reading in terms of economy, ethnicity and gender.
Pirjo Suvilehto writes about developing the emotional life and language skills of babies in so called “word art” (sanataide) groups, where adults introduce babies to nursery rhymes and songs through eye contact and touch. In Finnish “word art schools” a child can study from babyhood until puberty.
Sirpa Sipinen examines the Harry Potter -novels as boarding school stories. She shows that Rowling follows the tradition of the genre when depicting settings, characters, plots and sets of values, such as the joy of learning and the importance of sports. Still, Hogwarts is a modern school, characterised by internationality and ethnic diversity, open for pupils of both sexes. The skilful mix of traditional and modern traits is part of the success of the Potter-series.
Emma Kaukiainen writes about Lewis Carroll’s classic Alice´s Adventures in Wonderland and maps its influence on popular culture, such as movies, TV-series, computer games and trendy expressions. The latest Alice-versions tend to abandon childhood innocence in favour of accentuating horror. Kaukiainen also comments on Tim Burton’s new movie Alice in Wonderland, claiming that it gives viewers a fine visual experience but remains a shallow adventure story. Carroll’s absurd logic, wordplay and riddles are sorely missed.
Arja Kanerva presents the 2010 Children’s Book Fair in Bologna, especially the illustration exhibitions, the Bolibri-event for children, and the award-winners. Riitta Kuivasmäki describes the current state of the International Institute for Children's Literature in Osaka, which has been diminished and affiliated with the main city library. Kuivasmäki is worried about the Grimm-award and the future of the fellowship-programme.
Tuuli Pollari compares Finnish picturebook illustrations to printed patterns on textiles for children. She concludes that textile patterns, which year after year produce similar animal and alphabet patterns, are more stereotypical than book illustrations. Yet just like books, printed textiles offer children artistic stimuli, which means that their contents could be more expressive and modern.
Two Moomin-exhibitions are announced in the news section. Until October 31st, The Päivälehti museum in Helsinki hosts the interactive commemorative exhibition The Great Adventure: Moomin Family 65 Years, showing e.g. Moomin-animations and Tove Jansson-documentaries; whereas the Belgian Comic Strip Center in Brussels shows Tove and Lars Jansson’s original comic strips until August 29th.
Translation: Maria Lassén-Seger