Is it time for the children to participate and decide - for real?

Press release from the Swedish Children's Book Institute March 27, 2019

In 2018, 2,308 children's and youth books were published in Sweden and for the first time since 2010, the number of titles issued decreases. This is shown by the Swedish Children's Book Institute's Book Testing which is presented today at. 13. The focus of the 2018 publication is mainly on paying attention to injustice, making social and economic differences visible and engaging children in protest actions.

During the 2000s the annual number of children’s books published has more than doubled, but in 2018 this number decreased for the first time since 2010. On February 28 2019 the Swedish Institute for Children’s Books had received 2,308 children’s and young adult books published in 2018. That is 224 titles (nine percent) less than in 2017. However, the decrease is not the result of a general reduction in titles published, but is instead primarily due to changes in publishing strategies made by individual publishers. The statistics also show that the Swedish originals continue to dominate among the children’s books published in Sweden.

In recent years, social issues have been a common theme in Swedish books for children and young adults, and in 2018 this was more prominent than ever. These stories primarily focus on drawing attention to injustice, making visible social and economic differences, and questioning power structures. Children’s role as citizens with rights is underlined, and children are encouraged to actively engage in issues that concern them. Put together, these children’s books raise an important question: is it time to listen to the children – for real?

Picturebooks continues to be the biggest category. The picturebooks of 2018 include a number of titles where the depiction of the body plays a central role. This is especially noticeable in the Swedish originals. The emphasis on body shapes and norms is characteristic of the socially oriented picturebook, which aims to highlight and normalize different types of bodies. For example, this includes the portrayal of skin colour, disabilities, body size, and age.

In this year’s Book Tasting we also take a closer look at horse stories, and in particular themes of violence and cruelty to animals in horse stories, stories that address suicide and the death of a loved one, as well as works that reinterpret or allude to classic fairy tales.

The Swedish Children's Book Institute has the task of collecting all children's and youth books published in Sweden and has since 1993 carried out the Book Testing.

Place: The Z-hall, the ABF-house, Sveavägen 41, Stockholm
Time: kl. 13-16.30

Plug: Lillemor Torstensson, Swedish Children's Book Institute, +46 8 54 54 20 51, lillemor.torstensson@barnboksinstitutet.se

The Swedish Institute for Children's Books
Odengatan 61, 113 22 Stockholm