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On the side of children: Emma AdBåge








We've read three books by Swedish author/illustrator Emma AdBåge: one in English (the only one that's been translated from Swedish, published by Enchanted Lions back in 2018), and her two latest books published in Italian in 2020 by CameloZampa and Beisler Editore.


I loved Emma's fresh, distinctive style that the books have in common. It's as light, airy and spontaneous as the children she observes and represents. 

A camping adventure in the living room, a f birthday party we don't want to attend, adults wanting to play safe games at recess.. All very familiar:) The storytelling is easy and fun, the colour palette mixes natural tones and pastels.

We particularly enjoyed reading 'La Buca' with which Emma was awarded the Premio Andersen 2020 in Italy as best book 6/9 y (I would say the book is suitable for a wider audience though, from three to nine).

It tells the story of a special play, a 'hole'  in the school backyard, next to the playground, where the class loves to play at recess. Climbing fallen trees, sliding down, hide, run, pretend, dig, rolling around, get dirty. But the teachers say that it's not safe, that they need to play on the swings, SLOWLY.
One day XXX actually falls and her nose bleeds, she had tripped over her shoelaces while walking down the steps.
The hole suddenly disappears over the weekend, but grown ups can't see everything children see...
Emma celebrates open-ended play and children's natural drive towards it, whilst giving a stern look at the dull world of grown ups.

They might seem very very simple stories (nothing wrong with it) and lacking a deep moral message, but the thing is, not all stories serve the same function. Some books do not necessarily 'teach' something, they are there for children to see themselves in the story and feel accepted.
Emma AdBåge always tells the story from the child's perspective: children's feelings, needs and wishes, even the irrational ones, are acknowledged and taken with a smile but very seriously. As it is children's natural ability of transforming little things in big adventures. We can't keep ourselves from being a little jealous.















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