Sigunsdotter's honest voice and Eriksson's sophisticated and generously distributed art come together to honour the passion of (young female) friendships, and the pain that accompanies their dissolution.

The New York Times

The Secrets of Cricket Karlsson

Winner of the prestigious Swedish August Prize 2020.

A bright, contemporary and fearless novel about an ordinary extraordinary eleven-year-old trying to win back her best friend and get her mother to stop sighing.

Cricket Karlsson is going to become an artist just like her aunt, who loves cheese and art and always speaks her mind. Not like Cricket’s mother, who is dieting and sighs at everything. But now Aunt Frannie has lost her joy and Cricket’s best friend has dumped her for the horse girls.

Eleven-year-old Cricket Karlsson is a warm and complex character with an artistic soul. Written as a diary, tween readers will fall in love with Cricket’s tough yet charming voice as she shares her secret thoughts about her best friend break-up, her Aunt’s breakdown and experimental chewing gum sculptures. Punkish and surprising comic-style illustrations perfectly compliment this coming of age story.

This is a liberating and unexpected story about growing up, fitting in, and sorting out the adults in our lives that will reach the hearts of young readers (and older ones).

Kristina Sigunsdotter is a Swedish writer, artist and playwright. She is also the founder of The Poetry Factory, a poetry workshop for children.

Ester Eriksson is an artist and cartoonist from the Netherlands.

Activity sheet | Author Q&A | Look inside video

Translated by Julia Marshall.

Ebook available wherever you buy your ebooks

  • Book Details

    Country of Origin Sweden
    Reader Age 8-12 year
    Book Size

  • Reviews

    1. School Library Journal, Betsy Bird

      Hilarious hijinks, and some smart takes on adult foibles.

    2. Poetry Box – Paula Green

      A spiky, humorous, outrageous read that is full of sad bits, gloomy bits, happy bits and bad bits. It is a book for older readers that catches your heart and makes you laugh in the same surprising breath.

    3. Dominion Post

      I loved it immensely. It’s properly funny (like, do a little snort level of funny). Without talking down to youngsters, it treats them with the respect and smarts that middle-readers deserve and in doing so perfectly captures the liminal space between childhood and adolescence.

    4. School Reading List, July book club pick

      Quite unlike anything else you’ll see or read this year.

    5. Red Reading Hub

      Quirkiness in abundance.

    6. Volume Books

      Told with the keen observation of an eleven-year-old with all the concerns of childhood and changing circumstances, the words leap off the page with feistiness, humour and pathos. It lightly touches on worries and fears while embracing the best things about being that age when you’ll still a kid, but only just. Black humour abounds and Cricket Karlsson is a star. I think I’ll pop to bed and read it again.

    7. Unity Books Auckland

      A side-splitting, heartfelt book filled with hilarious & wicked illustrations, delightfully oddball humour (recalling Hariet the Spy). The perfect read for ages 10 through 100.

    8. Dorothy Butler Children’s Bookshop

      Cricket is such a likable and quirky character. I love this reasonably short, funkily illustrated book and think it would be great for 7-12-year olds.

    9. Book Beat Bookstore

      This is a sweet book about love, need, and care in friendships.

    10. Johanna Lindbäck, Expressen

      A voice of a generation, to quote ‘Girls’.

    11. New York Times

      There is a particular intensity to young female friendships that’s rarely depicted in literature, let alone children’s literature. But Sigunsdotter’s honest voice and Eriksson’s sophisticated and generously distributed art come together to honor the passion of these friendships, and the pain that accompanies their dissolution.

    12. Publishers Weekly

      The humorously blunt first-person narrative, which includes Cricket’s numerous revealing lists…offers a sympathetic portrait of an idiosyncratic, thoughtful preteen in a period of turmoil.

Available worldwide from your local bookstore or online.

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