In our current political climate, it is more valuable than ever to read from within cultures of others… Free access to books and other cultures is a sign of a healthy democracy. Books from other cultures can bring a different sensibility.
If reading is a bowl of cabbage, then we need to serve it with salt and pepper and garlic and butter and chilli and vinegar. In this article for The Sapling, Gecko Press Publisher Julia Marshall describes the importance of diverse reading, and the flavours that different places bring to children’s books.
We cannot generalise about books by country, but culture will find its way in. The best Japanese children’s books, for example, are often very child-centred and warm, and achieve perfect simplicity. French books can be quite beautiful and wacky, or hilarious and sometimes without noticeable plot. They have a lot of love in them. Scandinavian ones are often a little rebellious. They have a style of illustration called ‘pretty-ugly’ that is fun. They sometimes use a soft, gentle palette, perhaps because their sun is not as harsh as ours, and often perspectives and composition and faces can be a bit wonky.
Image from When I Am Happiest by Rose Lagercrantz, illustrated by Eva Eriksson.