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Children’s books shape the world view we grow up with. It is important for children to be able to recognize themselves in stories, illustrations and narratives and, at the same time, to learn about the different realities of life around them. Does children’s literature in Germany, Finland and other (Northern) European countries today reflect the increasingly diverse societies in which we live, or does it make a growing proportion of its young population invisible?

How can alternative, under-represented narratives, voices and images be introduced? What good examples can we share? And what can the various players in this field – authors, illustrators, publishers, libraries and readers – learn from each other?

At the end of 2018, the Goethe-Institut Finland launched a project dealing with the representation of children in picture books produced in Northern Europe and Germany. Following a seminar in Turku on how children’s literature read in day-care centres and schools in Finland could be made more representative of the country’s population, the project was extended at the end of 2019. The project involves: El Boum, Chantal-Fleur Sandjon and Warda Ahmed.

Besides networking and knowledge exchange, another goal of the project is book production. Examples of best practice from around the world will also be brought together to create an archive that will provide inspiration for translations and to create more books that reflect the diversity of our societies.