The Children's Book Project 2011–2018
Many of us have strong connections to our childhood books or to a particular children’s book—images we don’t forget, characters we identify with, or stories we were afraid of. In 2011, Wanås Konst began a series of children’s books with images by contemporary artists and texts by influential writers who haven’t previously worked with children’s books. The goal is to contribute to diversity and difference within children’s literature, attract readers, and provide entry points into art. The unifying framework of the series is that the narratives play out in the park at Wanås, among the art in reality and in fantasy.
In 2011, the children’s book series premiered with Den förtrollade parken [The Enchanted Park] by Astrid Trotzig and Fredrik Söderberg. It is a saga with spells, tears of pearls, and a mythical Water Witch in the park. The second book, The Sick Rose, is a picture book by artist Anna Camner that renders nature with pinecones and mushrooms, magnified and detailed.
In 2013, artist Jason Diakité wrote the text and Maria Bajt created the images. Their Kor kan drömma (Cows Can Dream) is a story about a cow who wonders what art is, with colourful pictures covering the pages of the book. The following year, Martina Lowden wrote a book of poems for word-lovers entitled Hur man blir en sten och andra sånger från svinskogen [How to Become a Stone and Other Songs from the Woods of the Wild Boars], inspired by Klara Kristalova’s imagery.
In 2015, Johanna Koljonen and Jenny Granlund asked how art is made in Jag vill bygga [I Want to Build], in which we follow the process behind some of the artworks in the park. Kor kan drömma was translated to English and published the next year, Cows Can Dream. It is also available as an audiobook in English and Arabic, and all of the books are available in audiobook format in Swedish.
Since 2016, there has been a space in the Art Gallery that Maria Bajt created together with Martin Kallin. It is a place to read, listen, and not least—imagine.
– Elisabeth Millqvist
“A child […] with her book creates her own images somewhere in the secret room of her soul, images that surpass everything else. Humans need these images. The day the child’s imagination no longer wants to create them is the day all of humanity becomes impoverished.“ ASTRID LINDGREN