• Sweden edition
 
How do expat families pick books for their kids?
Varnika (L) shows her Pippi-style plats. Files: Private, TT

How do expat families pick books for their kids?

Published: 11 Apr 2014 16:15 GMT+02:00
Updated: 11 Apr 2014 16:15 GMT+02:00

 
Pippi Longstocking, an unconventional Swedish fictional character created by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, is a hit among the Swedish children. Kids of expats have not been spared of her charm. What about her is it that kids like?
 
"I want a pony like her, I want to lie down like her," says Varnika, referring to Pippi's preference to ponder the world while lying down. While Varnika's mum, who is clearly amused by the rambunctious red-head character, asks several times if Pippi is funny, Varnika doesn't accept that description. It seems for her, Pippi is a role model, not entertainment.
 
"She's not funny," says the determined four-year-old, who wears her black hair in Pippi-style plats sticking out from the sides of her head. "I want to be like her."
 
Varnika is not alone. Among several expat families that The Local speaks with, Pippi pops up frequently. 
 
"It is very important for them to read Swedish literature and become familiar with the country and their traditions," says Joydeep Dash, whose daughter Lona, 10, says she was "addicted" to Pippi, before moving on to the more age-appropriate works by Maj Bylock. 
 
Dash and her younger sister's reading habits also benefit their parents. 
 
"My daughters are the bridge between Sweden and India and motivate us to learn Swedish," he adds.
 
Chinese-Canadian Mary-Ann Bergman, who is married to a Swede, says other Astrid Lindgren books are favourites in their multicultural household. Lindgren (1907 - 2002) wrote an enormous number of children's books, many of which were translated from German to Arabic. Karlsson on the roof is a hit in Russia, while Mio min Mio was filmatized in 1987, with Christopher Lee as the bad guy. 
 
But Bergman also wants her kids to keep in touch with their Canadian culture.
 
"They live in Sweden so they will pick up Swedish naturally but I would like to introduce English to them as well," says Bergman, who reads North American books like the Very Hungry Caterpillar by Erik Carle, and Dr. Seuss books like Fox in Socks and Green Eggs and Ham to her daughters Leah and Ellie.
 
Keeping the children in touch with the parents' home culture is also important to Joydeep Dash, who moved to Sweden from India via Germany.
 
"We have a pile of Indian literature books starting from Amarchitrakatha to Tinkle," he says of the comic books that use pictures to explain Hindu mythology and Indian history.
 
"That is how they identify with our culture and values," says Dash.
 
For many parents though, picking kids books from their home country is easy, as well as nostalgic. 
 
Scouse-Swede Christine McNab tells The Local that her Swedish husband would select the Swedish books, while she reverted to her own childhood favourites - Enid Blyton's The Famous Five and The Secret Seven, while the Narnia chronicles by C.S. Lewis were found in their home both in book and audio book format.  
 
Bergman agrees.
 
"I read books to them which I read as a child, because I am familiar with them," says Bergman, who on top of keeping up with Swedish and North American literature tries to speak Cantonese as often as she can with her kids.
 
Language is important to many families where one or both parents are immigrated. Marco, who doesn't want to give his full name, reads short stories in Portuguese to his daughter, who, despite still being so young, loves the Menino Maluquinho (The Nutty Boy) comic books by Ziraldo. Another Brazilian cartoonist, Mauricio de Sousawho, has more than 200 characters for Marco's daughter to get acquainted with. 
 
"I focus on the Brazilian part, her mother and day care does the Swedish part," adds Marco, who has shared custody of his daughter.
 
Deepti Vashisht

The Local (news@thelocal.se)

Don't miss...X
Left Right

Your comments about this article

Today's headlines
Fears mount for Swede kidnapped in Ukraine
A tank in Horlivka. Photo: Dmitry Lovetsky/TT

Fears mount for Swede kidnapped in Ukraine

A mediator who handles prisoner exchanges between Ukraine and pro-Russian rebels said on Wednesday that he feared for the life of a kidnapped Swede. READ  

Vattenfall cuts losses despite 'tough market'
Photo: TT

Vattenfall cuts losses despite 'tough market'

Swedish power group Vattenfall said on Wednesday that second quarter losses had been cut despite trying market conditions, forecasting that energy prices were unlikely to recover in the "foreseeable future". READ  

Swedes 'most beautiful' in the Nordics
Swedish actors Peter Johansson, Anna Sahlin and Måns Zelmerlöw. Photo: Maja Suslin/TT

Swedes 'most beautiful' in the Nordics

Who is the fairest of them all? Swedes are, according to the rest of the Nordic nations in a recent survey. READ  

My Swedish Career
American teams up with Swede to beat cancer
Matthew Volsky holding the Gynocoular colposcope which is used for screening cervical cancer. Photo: Gynocoular

American teams up with Swede to beat cancer

When Matthew Volsky first came to Sweden he didn't think he would stick around. Six years and a pioneering invention later he tells The Local about the medical device which is helping save lives around the world. READ  

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth
Arla organic milk. Photo: Björn Larsson Rosvall/TT

Swedish organic sales enjoy 'amazing' growth

Swedes are spending more and more of their food budget on organic foodstuffs, with major supermarkets reporting double digit increases, according to new statistics. READ  

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow
The cow pictured is not the one in the story, and presumably not cranky. Photo: Mike Groll/TT

Swedish police warn of rogue pregnant cow

Police in southern Sweden have issued a public warning about a pregnant cow on the loose, after two people were sent to the hospital after a hustle with the heifer. READ  

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights
Photo: Matt Rourke/TT

SAS and Norwegian suspend Israel flights

About 170 passengers planning to fly to Stockholm on Wednesday have been stranded in Tel Aviv, with flights between the cities cancelled due to a missile striking near the airport. READ  

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax
Photo: Mark Lennihan/TT

Sweden demands EU clarity on Bitcoin tax

With EU countries' treatment of Bitcoin varying vastly, Sweden has asked for clear EU rules stipulating whether or not the cryptocurrency should be taxed. READ  

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify
Photo: Spotify

Google in failed bid for Sweden's Spotify

US Internet giant Google tried last year to buy Sweden-based streaming music service Spotify, but pulled out due to the beefed-up price tag, according to a media report on Tuesday. READ  

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Motorists in sticky drama after jam spill

Drivers in western Sweden were forced to jam on the brakes after a van shed its load of preserves and juices which led to major traffic problems. READ  

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS
Gallery
People-watching Båstad
Business & Money
Sweden falls to third in global innovation index
Society
Swedish ornithologists keep webcam watch
Photo: Andreas Nordström/Image Bank Sweden
Gallery
Top ten Swedish beach hot spots
Tech
Swedish Wiki vet sets new content record
Blog updates

22 July

Det (The Swedish Teacher) »

"Hej! “Det” is a personal pronoun that can be used in many ways, and it might me confusing if you always translate “det” to English “it”. In this article I will do my best to guide you to how to use “det”. Det replacing a word, a phrase or a clause Let us begin with the less confusing..." READ »

 

22 July

PROTECTING GIRLS FROM ABUSE OF THEIR RIGHTS (The Diplomatic Dispatch) »

"Today (22 July) my Prime Minister, David Cameron, and UNICEF, are hosting the world’s first #GirlSummit in London. The Summit’s aim is to mobilise domestic and international efforts to end the appalling practices of Female Genital Mutilation (FGM) and Child Early Forced Marriage (CEFM). This is a high priority for the UK government and the Prime..." READ »

 
 
 
Photo: Fastighetsbyrån
Lifestyle
In Pictures: The Local's Property of the Week
Photo: Finest.se
Gallery
People-watching July 15-16
Photo: Ola Ericson/Image Bank Sweden
Society
What's On in Sweden
Photo: Lisa Mikulski
National
Hope springs eternal for expat pet shop owner
Gallery
Princess Estelle steals limelight at mum's birthday
National
Swedes risk infants' lives by covering up prams
National
Swede runs for office just using Bitcoin funds
Gallery
People-watching July 11-13
National
Malmö mayor slams Danish beggar ban
National
Swedish anti-abortion midwife sues county
National
Swede's salary chopped for Facebook use
National
Northern Sweden warmest in 90 years
Gallery
'Victoria Day': Crown Princess Victoria turns 37
Politics
Mona Sahlin to fight extremism in Sweden
National
EU tells Sweden to cover up snus flavours
Society
Swede snags assassin role in Tom Cruise film
Lifestyle
Top ten ways to spend a few days in Malmö
Gallery
Swedish summer tourism highlights
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Your finances in Stockholm
Sponsored Article
Introducing... Housing in Stockholm
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Germany

More news from Germany at thelocal.de

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

695
jobs available
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions
Swedish Down Town Consulting & Productions is an innovative business company which provides valuable assistance with the Swedish Authorities, Swedish language practice and general communications. Call 073-100 47 81 or visit:
www.swedishdowntown.com
If you want to drink, that’s your business.
If you want to stop, we can help.

Learn more about English-language Alcoholics Anonymous in Sweden. No dues. No fees. Confidentiality assured.
AA-EUROPE.ORG/SWEDEN
PSD Media
PSD Media is marketing company that offers innovative solutions for online retailers. We provide modern solutions that help increase traffic and raise conversion. Visit our site at:
http://psdmedia.se