Book Guide: All the Courage I Have

Some secrets weigh tons...

Rakel's friends are the best at keeping secrets. Still, she can't tell them exactly everything. Some things are private. Like Rakel has a mother who is an alcoholic.

Talk about alcoholism

To break the taboo around alcoholism, we need to talk to all students about what alcoholism is. Explain that it is far from always possible to tell when someone is an alcoholic and that anyone, regardless of gender, age, class or professional group, can develop or find themselves in an addiction or addiction. Tell us how common it is.

Teachers, leisure educators and other adults can make a big difference. Do you feel that you lack knowledge about alcoholism or other addictions and suspect that a student is doing badly? Dare to ask anyway! Let the student know that having a parent who is an alcoholic is actually no more shameful than having a parent who suffers from any other serious illness.

Lisa Broberg author

Facts about alcoholism

In Sweden, four to five children in each school class live in a family where one parent abuses alcohol or other drugs.

6 out of 10 Swedes drink alcohol more often during the holidays compared to other times of the year. This makes children extra vulnerable to the law.

2.5 percent of the children in Sweden who live in families with addiction receive support.

Source: Vårdguiden, CAN, IQ, Junis and Alcoholics Anonymous.


The best way to help is to educate all students about alcoholism, not just those you suspect are having a hard time.

It is not always possible to see or notice in a child that he is living close to addiction.

Alcoholism is a disease that you can explain in the same way as other diseases such as diabetes or cancer. Children who know that alcoholism is a disease can more easily understand that it is not possible to influence the alcoholic's drinking.

Talk to colleagues and other adults about talking to all children about alcoholism.

Always take the student who tells about his home conditions seriously without questioning.

Tell how the school can help with, for example, student health. Follow up and be clear, tell them what will happen.

Do you want to know more? Book: Be a sensible adult by Elisabeth Hagborg and Sofie Ribbing. Site:

Common pitfalls

• To, in groups, ask specific questions that can become specific instead of general, for example "everyone who knows an alcoholic - raise your hand" instead of "raise your hand if you know the word alcoholism"

• Placing blame on the child – it is never a child's fault that an adult abuses alcohol or other drugs, and a child cannot make their parent stop abusing on their own.

• Talking about the alcoholic in a derogatory way - it's never fun to hear someone speak badly about people who are close to you and whom you like.

• Pushing and pushing too hard – build trust between yourself and the student before expecting honest answers

Questions All the courage I have

1. Rakel thinks about whether Tove can really be an alcoholic. She thinks it's probably not like that, because Tove is such a good mother when she's not drinking. Can a parent be both wonderful and alcoholic at the same time?

2. "If I didn't have..." Rakel thinks and wonders if things she does can make Tove drink less. Do you think it's sometimes Rakel's fault that Tove gets drunk?

3. "You're right that I'm sick," says Tove to Rakel. Alcoholism is a disease. It can be difficult to tell about a parent who is ill, for example with cancer, diabetes or alcoholism. How could we make it easier to dare to tell about a sick parent?

4. Rakel looks for Tove in the rain but finally gives up and goes home to Tanja and Sabine. How do you think Rakel feels when she knocks on their door?

5. When Rakel goes to the cemetery to meet her friends, even though knitting doesn't feel quite right
from Tove, it goes much easier than she thought. What do you think has changed within Rakel that makes it feel easy now?

6. Are there good and bad house lice? What then separates a good one from a bad one?

7. Amira asks if Rakel's mother is drunk sometimes. Is Amira right to ask, even though she might be able to figure out that Rakel thinks the question is difficult? How would you ask a friend a tricky question?

8. Rakel sits in the hall at Emmy's and says "I thought you were drunk" to Tove on the phone, so that Yvonne and Emmy can hear. How dare she do that?

9. Rakel thinks that maybe she would call Nour directly if she got into a difficult situation again. Do you know who to call if you need help? If it feels difficult to talk to a family member or friend - who do you think one can turn to then?

Writing exercises

• Ask the students to write a letter to any person close to them, preferably about something they are angry or sad about. Assure them that no one will be allowed to read!

• Have the students write a letter to Rachel. Ask them to imagine that they are her friend and that they think she needs support.

• Talk about if what happened in the book could have happened in real life? Why? Why not?