Book guide: Kiwi and monster dog
Do you also like dogs?
Kivi wants a small and soft dog of his own, but the family doesn't quite agree that a pet is such a good idea.
Join us on an exuberant adventure in rhyme, about wishing for something and getting something completely different. The book sparks important conversations about feelings and opens up for everyone to be themselves, she, he or he. Kivi & Monsterhund was published in 2012 and is Sweden's first children's book where the word hen is used as a personal pronoun.
Questions about feelings
At the beginning of the book, Kivi screams. Do you think he is sad, angry or mad? How can you tell if someone is angry? Sorry? Sour?
When Kivi is angry and sad, he is comforted by his relatives. Do you want to be comforted when you are sad and angry? How do you like to be comforted?
Think together about what different emotions there are. Let the children try to show different emotions with their face and body. How does it feel? Can the other children guess which emotion is being expressed?
Talk about why it is good to be able to see what someone else is feeling. What can we do if we don't really know what others feel? Why it's good to be able to show how you feel.
Questions about gifts and dogs
Kivi screams because she wants a dog. If you want something as a present, what do you usually do? When do you usually get presents and when do you usually give presents?
In the book, Kivi wishes for a dog as a birthday present. Why do you think she wants a dog?
Before Kivi gets a dog of her own, she gets a visit from Monsterhund. Where do you think Monsterhund comes from? How is the Monster Dog different from other dogs?
In the book Kivi doesn't want a dog after Monsterhund. Why do you think that is so? Would you like a Monster Dog?
About clothes and gender identity
In this book, the characters have not been given gender-coded clothes, which broadens the norm and the possibilities for interpretation. Kivi himself has clothes that are for comfort and activity; clothes that make it possible to be adventurous and at the same time ready for coziness. In children's books and other things intended for children, colors are often used to mark gender identity. The preschool's mission is to work actively so that children are not hindered by stereotypical expectations. How do you work so that different colors and clothes are obvious and allowed for all children, regardless of whether they identify as female, male or female?
The word hen has been in the Swedish language since the 60s. Kivi & Monsterhund came out in 2012 and is Sweden's first children's book with hen as a personal pronoun. The debate about her to be or not to be was loud and filled with hatred. In a kind and respectful way, with this book we want to contribute to a more open society where everyone has a place, he, she and he. In 2015, the word hen was included in the Swedish Academy's dictionary. Words matter and together we can change for a society that is more open and inclusive!
The word he can be used when we don't know the pronoun or when it doesn't matter. People who want to be called hen do not feel like a girl or a boy but as non-binary, or like to be called hen because they are tired of the division and notions surrounding he and he. Children learn new words all the time and are as open as we adults allow them to be.
Start using the word hen you too and you will be a role model for children and other adults and show practically that all people are welcome and equally valuable regardless of whether we are she, hen or he. Identification factor: Kivi does not have a pronounced gender identity, which means that all children who want to can relate and identify themselves and think that I am Kivi!