How nice that you want to know more about OLIKA!
Here's a quick version with a few glimpses of what happened over the years.
OLIKA AB is formed by Marie Tomicic and Lovisa Almborg. Plans are forged at the kitchen table and in the basement. Ingrid Fransson and Mikael Jacobsson are also on the board. We pore over the Children's Book Institute's book reviews and contact Professor Lena Kåreland, who has written a lot about how stereotypical children's books are. Can she imagine being involved and reading the script to change? She agrees.
We pitch our idea to ALMI, which grants us a loan of SEK 250,000. We are also involved in pitching our idea to a number of business angels, but no one believes enough in our ability to raise money to step in as an owner. Too many idealists!
OLIKA's first two titles are coming out: Here comes UpfinnarJohanna! and Worst fart, Lolly! in the format we call picture pocket. We file a press release about why OLIKA is needed and Svenska Dagbladet writes a big article about values in the world of children's books and new publishers who want to achieve equality. It starts a big ideological debate. Can a publisher be values-driven? and What responsibility does literature have to reflect society? Lotta Ohlson on DN makes a comparison with Stalin that surprises us a lot. We don't really understand what's going on other than that it's mined ground. the customers are all the happier, finally books that they don't have to redo or proofread.
Lindex buys in 40,000 books and we deliver to 250 stores throughout Sweden. Hooray, what a project! Parallel to this large order, we are still packing, shipping and invoicing each book from our small office in Linköping. We are so happy for everyone who orders, without customers no business! Extra thanks to Cattis Tillman who is not with us today, but who believed in us. It made all the difference; THANKS.
OLIKA merges with Vilda publishing houses under the name OLIKA. Karin Salmson joins as co-owner and Lovisa Almborg, Ingrid Fransson and Mikael Jacobsson leave. The book Give Your Child 100 Possibilities by Kristina Henkel and Marie Tomičić comes out and now it's making headlines. The book summarizes much of what OLIKA stands for and shows that the change towards an equal society can begin immediately. Many want to have lectures on the book and suddenly OLIKA has started educational activities.
We publish the book Min familj together with Anna-Clara Tidholm. An exciting project that will also be a nice contribution to the debate about whether a children's book can be of high artistic quality and at the same time have a clear idea and value base. Of course it is possible to combine. We also continue to debate on the basis of Give your child 100 opportunities on radio, TV and newspapers about gender traps and gender crucibles. Among other things, we debate in Aktuellt, so fun!
We publish Cirkus Bestivs and our way of working, with a very active editorship, creates some frustration. The illustrator Per Gustavsson vents his frustration on TV and the debate continues; what can a publisher do and not do? We realize that our very active editorship can be perceived as invasive, but we see no other way to create what we want, books that challenge stereotypes. Lotta Ohlsson at DN writes that it is bad to do as we do, that artistic freedom must not be restricted. But what happens if artistic freedom continues to reproduce stereotypical gender roles, as researchers such as Lena Kåreland have pointed out. How do we change it if we don't actively start doing things in new ways?
We are releasing the book Kivi och Monsterhund, the first children's book that uses hen as a pronoun. Together with Professor Karin Milles, we are writing a debate article in Svenska dagbladet with the headline " We need a new word in the Swedish language" . There is once again a big debate and two things get mixed up. Some people think that we want everyone to become he, and that no one can be he or she anymore, but that's not true. Those who want to use it can do so, we want everyone to be offered three possibilities instead of two. He is also a very practical word that means we don't have to gender a person: "I was at the dentist today.", "Aha, okay, what did he say?"
Sweden is Guest of Honor at the large children's book fair in Bologna. We are invited by the Swedish Institute and go to Italy and lecture at the embassy, meet journalists and lecture to the Italian public on Give your child 100 opportunities instead of 2. The first time we are simultaneously interpreted from English to Italian, so much fun!
Our first book inspired by Charlotte Rohlin is released at the football festival Winning Ground in Linköping. We collaborate with a local hotel and there is a pancake party for all children. The author Jennifer Wegerup is coming down from Stockholm, and it will be a very fun and successful event and release. Today, there are eleven books in the sports initiative, which has become a reading promotion project that OLIKA runs together with Östergötland's football association and SISU Östergötland, with the support of the Cultural Council. Many exciting stories, quizzes and other things on Tell your sport story.
We start working with Stephanie Barrouillet at S Brights Agency. Now OLIKA and all our authors and illustrators are represented at the major fairs around the world: Bologna, Frankfurt, London, New York and Shanghai. Here you can find all our titles that have been translated into other languages. The respected journal Publishing Perspective also picked up on what we do at OLIKA. Always fun when the outside world is interested in what we do.
what here? NOT CLEAR
We are starting a collaboration with Garagefilm, can we make a film for younger people based on our characters? We become film agents overnight! NOT CLEAR
Hurray! When the Culture Council allocates 50 million to strengthen the preschools' bookshelves, we have a total of 6 titles among the titles that the preschools can choose from. We are interviewed by the Swedish Bookstore, who wonder how we managed it. Maybe because we publish books that are both fun to read and that live up to the preschool curriculum. It ends with an order for 32,000 books that we print at Nordic Ecolabelled printers in Riga.
Kristina Henkel comes in as co-owner and Karin Salmson leaves. We develop DIFFERENT training and Kristina holds her biggest training ever in Olso with 1000 people in the audience! What a star. In parallel with the big lectures, we continue to educate and supervise everything from individual preschools to entire municipal preschools.
It's a pandemic and all physical trainings are cancelled, we start producing digital trainings and also e-books and audiobooks. The pandemic challenges us in many ways, events are canceled and digital skills come into focus. We reorganize to survive in the digital world.
We do our first climate analysis and come to the conclusion that we release 0.7 kg of carbon dioxide per physical book. We are working hard to bring this number down, our goal is to reach net zero by 2030. We are learning an incredible amount and it is a big job, hard to get all the numbers from those we work with, which are many! From illustrators, writers and photographers to distributors, printers and paper manufacturers. A targeted detective work that only grows.
We are building a new site and sharpening our digital skills.. We are switching to recycled paper and debating to get the book industry to change. We start selling digital products such as e-books and audio books and start the project Spela bok.