Can a publisher be values-driven?
When we released our first two books, there was a big debate. Could a publisher really be values-driven? For us it was difficult to understand the debate, do all stories convey values? In what way did literature become worse with a clear value base? Don't all books carry values? Why are unequal values better than equal values? We debated on television, radio and newspapers. Is it possible to combine a clear value base with high-quality books? Absolutely we say!
Professor Lena Kåreland
A book of great importance was the book Modig och stark - or lie low by the researcher and professor Lena Kåreland. In it, she showed how stereotypically girls and boys were described in children's literature. It was clear to us that researchers have long pointed to the stereotypical gender roles in children's books without any publisher taking up the baton. We contacted Lena and she read the script and gave us valuable feedback during our first year. She also wanted to see a change in what was being given out. Lena Kåreland has been awarded by the Swedish Academy in 2011, was awarded the Gulliver Prize in 1998 and received the Karin Westman Berg scholarship in 2013. She is also a member of the jury for the Literature Prize in memory of Astrid Lindgren.
More important people
Another person who has been important to us is Anna-Clara Tidholm. In 2009, we created the book My family together with her. When she went to the media and said that it was exciting to have a value-driven publisher that wanted to help shape society, the tone of the debate changed. For Anna-Clara Tidholm is one of our great and multiple award-winning children's book creators, and when she talks, many people listen. We are so glad that Anna-Clara shared our idea that children's literature and society are connected.
Starting point in research
Every year, the Children's Book Institute collects all the books published in Sweden and analyzes them based on various parameters. The analysis is presented in March each year. The book screening started in 2002 and it became clear how unequal it was, that there were many more boys in leading roles than girls. Today the numbers look much better, it's kind of equal and we hope we've had a small hand in that development. Our connection to research runs like a red thread through what we do. We collaborate with everything from gender researchers to linguists and climate scientists.
Picture pocket at Pressbyrån
OLIKA's first books came out as large picture pockets with holes and string. The idea was to offer cheaper, high-quality books in a slightly simpler format that would be better suited to take with you on your trip. For adults there were paperbacks, but for the children there were only hard covers that were heavy and unwieldy. We also wanted the book to be able to be hung up instead of being set on a shelf, so we tied strings in all of them. For a period, our photo pockets were available at all Press Agencies throughout Sweden. Fourteen titles managed to come out in this format before we switched to hardbacks because the biblootek loves hardbacks! And we love libraries.
40,000 books for Lindex
Together with Cattis at CT Marknadskraft, we take the step into the market and 40,000 books are sold at Lindex and their 250 stores. It felt big and almost impossible but we did it! Thank you Cattis for believing in us. Cattis is no longer with us but she was an incredible entrepreneur and former marketing manager with experience from large organizations like Cloetta. It's worth everything when someone believes in your idea!
At the book fair in 2009, we presented our books, including the one that would become one of OLIKA's bestsellers and classics, the book Give your child 100 possibilities instead of 2 . The book summarized what OLIKA stood for and why OLIKA existed. Today, the book is translated into Norwegian, Serbian, Spanish, Korean and English. We started offering training to educators, parents and other adults, and the book's concrete tips were appreciated.
Taking the step from books to communication is not far, and one of our first assignments was for Trafik i Mälardalen. They wanted to increase interest in public transport and the result was five stories about Resa & Robin which were published in one of SJ's newspapers. We also helped the Gothia Cup with its campaign against sexual harassment, Respect Everybody. Sometimes we are involved from the start and sometimes we give a second opinion, all depending on what the customer needs.
First children's book with him
In 2012, something very big happened: OLIKA launched Kivi and Monsterhund, the first children's book to use hen as a personal pronoun. With her, everyone could be Kivi, and no one could say: "Look, you can't be Kivi, because Kivi she is!" We launched the book with a debate article together with Professor Karin Milles in which we wrote that the Swedish language needed a new pronoun. The waves ran high in the debate that followed. In retrospect, we can see that we were involved in changing the Swedish language. Hurray!
All children's stories
We are starting to publish a new form of books. Previously, we mostly worked with authors and illustrators in a more traditional way. Now we meet children in schools and interview them and create stories from their dreams. We also interview, for example, sports stars such as Kosovare Asllani and dramatize fiction stories. A mix between journalism and fiction. In this way, we get stories that are authentic and at the same time exciting and fun to read.
The world is going digital
Digitization is increasing, books are becoming content and a new world accelerated by the pandemic is opening up. New abilities are needed and we are digitizing above all our educations but also storytimes and books. We take the step and build this new site where we invest even more in creating great offers and inspiring an equal and equal world. In parallel, we work to increase the presence on several social platforms and together with young people create a sustainable future.