Astrid Lindgrenová and Bertík and the sniff
Recommended by writer Petra Soukupová
I would like to name four of the best children’s books, but they are all by Astrid Lindgren. Pee Long Stocking and Ronja, the thief’s daughter for the best (not only) heroines for children, The Children of Bullerbyn as a Dream World to Live In and The Lionheart Brothers, a book that struck me terribly starting with death of two children. I was also touched by my name Leni.
I hardly buy any books for my daughter, because she is very large, I read her the Children of Bullerbyn now, I told her my Bertík and the Sniffer and Tomáš read her a book by Magda Reifová Where are the hidden fairy tales.
LSD fairy tales and I already know why
Recommended by artist and illustrator David Böhm
Among my favorite books were The Walks of Mr. Pip by Stanislav Holý. I don’t know if anyone can think of it, it was such a medium format with 60s LSD artwork. It was about a guy who had just come out with a trumpet and got maybe made your way up another hill. It was a lot of dreams and joy. I think Holý also did the background for Studio Buddy, so the visualization is very well known.
I also liked the series I already know why and the type of books that explained how to build a highway, for example. I remember exactly how much I enjoyed the schematic sides. For example, how a pencil is made: in the beginning, spruces entered the factory, graphite was added, then it was ground and mixed in different ways, in the end such a stylized doll with a sign with the words “End” was added.
My kids are in different age categories, so everyone likes something different. The older boys have read all of Harry Potter, The Hobbits, etc. I cannot describe one of these illustrated books purely for children, but we enjoyed the series which is now published in Baobab – a city of Miroslav Šašek. Boys also enjoy Cuba Tuba Tatubam, written by Jana Šrámková, drawn by Jiří Pošívač. I always show my books to children before they come out, and sometimes I consult. I think they appreciate how things look before printing them.
Lindgren understands what a childhood is like
Recommended by poet and editor Olina Stehlíková
I don’t have just one favorite book. My daughters and I (eight and ten) all love Astrid Lindgren’s books. I think it’s great that his books can grow with the children. There are fairy tales for preschoolers – Marinka or Strašidlo Sušinka. Then for older kids – everyone probably knows Pipi Long Stocking as a must read, but I think it’s a great book. Ronja, Lota from Rošťácká Street. Then you can go higher and further to more difficult and sometimes sadder texts, such as The Lionheart Brothers, Mio, my Mio. I probably don’t need to name Bullerbyn’s children. Now a set of fairy tales by Astrid Lindgren has been published, which Czech readers could not know much about, these are terribly sad and intense fairy tales. It is interesting to note that in Lindgren not only the sunny pole of the children of Bullerbyn, but also a much darker corner.
She was able to capture what a child’s childhood is, regardless of the period or the century in which he grew up. I don’t want it to sound noble, but the child’s psyche and the child’s world are still the same, she had the rare gift of being able to find it, to catch it. Exactly what children like and are interested in. It’s funny and deep at the same time, his stories are not only cute, but sometimes very dramatic. Lindgren can show what the world looks like to children. That’s why he still attracts them today, because he simply managed to get closer to the children.
Smell eaters live behind our plasterboards
Recommended by journalist and writer Ondřej Nezbeda, winner of the 2017 Magnesia Litera Discovery of the Year award
My favorite childhood book is called Prisoners of the Leopard Gorge, published in the Book of Courage and Adventure. I was struck by the story of a group of children going on a trip – I can’t remember if they wanted to run away from home or just go on an adventure – and it was snowing and locking them in the throat. They have to spend a very hard winter there, almost starving, and then discover that one of them is betraying them, and they have to sacrifice their lives. This book struck me – they are children who care about life and have to deal with situations that adults have to deal with differently. That’s how I interpret it upside down, but before I read it as a great adventure.
We have two boys, a six-year-old and a three-year-old. For them, the Goblins now win, regardless of the fact that they are now filmed. We started reading them two years ago. Between the bathroom and the kitchen we have such a hollow space between the plasterboards, our boys think the lichens are eating there. According to the mess in the socks and us and we can’t find the other in the pair, the boys believe that Dederon himself is based here.
Loneliness is not bad
Recommended by Tereza Booth, owner of a bookstore specializing in children’s literature
I liked Color Hobby about a boy who draws horses, but in a different color than the horses. They send him to various examinations, to the director, to a psychologist, they examine him. He then won a gallery competition and was suddenly exceptional, everyone admired him then.
Among the most current, I like the Sailor and Peka comics. It’s the story of a sailor who goes to town to buy a T-shirt. Nobody notices that he is half-naked, everyone is polite to him. When he is in town, he gets a tattoo, he has a faithful friend, the dog Peka, he goes to church. I love this kind of humor and the amazing illustrations.
I also like it, loneliness is not bad, it reminds me a lot of my childhood. There are also illustrations in which I recognize a mug my grandmother had. I like loneliness mainly because the main character moves to a new environment and finds a new family.
Dog and cat on vinyl
Recommended by writer Bianca Bell, winner of the 2017 Magnesia Litera Book of the Year award
I was such a reader when it came to reading. As a child, I also read Ed McBain’s American Wife, Medojedka. But when I was a very small child, I loved Dog and Cat, Václav Čtvrtek, Božena Němcová, Erbenovky – those very classic fairy tales. When I was sick, I played fairy tales on vinyl. I knew them by heart. Höger, for example, who said Dog and Cat: “It was when Dog and Cat were still farming together.” It’s such a classic fairy tale that my kids loved it too.
We are a bilingual family, grandmothers from England brought lots of fairy tales to the children. They preferred Gruffalo or Very Hungry Caterpillar. These are two very successful children’s books.
Strange characters from Alžběta Zemanová
Recommended by the artist Juliána Chomová, author of the illustrations of the book Hafan’s Adventures (The most beautiful Czech book in the category Literature for children and young people)
I liked Ferda the ant. The book was made of rough cardboard with holes through which I could see the next sheet. Then the fairy tales of the Brothers Grim, the mole, Maxips Fík. Of course there was more, now these titles came to mind. I don’t think I have made the distinction between what is well written and what is not. I’ve seen the books and fairy tales as a whole, of course, so far I have more ingrained visuals of the characters in my head than complete stories.
The most beautiful children’s book changes from year to year. Depending on what is new and interesting. I like the original style and spirit. I have long loved the world of Alžběta Zemanová through her work for children, such as her book Sůva. Elizabeth is authentic, the characters she draws are second to none. They’re funny, quirky, and completely unlike any character a child might see.