A New Niche in Children’s Literature. Norm-­Crit Picture Books in Sweden

Kristina Hermansson, Anna Nordenstam


The publishing of norm­critical children’s literature is a relatively new literary phenomena in Sweden. This article aims to map the new literary niche in relation to ideological and cultural contexts.

The main questions are: how are emancipatory ambitions manifested? Where do these ambitions leave the addressee? What norms are being (re­)presented, challenged and/or consolidated, and by what means?

The analysis shows a shift in the output of publishing houses away from more explicitly norm­critical books that convey a pronounced pedagogy of tolerance in their presentation of same sex couples or alternative ways of doing gender, towards a less explicit questioning of norms and less family­oriented approach. Hence, there is an ongoing reorientation away from an initial emphasis on individualistic aspects and free will towards motifs like poverty, migration and death.

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