– It's very flattering. The award is given only every other year, and anyone working with Nordic children's literature wants to spend time at The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books, says Lydia Kokkola.
Studying minority representation in children's literature
The scholarship was established in 2001 with the goal of enabling foreign researchers to conduct research in Swedish or Nordic children's literature. Lydia Kokkola is admittedly based in Luleå but is a Finn and thus counted as a foreign researcher. The Award supports Lydia Kokkola in her work with the project Nationella minoriteter i lärande. A project that aims to find teaching materials and ways of working with materials in the compulsory courses on the five national minorities' in the Swedish school curriculum
Find the best examples
– The project as a whole is intended to seek materials and ways of working with those materials which open up the cultures to other groups as well as the minorities themselves. The Solkatten scholarship will enable me to get started in earnest. The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books in Stockholm has copies of every single children’s book published in Sweden as well as an extraordinarily good collection of theoretical materials. This will enable me to find the best possible examples of existing children’s literature for and about the national minorities, says Lydia Kokkola who plans to spend a week per semester at the The Swedish Institute for Children’s Books Library.
– The ideal situation would have been to spend one week a minority but it will not work for practical reasons. So I'm preparing for these weeks at the city library in Luleå that has excellent collections of children's literature. Right now I'm working my way through the children's books written in Meänkieli, which is a largely unexplored area in literature, says Lydia Kokkola.