Att göra gott: Svenska förlags- och författarröster om lättläst ungdomslitteratur
Title: The Will to Do Good: Swedish Publishing Houses and Authors on Easy-to-Read Young Adult Fiction
Questions about the function of literature are highly relevant, especially considering today’s great concern for the status of literature and for young people’s reading. In this article we investigate easy-to-read, or easy reader, a text type rapidly progressing in Sweden, and increasingly highlighted as a solution to the weak interest in reading among young people. Easy reader books originate from the democratic argument that everyone has the right to be able to read well enough and understand information. Although a significant part of today’s Swedish book market consists of easy-to-read literature, we know very little about the attitudes towards this literature and its readers. While easy-to-read books are made accessible on the market through different channels, the authors and publishing houses play a particularly important role. This article describes and discusses Swedish authors’ and publishing houses’ values and attitudes to their books, their readers and their mission, through interviews with 15 authors and three publishing houses conducted during 2014–2015. The article shows that the will to do good is a major motivation to act within the easy-reading field. The authors and the publishing houses look upon their mission as very important for a group of struggling or reluctant readers. According to the authors and publishing houses, this group requires texts that are characterized by simplicity in terms of recognition of characters, settings and themes. They also want to remove the stigmatization of easy readers, at the same time as the books are intended to serve as a didactic tool. Our results also show that the majority of authors combine their writing with a large number of author visits in schools.
Authors contributing to Barnboken: Journal of Children's Literature Research agree to publish their articles under the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported, allowing third parties to share their work (copy, distribute, transmit) and to adapt it, under the condition that the authors are given credit, that the work is not used for commercial purposes, and that in the event of reuse or distribution, the terms of this license are made clear.
Authors retain copyright of their work, with first publication rights granted to the Swedish Institute for Children's Books.