KIMI SIEGEL

Award for diversity in Children's Literature


    

Toni Kohm: Sam besucht Oma und Omi in Großbritannien
(Sam Goes to Visit Grandma and Granny in Great Britain)

This fascinating picture book about diversity will be enjoyed by children and adults alike. It follows a week in the life of Sam, who is visiting Grandma and Granny in Great Britain. Sam goes to the construction site with Granny and helps Grandma with her work at the Street Art Festival. Sam learns how Grandma and Granny live in their little town, which is very close to the water and to London, the capital of Great Britain. Life there is exciting and, above all, colourful. This colourfulness can be seen in the book’s pictures and people. The people are all different and yet alike in that they are all valuable. Sam is not described as male or female, giving the reader the freedom to choose Sam’s gender or understand the character as a non-binary person.
KIMI-Siegel
The children's picture book "Sam besucht Oma und Omi in Großbritannien" was awarded the KIMI Siegel for diversity in Children's literature.
Jury voice:
A book that helps you to review and overcome prejudices in a fun way.
Review by Tebbie Niminde
The story is primarily about the adventurous visit to the grandparents. Also, other stories are told unobtrusively and in a variety of ways: about life in the big city or sexual orientation. The author does not use personal pronouns [for the main character]. Therefore the reader has the freedom to choose a gender for the main character. And last but not least, thanks to the impressively beautiful illustration, the children experience the importance of diversity.  Read more ...

Toni Kohm: Sam besucht Oma und Omi in Großbritannien
(Sam Goes to Visit Grandma and Granny in Great Britain)

Toni Kohm’s picture book Sam Goes to Visit Grandma and Granny in Great Britain succeeds in being an enriching gift for all children. The book was rightly awarded the KIMI Siegel 2019 (KIMI Seal 2019, the seal for diversity).
Grandma and Granny are a lesbian married couple. They are two tough lesbians, who are employed and full of creativity and joie de vivre. We accompany Sam on a one-week trip to pay them a visit in Great Britain. Together with Sam, we visit Granny in her job, join Grandma at a street art festival and go to the beach. There is even time to catch a glance of the British royal family.
There is a lot to be discovered in the colourful pictures. I especially like how people in the pictures are portrayed in a diverse and multifaceted way. Inside the airport, we see a person in a wheelchair, a punk with a colourful mohawk, an elderly black lady, and people from all cultures and religions of the world – just like in reality at an airport.
Through Grandma and Granny, children get to know two women who have grown old and know what life is all about. In this way, the book gives girls and boys a feminist perspective on older women – a perspective that is not drenched in clichés or scripted roles, as is too often the case in children’s books (old women wear dresses, knit, bake cakes, etc.). The fact that the women are a couple is not made a theme of the book. It is natural for Sam that Grandma and Granny belong together.
Sam is a four-year-old child who is deliberately kept gender-neutral. Girl, boy or diverse? That completely lies in the eyes of the beholder. Sam is Sam – sometimes curious, sometimes tired, just like every other child. The book refrains from personal pronouns, which gives readers and viewers the freedom to experience the world in the book without constricting standards and templates.
Alongside this, we get to learn about England and London through the book, while the English language and the English breakfast are also introduced. I really like how children are actively invited to get creative with the book – it can be turned 180 degrees, and at times we can try to spot Sam. Open-ended questions invite us to further narrate the pictures for ourselves.
On the last day of Sam’s visit, we join Granny and Grandma at the Pride parade in London. “It is a big festival, symbolising that all people are the same.” Yes, that is exactly what this book enchantingly portrays: We humans are diverse and colourful, we are old, we are young, we are white, we are black, we are healthy, we are handicapped, we have a queen or a female chancellor, we eat bacon, sausages and fried eggs for breakfast, or we don’t. We are all the same despite all these differences – we all have value.
In the next book, which will hopefully appear soon, we will accompany Sam to Australia, as Grandma and Granny are moving to Sydney soon. I am looking forward to it!
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