A to Zåäö: Playing with History at the American Swedish Institute (Hardcover)
A playful picture-book tour of the Swedish alphabet, in which curious characters explore the American Swedish Institute
A is for “Akta dig! Look out!” And when you do, you’ll see the nyckelharpa, or keyed fiddle, that Axel’s father made—which followed Axel from Sweden to America. You’ll also find Axel, a snappy dresser, with his umbrella and bowler hat. He’s one of the inquisitive characters who will accompany you on these pages, guiding you through the twenty-nine letters of the Swedish alphabet. Each letter does something exciting. C is “Cirkulera! Go round and round!” And for D, “Dansa! Dance!”
This fun introduction to the Swedish alphabet, a romp from A to Z (and then Å to Ä to Ö), is also a delightful tour of the American Swedish Institute in Minneapolis, a cultural center alive with stories past and present. Artifacts from the museum’s collection are charmingly rendered in watercolor and animated by whimsical pen-and-ink characters that draw readers from page to page. Tara Sweeney and Nate Christopherson, a mother and son collaborative team, create magical realism in A to Zåäö, their first picture book. Their irreverent curiosity delights and begs a timeless question—how can exploration and discovery help us grow?
Award-winning artist, illustrator, and author Tara Sweeney received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to co-illustrate and author A to Zåäö with her son, Nate Christopherson. She is author of Close to Home: A Minnesota Year in Sketches, a collection of illustrated creative nonfiction. She is professor emeritus at Augsburg University, where she taught drawing and painting for twenty-five years.
Nate Christopherson is a special education teacher and freelance illustrator. He created art for Amy Leach’s Things That Are and a special edition of Robin Wall Kimmerer’s Braiding Sweetgrass for the Minnesota Center for Book Arts. He received a Minnesota State Arts Board grant to illustrate The Island, an award-winning limited-edition collaborative artist book. Sweeney and Christopherson both live in St. Paul, Minnesota.