How the Bosnian Becomes a Bavarian

A Novel – Not Just for Grown-ups

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adults
The Hohenemser Literature Prize was recently given for the third time, an award bestowed upon German-language writers whose native language isn’t German. The call for submissions reads:

“In a convincing literary way, these writers should address not only emigrant experiences but also the intertwining of different cultural traditions and biographical influences. With a free choice of subjects, they will acknowledge the background of a continuously changing present – a present in which language, literature, and identity itself, can in no way be considered constants.”

The first prizewinner, in 2009, was Michael Stavaric, the author of Gaggalagu. This year the prize was given to Sasa Stanisic, who was born in 1978 in Bosnian Visegrad and moved to Germany in 1992 as a refugee of the civil war.

In his first published novel from the year 2006, How the Soldier Repairs the Gramophone, his hero Aleksandar Krsmanovic – “Comrade in Chief of the unfinished” – tells heart-wrenching stories full of black humor, narrated in the brightest colors, about life in Visegrad.  continue reading


Big Feelings, Big Drama

Inés Garland’s Novel for Young Adults about Friendship and Love

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adults
Why are young adult novels touching in a different way than books for adults? And why are they touching not only for young people?
Is it that the writers of stories for young adults are less embarrassed to use everything they have to elicit strong feelings in their readers?
Barring Harry Potter, I hadn’t read any young adult books since my own adolescence, until reacquiring a taste for them over the course of our reading marathon. A taste for giving myself over completely to the beautiful, tragic, comic destinies of the characters, for succumbing to a story. For example, to the story of Alma in Inés Garland’s book Piedra, papel o tijera ['Rock, Paper or Scissors'] (in the original Spanish, or Wie ein unsichtbares Band ['Like an Invisible Ribbon'] in the German edition):  continue reading


Half a Birthday, Double the Joy

During the week of October 21 to 27, 2013 the Academy of the Jewish Museum Berlin, in cooperation with Kulturkind e.V., will host readings, workshops, and an open day for the public with the theme “Multifaceted: a book week on diversity in children’s and young adult literature.” Employees of various departments have been vigorously reading, discussing, and preparing a selection of books for the occasion. Some of these books will be introduced here over the course of the next few months.
Multifaceted books for children and young adults
Why celebrate a half-birthday? Because no one can wait till Oscar’s first real birthday, that’s why!

Book cover with little Oscar and a birthday cake Oscar is the little hero of the 2005 illustrated children’s book Oscar’s Half Birthday by Bob Graham. So, since no one can wait, Oscar’s mother, father, and sister Lilli – with fairy wings on her back and a dinosaur doll in her hand – prepare a picnic and take Oscar and their dog Boris to the park. On the way there they watch cars from a pedestrian overpass, wait for the eleven-fifteen train on a downstairs platform, and listen to the wind move through the treetops in the forest.  continue reading