A beautifully illustrated story about a child, a father and great longing.
Author: Maija & Anssi Hurme
Swedish original: Skuggorna
Finnish original: Varjostajat
Publisher: Schildts & Söderströms, 2018
Genre: Children’s fiction, illustrated
Number of pages: 40 pp.
Reading material: Swedish original, Finnish original, English translation
Rights sold: Czech, Cesta domu
Shadowed is a mysterious story about an unfamiliar character in a child’s life. No one else can see it, but it follows the child everywhere. It makes eating breakfast or playing with friends difficult. It asks for the scariest bedtime story. It seems to have something to do with the mother being gone.
The story, subtly illustrated, does not name the shadow–it could be sadness, worry or longing. Bit by bit, its slightly scary presence turns friendlier and finally it loosens its grip.
Shadowed was nominated in November 2018 for Finland’s biggest literary award, Finlandia Junior Prize, and the Torch-Bearer Prize 2019.
”I knew it was in the room before I opened my eyes.
I closed my eyes and pretended to sleep. It might leave.
But it didn’t. In the morning it was in my bed.
Who are you? I said.
Have you seen my mother? I asked.
No answer. It stayed silent. I could hear only a small
hissing sound, as if someone was blowing up a beach ball.”
– Translation by Aleksi Koponen
Reviews of Shadowed:
“Brilliant illustrated narrative. Maija and Anssi Hurme’s seamless co-operation hits the artistic bull’s eye. The story holds tightly together, at the same time opening up to possibilities. It describes elaborately the strive to regain the foothold in everyday life that has been stricken by a cribbling longing. Maija Hurme obtains all and more of the theme from the picture book format itself. The disciplined colors together with the genius illustrations are realized excellently and timelessly.”
– Hufvudstadsbladet newspaper
“This is a book that captures in a magical way – both in the text and in the illustrations – what it is to feel sorrow: sorrow’s weight and ruthlessness, its softness and its unavoidable return. The best children’s books are always written at least as much for the adults, and in the child’s mind they form layers of memories and inkings that can rice to the surface years later.”
– Kyrkpressen newspaper
“The text and the illustrations work together beautifully, forming a touching whole from which it is hard to take cover. Shadowed is a book that deals with something that is very deep.”
– Vasabladet newspaper
“This book will live long. So beautiful and wise it is with its gentle grey colours and fantastical creatures.”
– Svenska Yle (national broadcasting company)