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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Marit Larsen
Age Range: 6-8
Five-year-old Agnes knows what everyone is doing in the close-knit apartment building where she lives – who is baking or cleaning, who has the best parties, celebrates Christmas all year round, who is indoors and outdoors and who never goes out at all. She knows when the birds outside her window are hungry because she is the only one who remembers to feed them. Agnes also knows what it’s like to be lonely as an only child in a place full of adults who never have any time.
Then a new girl, Anna, moves into the building and Agnes’s orderly world is turned upside down. At first, she is delighted because now, at last, she will have a friend to play with. Agnes gets a large piece of paper and draws a picture with a subtle message on it that she puts through Anna’s letterbox. Agnes waits and waits but no answer comes. Then she notices things begin to change and it seems like Anna is interested in everyone else except Agnes!
Agnes’s Place is a charming story about home and belonging and how change can transform our world by Norwegian songwriter and musician Marit Larsen. This debut picture book, translated by Kari Dickson from Scotland, winner of the Mildred L. Bachelder Award for Brown by Håkon Øvreås in 2020, cleverly communicates Agnes’s array of emotions and her life in the here and now. Gently Larsen shows how the safe and secure world of a young child can be disrupted by sudden change. When change does come into Agnes’s world it causes her disquiet because she feels it is no longer ‘Agnes’s place’. But soon her loneliness and longing for friendship are put behind her when she finally makes a new friend.
The exquisitely vibrant illustrations by Norwegian artist Jenny Løvlie are bursting with so much colour and detail. Agnes’s apartment building is vividly brought to life and there is so much for the reader to look at.
A lovely, engaging story with stunning illustrations.