One of the best parts of the three months since the company was established has been introducing ourselves to various parts of the community, particularly in Oslo. We have had so much fun and also learnt and grown a lot from not only sharing our vision but looking at how we can work with others to further a collective drive for inclusion and diversity.
Our first outing was at the Oslo Soup event on the 11th of November where we were chosen as the winning project and walked away with a microgrant. We worked hard to keep up the momentum from such an encouraging public introduction and spent the next 6 weeks engaging with people and selling books to our customers online and in person. Our books were sold at Tøyensk Julemarked, Julemarked på Blå, Tøyen Bazaar’s market at Bruket, Let’s Talk Future at Kinam’s Table, Kwanzaa celebrations at Nordic Black Theatre, #osskvinner market, Prindsen Julemarked and at Tøyen library. The response from customers was heartwarming and encouraging and we hope all the children who have an Inklusive Book this year are thoroughly enjoying them. We are also so grateful to every customer who contacted us to let us know just how happy their children were to have received a copy of our books from under the Christmas tree. During this time, we also had the pleasure of running varying storytelling sessions at the Tøyensk Julemarked ; Prindsen Julemarked, Kwanzaa celebrations at Nordic Black Theatre and at Tøyen library. Our sessions included readings from our books, telling of folktales, as well as drumming with the children. We had a lot of fun with the children and spending time with them was a beautiful reminder of why we do what we do.
Apart from seeking out opportunities to introduce ourselves to the community, we were pleased to be invited to speak about our work at various platforms. On the 19th of November, Michell spoke about Inklusive Books at «Job creation for and by women,» hosted by Diversify Subsequent to the event, Michell was able to share our work through workshops hosted by the organisation and partner with other women on work for Inklusive Books. On the 6th of December 2018, Inklusive Books was represented by Michell at afrikansk-barnebokdager-2018 hosted by the afrikansk kulturinstitutt. Michell moderated the expert panel on «How to restore balance in the diversity of children’s fiction.» The panel was made up of Kristin Ørjasæter, Director of the Norwegian Children’s Book Institute; Verna Wilkins, author founder of Tamarind Books in the UK; Nadia Essalmi, Founder of Yomad, the first Moroccan publishing house that specializes in children’s literature and Torild Skard, psychologist and advocate for women and children’s rights. The event was well attended and we were so inspired to be part of such a long overdue discussion in Norway. We learnt a lot of from everyone who participated in the discussion, as well as those we spoke to outside of the formal event. Michell ariticulated the company’s views very well in saying that it is well established in both research and through people’s acounts of their experiences that diverse and inclusive children’s literature is necessary and so that is no longer up for debate; what need is to talk about how to go about achieving this objective and then to act promptly and startegically, for the sake of all children and society at large.
All these engagements have been incredibly exciting, fulfilling and fruitful for us and we look forward to many more.