Today we talk about The globe and the fleas, a book by Evalill Ahlgren and Maud Söderlund published with our publishing house Europe Books.
Europe Books had the pleasure of interviewing the author, Evalill Ahlgren, to get to know her better, why she chose a dog and the fleas as the metaphorical subjects of her book The globe and the fleas, as well as her personal view on how the new generation can behave in order to better support the planet.
Below you can find our interview. Take a seat and enjoy your reading!!!
- Was the idea for this book born at a particular moment?
Initially this story was written many years ago when our grandchildren started to getting interested in and became aware of the climate issue. First there was no happy end to the story but you cannot abandon children and leave them without hope, can you? However, during last year I felt the time was ready for this story but now with a happy end giving hope even for us who hopefully will be forgiven by the future generations. The story was inspired by a stray dog we once happened upon when on holiday in Vouglamenis, Greece. During our breakfasts on the balcony we noticed this rather shabby old dog in the square. We could tell though that he had been a former splendid figure but now he was showing sadness and misery and occasionally he scratched himself frenetically probably depending on an invasion of fleas. We felt really sorry for the old dog and he triggered me to remember a commentary from an old film where a dog was a metaphorical figure for our planet.
- What made you think of the dog as a metaphorical subject to represent the planet?
Many years ago in 1987 when I was watching the newly released film Crocodile Dundee I was intrigued by this commentary regarding our relationship to our planet uttered by the main character: “Well you see, Aborigines don’t own the land. They belong to it. It’s like their mother. See those rocks? Been standing there for 600 million years. Still be there when you and I are gone. So arguing over who owns them is like two fleas arguing over who owns the dog they live on.”This metaphor suddenly popped up in my mind watching the old shabby dog and we started calling him Globe and the star of our story was born. Children are compassionate and good hearted, especially towards animals, so I thought why not write an allegory about our planet earth and the current problem it is facing hoping to emphasize that compassion, love and consideration are the most important emotions when healing an abused animal as well as an abused planet.
- How would you like the new generations to behave in order to better support the planet?
How can we include even young children, the superheroes of tomorrow, in the plans for a healthier future world? It is of course difficult even for us adults to fully comprehend this issue and we know there is no quick solution to the problem. The young ones need help finding ways not to feel powerless and without hope. Well, you have to make it as simple as possible where you can reach out and make yourself understood. Allegories can make it easier to understand a complex situation and stories with a hidden meaning seem to trigger children and their imagination. Yes, children are young and inexperienced but we also know that children are smart and will soon figure out that there is a hidden meaning in this story which seems to tell us about a dog and his increasing problem with the irritating fleas and they will eventually get a grip on the message. Hopefully the parents read together with their children and hopefully there will be questions which can lead to interesting discussions about the state of the planet today and tomorrow. Examining different issues and ideas hopefully also leads to creative talks about what to do “when you are never too small to make a difference”.
- How was your publishing experience?
This is my first and only publishing experience – not mentioning some short stories in magazines. I must say this has been a pleasure from the first ”welcome on board”. Although meeting and having communication with several different representatives for the publishing company I was always accompanied with smart and competent young women. They have given detailed information, have updated when needed and have always been there for support and finding solutions in case of any problems have occurred.
- Are you planning to write more books?
Well, I suppose this was my once in a lifetime publishing…Writing that I know that somewhere in my drawers I have a draft for an ”A-Z for student teachers”. Being a teacher for many years and tutoring student teachers you have gathered a lot of fun and smart pedagogical ideas, so the intended book is kind of useful advice in texts and illustrations.
Europe Books thanks the author Evalill Ahlgren once again for taking the time and answering our questions. We are really pleased to have walked alongside her on the editorial path that led to the publication of her book The globe and the fleas. We wish her the best of luck for her future works.
To you, my dear reader, I hope that this book can provide with new ideas that will allow you to understand the hidden meaning in this illustrated story which apparently wants to tell us the vicissitudes of a dog and its problem with fleas. I sincerely wish that finding the hidden meaning will generate interesting questions between parents and children, who, in their own small way, can together work on how improve the state of the planet we live in.
So, my dear reader, I just have to wish you to enjoy your reading!!!