Two new publishing houses in Sweden have sparked debate over their attempt to instill liberal social values in books aimed at children. According to Karin Salmson, co-founder of Vida publishing house, “Our goal is for all people, regardless of gender, sexuality ethnicity or other such things, to have the freedom to create their own identify and be respected for their personal qualities.” She wishes to break with traditional children’s literature which depicts dad as the bread winner and mom as the homemaker. In fact, each book has a “hug label” which assures the reader the book has been “scrutinized from a democracy equality and diversity perspective” and contains no details “based on prejudice or traditional gender roles that rein in individual behavior.”
The goal of the publishers is to break down traditional gender roles and readers might encounter the story of the girl with two dads who enjoys making farting sounds by using her armpits. Salmson rejects critics who complain gay or lesbians are in stories for the sake of having a gay or lesbian in the story. She insists gays and lesbians are all around so they have a place in any story.