Ceva and the skates

By Monica Zak & Gunna Grähs

Ceva and her class are going skating. Ceva hates it and is afraid that the ice will break so that she could end up in the water. Water is her biggest fear after fleeing Syria. In the ice rink, a group of handymen usually help the children with their skates. Ceva’s henchman helps her and makes her understand that the ice is not dangerous. And so the old man has got a new friend.

Monica Zak has met children and young people from all over the world and tells their stories in a captivating way. She believes that the most important and most enjoyable thing in her life is writing about children and young people for children and young people.

Monica was born in Dresden in 1939, her mother from Sweden and her father from Czechoslovakia, the family managed to get out of Germany at the last moment before the borders were closed.

She grew up in Örebro, where she started writing for newspapers as a 16-year-old and graduated. After journalism studies in Stockholm, she worked at Damernas Värld and Aftonbladet. In 1965 she took a leave of absence to sail to Latin America. The first stage was with the sailing ship Amfitrite to the Canary Islands, where she and her husband bought an old sailboat without an engine. With the schooner Fernando they sailed across the Atlantic Ocean. On the island of Tobago, the son Christofer was born, a week later they continued sailing. The sailing was supposed to last a year; they were gone for six. During that time and many other trips around the world, Monica has collected material for articles, books and documentary films.

Gunna Grähs, (born in Filipstad in 1954), educated at Konstfack. She is active as an illustrator, picture book creator, writer and lecturer. Since her debut in 1982 “Jullan vill vara med” (text by Kjell Johansson) she has published around 70 titles – mostly picture books with her own and others’ texts, but also non-fiction books, comics and satire.

“I am very happy with Monica Zak’s books about Ava, Beva and Ceva. Her stories are sensitive and heartfelt – and at the same time liberatingly unsentimental. It is a good combination for the beginning readers. And also for a cartoonist who is interested in everything that happens to us in life here and now. (And the next day and the next…)- Gunna Grähs.