In spring 2018, all preschool children in Gothenburg were given a copy of Anna Bengtsson’s book “Farfars mammas soffa” (Great-grandma’s Sofa) as a gift. This initiative is part of Equal Gothenburg, a project encouraging people to read aloud to children during the lead-up to Gothenburg’s 400th anniversary in 2021. The initiative has also highlighted an opportunity for further training of teachers and library staff as well as theatre performances for preschool classes and the public.
The plot of the book starts in 1915 when a young couple in Gothenburg buy their first sofa. Based on historical facts, the book follows the life of the family and the sofa all through the 20th century and up to the present day. It tells how the family grows, moves, moves again, how modern inventions emerge and how life changes both for the family and the sofa.
A play entitled “Farfars mammas soffa – en resa genom tid och rum” (Great-grandma’s Sofa – A Journey in Space and Time), based on the book, toured Gothenburg in May performing to preschool classes. The tour will end with four public performances during the Volvo Ocean Race and the Gothenburg Culture Festival:
- 16th and 17th July, Volvo Ocean Race, Lilla Scenen stage in Frihamnen, 11:00
- 14th and 16th August, Gothenburg Culture Festival, Stora Tältet, Garden Society of Gothenburg (Trädgårdsföreningen), 13:30
These activities were organised in collaboration between “The city where we read to our children” (part of Equal Gothenburg), Gothenburg’s 400-year anniversary 2021, Gothenburg City Libraries, Alfie Atkins’ Cultural Centre and the theatre companies Teater Gapet and Teater Bataljonen. The overall concept behind donating the book in preschools is to awaken children’s curiosity about reading and encourage adults to read to children.