The plot itself is not original: Nora had to spend the entire summer vacation with her grandmother in the country, a grandmother she hardly knows. Nora likes to be at home, even if her mother and stepfather go to work. She has no friends and is used to her own company.
Then summer would be something completely different than she had feared. Summer is going to be a whole event, and it has turned out to be a great children’s book.
For Ibn Ackerley, he creates an original story based on a famous framework.
She writes entertainingly while also dealing with the challenges that Norwegian children may face every day: homesickness, discrimination and racism. So is infatuation. This is no less dangerous.
Grandma lives in the village. She worked for many years as a journalist in war zones, including Afghanistan. This is one of the reasons why she and Nora did not see each other.
When Nora is now with her for several weeks, against her will, her grandmother unleashes her.
Nora walks in the woods and there she meets Abbas, who has the greenest eyes in the world! It makes it crackle from the inside.
Yes, the two find the tone, and even Nora, who often does not find the words, finds a lot to talk about with Abbas.
Boredom is good
Most children will experience boredom, although we now have so much technology on hand that this is impossible. Boredom is useful – not for morality – but because it can lead to creativity.
Nora is curious and finds some old folders of her grandmother, where she learns more about her background as a war correspondent.
The fact that her grandmother’s residency in Afghanistan is so brutally woven with Abbas and his family becomes a bleak and problematic realization.
What Nora is also discovering, this summer, is that people are treated differently depending on skin tone and background. Through her friendship with Abbas, she can see Norwegian racism with her own eyes. Here are the adults who don’t want it well.
the flow of conflicts
As a writer, Ackerley’s son searches for conflict. Conflicts create excitement and create momentum and desire to read. There can be internal as well as external conflicts.
In the “summer everything happened” there is a wave of conflicts. Still, it doesn’t feel much. I might test it this way because Ackerley gives conflicts time to unfold, hurt and work.
Rather than explaining the conflicts in Afghanistan, she touches on them and is more interested in the challenges faced by those who have fled in that country.
Nora will have to make moral decisions, and of course she has the courage to do the right thing. But she does not act spontaneously, Ackerley allows her to go on a tour where she has to find her own values. Can Nora’s Reflections Make More People Think About What The Who would do in the same position?
One can object that it becomes too sweet. I better think the story is realistic. The author does not do justice to all the characters, so they are drawn sparingly. But the dilemma she depicts is real enough.
Ackerley’s son debuted in 2016 with a children’s book “lars ho lol”. There I boldly wrote about such an unpleasant thing as the betrayal of a friend. When this friend also had Down syndrome, he was in more pain.
I like ambition, but at the time I thought the language was becoming too mature and far away. With her third children’s book, Ackerley has found formulations much closer to the ones she is writing for.
So yes, Ackerley writes better and better.
Summer Everything Happened is a perfectly readable novel for Norwegian children on their way to their teens.
More books by Ibn Ackerley:
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