Swedish Language Blog

Familjeboken – A Swedish Learning Tool Posted by on Jun 21, 2011 in Uncategorized

I mentioned a few days ago that I spent the last academic year teaching Swedish. I had way too much fun with it and am excited to be teaching again next semester. But I’m always looking for little things I can use in class: movies, short films, radio clips, podcasts, and of course, books.

And since I’m back in Sweden for the summer, it wasn’t exactly a difficult task finding material. At all. In fact, I didn’t have to look far. A good friend here happens have founded a publishing house. And that publishing house happens to publish a book called Familjeboken. And I just happen to love it. Not because my friend is involved, although I suppose I am not exactly an unbiased observer, but because it does so very much in just a short span of pages.

Familjeboken is just what it sounds like it is. A book about families. Every imaginable type of family. Moms and dads. Best friends. Moms and moms. Pets. Dads and dads. Brothers. Sisters. Grandparents. There are parts of the book which demonstrate the classic this is how babies are made. Of course, those parts are mixed with all kinds of other options. Like adoption. Or artificial insemination. All the while the illustrations show us exactly what is going on.

Of course, most university students don’t need the birds and the bees speech and it is not because of that aspect that I fell in love with the book. I fell in love with the book because it’s a great way to introduce students to Swedish family vocabulary. Vocab lists are great. Flash cards are great. But let’s be honest, they get stale real quick (luckily Transparent does a great job of offering tools that keep language learners engaged). Having a book that is so very different from the everyday mommy and daddy kid’s book that we grew up with (at least in the US) catches people’s attention. And if it just so happens that you learn a few new family words along the way, well that’s even better.

I’m not entirely sure that the book is available outside of Sweden, but check out Hallongrottan with any questions if you want to learn a little bit more about it.

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About the Author: Marcus Cederström

Marcus Cederström has been writing for the Transparent Swedish Blog since 2009. He has a Bachelor's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Oregon, a Master's Degree in Scandinavian Studies from the University of Wisconsin–Madison, and a PhD in Scandinavian Studies and Folklore from the University of Wisconsin–Madison. He has taught Swedish for several years and still spells things wrong. So, if you see something, say something.