Meet Buffy By, a poor girl in rich Oslo. She's useless at ball games but naturally gifted when it comes to slalom, the world's third most expensive sport. How will it all work out?
Class 6B at Refstad School have to write their autobiographies. Buffy By would rather write about slalom – or be out practising slalom. During a free course during winter break, she turns out to be a natural talent! It's just a shame they don't have enough money for the training fees – or skis or poles or skiwear or anything else, in fact. But Buffy By doesn't let that put her down. And she always has a good idea or three.
You can't find many books about poor children in Norway these days. But here comes Buffy By's autobiography and there's nothing like it!
WINNER OF THE LITERATURE PRIZE, THE NORWEGIAN MINISTRY OF CULTURE AWARDS FOR CHILDREN'S BOOKS 2019
It’s a linguistic joy ride, with invigorating lines and playful descriptions. While entertaining and engaging the reading child, the moral project is unpacked between the lines.
DAG OG TID
Ingeborg Arvolas new series about the adventures of the poverty stricken girl Buffy By, gets a lively start and opens for many fascinating discussions about ethics and economy. (…)
Buffy By is here to stay – and that’s brilliant.
[Buffy By is talented] is both important, beautiful and unfashionable in a lovely way. The story is driven by Buffy’s wish to attend slalom camp, and the two thematic strains of poverty and absent fathers are woven together gradually and deftly. And it’s wonderful to read about a classroom without conflict once in a while.
Morten Haugen, @bokmorten
Buffy, her brother Bobby and their beautiful mother are living hand to mouth, receiving charity donations from the food bank in Oslo. Still, Buffy and her family find solutions and get by against all odds. Buffy is active, always looking for solutions, and rather unfocused. Playing soccer, she's a hazard, but she turns out to be a natural at Slalom, downhill skiing. An autobiographical school project comprises a large part of the book's clever storytelling. The literary device of letting the autobiography dictate the narrative, is very successful in a book that plays with language and genres.
The characters are rendered with wit and a keen eye. The central question driving the narrative, is how Buffy will finance the development of her unknown talent. The solution comes after a long-winded series of unexpected events, and some luck. With humour and warmth, Arvola conveys what it is like to be poor in the richest nation on earth, while the candour and vulnerability are sizzling just beneath the surface. This is amusing and riveting reading, with a broad appeal, where the central message is: Everyone is good at something. Nora Brech’s black-and-white illustrations reflect the humorous tone of the text.
Jury's statement, Norwegian Ministry of Culture Prize 2019