Brothers Al and Kas share a room and a computer. When big brother Kas has friends over, Al isn't allowed to hang out with them. But he can use the computer again after they've gone. And one day there is something on the screen that shouldn't have been there... Children are more vulnerable to sexual content online than ever before. Very few parents enable filters on web searches at home, and today's children learn about pornography earlier than ever before. Gro Dahle has won awards and critical acclaim for addressing problematic themes for children and young readers.
Dahle writes rhythmic, sensitively and well, drawing the parallel to the story about Ali Baba and the Forty Robbers from A Thousand and One Nights. Sesame, sesame is the words that brothers Kasim and Ali use to open the doors to the robbers cave. The doors that are opened for Kas and Al also lead to gold. But the Internet also has darker caves. Here the action of adults is crucial, and Als mother solves the situation well. She does not add to the feeling of shame for the boys, but explain that pornography is acting for grown-ups.
We need books about the dilemmas that the children meet. That children’s books have a clear educational mission, like explaining pornography, is not a problem. The premise must be that the artistic level is high, as it is with Gro Dahle in books about topics like divorce, incest, violence and depression.
Gro Dahle challenges the last taboo of Children’s Books: Looking at Porn.
A typical objection to Gro Dahles books is that "they are not for everyone". That is, at it´s best, a misunderstanding. Children have a great deal of curiosity and empathic competence. But you might say that the books rarely are right for a cosy read. They work best for readers who are prepared for the topics that are dealt with.
What is so good with Open Sesame is that it does not leave the child alone with its questions, shame and disgust, nor with its curiosity, lust and the tingling feeling in the body. It lets things just be - and gives the child the opportunity to talk about something that is really hard and really weird. In it´s own way it sides wholeheartedly with the child. I warmly recommend it to all my both prude and frivolous friends out there.
Oh yes, we should talk about porn
Gro and Kaia challenges us. Their books may have an educational angle, but they become more than that, where Dahles responsive language fills out or relativize Dahle Nyhus intense and fearless illustrations.
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