Filled with brightly colored, intricately detailed illustrations that reward repeated viewing, Agnes’s Place* is a quiet, sweet picture book for readers 3-7 about friendship, new friends, isolation, and belonging. When the story begins, Agnes is a contented five-year-old who lives in a land of grownups, a land with many buildings and just as many interesting secrets. Although she has no playmates, she isn’t lonely, for she knows her neighborhood inside and out:
She knows she is at home before she even opens her eyes in the morning… She knows who is outdoors and indoors, and who never goes out at all…She knows what it is like to be the only child in a place full of adults that never have time.
Agnes especially knows that she belongs. She’s comfortable and doesn’t seem to mind at all that she’s isolated from playmates her age.
One day, however, a new girl moves into Agnes’s building. Now she feels her alone-ness as loneliness. She’s curious about the new girl and yearns to meet her. No longer contented, she discovers that:
Playing alone on the swing is very different from playing alone on the swing when you are waiting for someone to show up.
The new girl, Anna, makes other friends in their shared apartment building—without the two ever meeting. Agnes feels left out until she and Anna bump into each other on the stairs, “both of them in the same moment!” Soon they are merrily munching on waffles and sharing special secrets. No longer isolated, Agnes has a new friend her own age. And she’s content once again, even more than before Anna had moved in—all thanks to the magic alchemy of friendship.
Written by Marit Larsen
Illustrated by Jenny Løvlie
Translated from the Norwegian by Kari Dickson
Amazon Crossing Kids, 2021
Awards for translator Kari Dickson: NORLA March 2020 Translator of the Month; 2018 National Book Award Longlist; USBBY’s 2021 Outstanding International Books List; 2018 Edward Stanford Traveling Books Award Nominee
Read an interview with translator Kari Dickson
*Review copy of Agnes’s Place kindly provided by the publisher.
Award-winning opera singer Nanette McGuinness is the translator of 60 books and graphic novels for children and adults from French, Italian, German, and Spanish into English, including the well-known Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels. Two of her recent translations, Luisa: Now and Then and California Dreamin’: Cass Elliot Before the Mamas & the Papas were chosen for YALSA’s Great Graphic Novels for Teens; Luisa: Now and Then was also a 2019 Stonewall Honor Book. Her most recent translations are For Justice: The Serge and Beate Klarsfeld Story, The Sisters #7: Lucky Brat, Chloe & Cartoon, and Alter Ego and she was the assistant editor for A House Without WIndows.