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Seven Stories Press

Works of Radical Imagination

Book cover for The Summer of Diving
Book cover for The Summer of Diving

The award-winning and beautiful story of a child coping with her father's absence. The book tackles a difficult subject with great tenderness, validating a child's experience of a parent suffering from depression.

A New York Times Best Illustrated Children's Book of 2022

Translated by B.J. Woodstein

Zoe’s dad isn’t home. She still sees him in photographs, laughing and playing tennis, but for now she can only visit him in a building where everyone looks sad and the walls are an ugly pink color. Some days Zoe’s dad is too sad to see her, but she goes to the hospital anyway. While waiting she meets Sabina who invites her to swim across the world. Zoe’s not sure it’s possible, but Sabina tells her, “A girl can do everything she wants.” Even though Sabina sometimes dives deep into her own thoughts, the two of them swim around the world many times that summer, until eventually Zoe’s dad is ready to come home.

The Summer of Diving is a book full of imagination and hope with a tender child’s-eye understanding of the world. Stridsberg’s story and Lundberg’s lush and colorful paintings reflect and validate a child’s feelings of loss and longing for closeness when a parent’s joy for living temporarily fades.

Book cover for The Summer of Diving
Book cover for The Summer of Diving

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“For decades, depression has been hidden from children, but that has turned out to be bad policy. This poignant, gentle book breaks that prohibition and will be immensely helpful to anyone caring for the child of someone with major depression. It fills an important gap in literature for young children.”

“In this child’s-eye view of a father’s depression, evocative language and lush, color-saturated art show how a girl’s imagination helps her swim through loss and heal.”

“‘A long time passes before I find out where he’s gone. Maybe everyone else has known all along.’ The suspension of knowing stretches across the first few pages, poignantly evoking the all-too-common childhood feeling that no one tells you anything. . . . . Stridsberg’s child’s-eye view of mental illness conjures how young people explain gaps in knowledge, their openness to unlikely friendships, the vulnerability of a formative age — and what memories of it survive into adulthood.”

SARA STRIDSBERG is an acclaimed author and playwright. With her novel The Gravity of Love – Ode to My Family, she was shortlisted to the prestigious August Prize for the fifth time. Sara Stridsberg got her international breakthrough with Drömfakulteten (The Faculty of Dreams) for which she was awarded the Nordic Council Literature Prize and nominated for the Man Booker Prize 2018. She is also the author of the novel, Valerie, about Valerie Solanas, which was named a Best book of 2019 by The New Yorker, longlisted for the 2019 Man Booker International Prize, Winner of the Nordic Council Literature Prize, and voted the best Swedish novel of the decade by one hundred Swedish critics, authors, journalists and publishers, in the newspaper Dagens Nyheter. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

SARA LUNDBERG is the author and illustrator of four books and the illustrator of many others. Her work has been awarded the Swedish Book Award and the August Prize among many others, and has been included on the IBBY Honour List. She lives in Stockholm, Sweden.

B.J. WOODSTEIN is a Swedish-to-English translator, writer, editor, and doula, as well as a senior lecturer in literature and translation at the University of East Anglia. She lives with her wife and their children in Norwich, England.