“Books like these are important for all kids”

Hitting shelves this week are Morgunverkin (Early One Morning) and Háttatími (Bedtime, Not Playtime), two children’s books in Icelandic for all types of families. The books, which are a collaboration between Elīna Braslina and Lawrence Shimel, tell the story of queer families through amazing illustrations and fun anecdotes with pets.

Lawrence Schimel is a full-time author, writing in both Spanish and English. His short stories, poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications and his works have been published in various languages, for example in Estonian, German, English, Dutch, Japanese, Maltese, Russian and Spanish. Lawrence has published over one hundred books in various genres and has won the Lambda Literary Award twice, the Spectrum Award and the Independent Publisher Book Award to name a few.

This Sunday at Samtökin ‘78, The National Queer Organization, will be a book launch party where all proceeds from sales of the books will go to the organization. The launch is certain to be a great time for kids with face painting from 14:00-15:00, drag queen Starina reading the books, and snacks for the little ones available.

Lawrence Shimel, the book’s authors, says that the stories were published as one volume in Hungary but were originally created as two volumes. It’s also available in 35 different editions in 27 languages around the world! He’s worked with Elina, the artist, on different projects but collaborated with Samtökin ‘78 to release them in Iceland. Sometimes the publishers they work with are specialty LGBT+ presses or children’s book publishers, but NGOs like the National Queer Organization work too. Lawrence says NGOs “understand the need to get books with this kind of representation into kids’ hands.”

Books like these are important for all kids says Lawrence. “Kids normalize the absences of different voices and lives, even if they see them in the world around them. Never representing LGBT+ lives teaches kids that these lives are less important than straight lives,” he says. The point of the books is also to be about things that all people do, not just queer people. “These books are not just for queer readers at all. All kids wake up and go to bed, which is what the stories are about. We wanted to create FUN books that showed LGBT+ lives but were not about overcoming homophobia or being different.” That being said, the goal of course is to expose all kids to diverse lives and Lawrence hopes that “reading these books will help kids grow up to be less homophobic.”

When it comes to the backlash queer childrens’ books often face, Lawrence says it’s clear they matter and are often a child’s first introduction to the world around them. “Although books are often discounted compared to other cultural formats, they are very powerful and can be important catalysts of change as well. Politicians love to claim to be defending children when attacking books with content that challenges the (white) cis-hetero-normative patriarchy, although usually, these laws  – like what happened in Hungary – are not at all about protecting children from anything, nor are our LGBT+ lives something they need to be protected from, but are just about fearmongering and trying to win votes from nationalist, right-wing people, by demonizing our LGBT lives as alien or foreign or un-national, as well as un-natural,” says Lawrence.

“Never representing LGBT+ lives teaches kids that these lives are less important than straight lives.”

He’s known for being vocal in this space, participating in Mýrin, the children’s literature festival in Iceland, and speaking out against Hungary’s bigotry. Next for Lawrence is some translation work on a new poetry collection for adults. He’s also writing in Spanish on a project tentatively titled Los Cuerpos del Lenguaje (Bodies of Language). His career began in 1994 when he published his first book and he hasn’t stopped since. Over 120 works have been published by him as an author or anthologist. That’s on top of the 100 or so books he’s translated, mostly into Spanish or English.

An inside spread from the Icelandic version of one of the books.

“I started writing because I am and have always been a voracious reader and when I was a teenager I ran out of books. I read everything we had at home or what I could get from the local library, so I started writing my own stories, especially fantasy and science fiction stories.” His first book published in Iceland, Sylvía og drekinn, is also a fantasy children’s book.

“Politicians love to claim to be defending children when attacking books with content that challenges the (white) cis-hetero-normative patriarchy, […] but are just about fearmongering and trying to win votes from nationalist, right-wing people.”

His background spans many topics and genres, but Lawrence says queerness came alive in many of his projects. He also believes that queer erotic literature is important to every person’s queer coming of age. “When I came out, to myself as well as to others, when I was in university, I started writing stores featuring LGBT+ characters, sometimes in fantasy and science fiction but also writing erotica, queer theory, etc.

I think erotica is especially important for queer people, since we are demonized for our sexuality, so it was very inspiring and powerful for me to write positive erotic stories.

My dad likes to proudly joke that I write books for children, and books you don’t want your children to find!” He laughs.

This article is a part of “What’s On: Books, Podcasts, and Comics from Queer Creators. A collection of new content for you to devour”, by journalist Michael Ryan.

Á. Óskarsson
Á. Óskarsson

Á. Óskarsson offers a variety of products and services to sports centers, swimming pools, schools, kindergartens, and the general public. The company specializes in sport-related products, activity-focused games, and a wide range of solutions for sports facilities.

Á. Óskarsson has been involved in numerous big projects related to building sports facilities and has made it their benchmark to offer good quality products and equipment since the company was founded.

See links to social media in the upper left-hand corner


Á. Óskarsson selur fjölbreytt vöruúrval fyrir íþróttahús, sundlaugar, skóla og leikskóla og einnig ýmsar vörur til einkaafnota. Fyrirtækið selur vörur til íþróttaiðkunnar og leikja ásamt því að bjóða upp á ýmsar lausnir fyrir íþróttamannvirki.

Á. Óskarsson hefur komið að fjölda stórra verkefna við byggingu íþróttamannvirkja og hefur frá stofnun kappkostað að bjóða vandaðar og endingargóðar vörur.

Tenglar á samfélagsmiðla eru í efra horninu vinstra megin.



    Blush was founded in 2011 when it started selling high quality sex products. The goal from the beginning was to change the market and take the discussion about sex products to a higher level. Today Blush provides professional services in a pleasant environment that fulfills different needs, both for individuals and couples. Blush respects diversity and wants to set a good example in all of its messaging to target audiences. Sexual health and equality in sex is important and Blush wants to focus on those issues through education and open discussion. Blush works in a socially responsible manner for society, their customers and the environment.

    Check out Blush’s website: https://blush.is/

    Omnom Chocolate
    - award-winning chocolate maker

      Omnom Chocolate is an Icelandic craft chocolate company based in Reykjavík. We produce handcrafted chocolate from organic cacao beans sourced ethically and sustainably. We’ve developed direct relationships to create premium chocolate with fine flavor cacao beans.

      Our creative flavors are carefully crafted by meticulous chocolate makers. The cacao beans are roasted, winnowed, ground, and refined into melty-smooth chocolate.

      Omnom’s process is one of constant exploration, invention, and experimentation. If it doesn’t please us, if something isn’t absolutely delicious, there’s no reason to be doing it. So, we always start with our taste buds and follow our instincts. Our team searches for the finest ingredients in the world and new ways to improve chocolate. This obsession with knowing where our ingredients come from has led us around the corner to dairy farms in the Icelandic countryside and all the way to rainforest cacao farms of Nicaragua.

      In only a few short years, we’ve grown from our 50 sq. m. petrol station space and become an award-winning chocolate maker. Now, with our headquarters in 101 Reykjavík, our chocolate is sent out around Iceland and all over the world.

      At the end of the day, our goal is to make chocolate.




        Nasdaq (Nasdaq: NDAQ) is a global technology company serving the capital markets and other industries. Our diverse offering of data, analytics, software and services enables clients to optimize and execute their business vision with confidence.

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        Blue Lagoon
        - One of the 25 Wonders of the World

        Named by National Geographic as one of the 25 Wonders of the World, the Blue Lagoon is a shimmering expanse of warmth, relaxation, and rejuvenation. Its unique geothermal seawater
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        - leading financial institution

        Landsbankinn is a leading Icelandic financial institution. It offers a full range of financial services and is the market leader in the Icelandic financial service sector with the largest branch network.

        The present bank was established on 7 October 2008 but the history of its predecessor dates back to 1886. The bank is owned by the National Treasury of Iceland, which holds 98.2% of its share capital, and other shareholders who own 1.8%.

        Landsbankinn’s strategy is to provide comprehensive financial services that meet customer’s needs. It emphasizes providing exemplary service to customers, developing e-banking for their convenience, increasing the efficiency of support functions, modernizing its technology and ensuring effective utilization of its balance sheet.

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        Landsbankinn wishes to lead the development of a sustainable society in Iceland by integrating economic, social and environmental concerns in its operations. The Bank aims to ensure that both its owners and society at large benefit from its activities.

        It intends to achieve this aim by building solid infrastructure and a strong team of 1.100 employees, by listening to its customers and by respecting and encouraging its employees to actively participate in their community. Landsbankinn was a founding member of Festa, a Centre for Corporate Social Responsibility, and is a member of the UN Global Compact.

        Landsbankinn has been a proud sponsor of the Reykjavik Pride since it was first celebrated in Iceland.

        - get inspired

        Dohop allows people to find the cheapest flights available with just one click. Founded in Reykjavik in 2004, it is the only Icelandic company of its kind and quickly became the go-to tool for finding cheap flights among the locals. Dohop finds the best deals among hundreds of different airlines and online travel agencies, to make sure that the user is getting the cheapest price. Dohop also offers hotel and car rental search engines, so users can make all of their travel bookings from a single website.

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        VSÓ Ráðgjöf


          VSÓ Ráðgjöf er alhliða ráðgjafar- og verkfræðifyrirtæki sem leggur áherslu á trausta og faglega þjónustu sem tryggir viðskiptavinum hagkvæmustu lausnir hverju sinni, skilar raunverulegum árangri og stuðlar að samkeppnisforskoti.  Á skrifstofum VSÓ í Reykjavík og í Noregi starfar yfir 80 manna samhentur hópur verkfræðinga og annarra tæknimenntaðra starfsmanna.

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          Ísey skyr
          - once tasted never forgotten

          Our Story
          Once upon a time, 1,100 years ago in fact, Nordic settlers began arriving in Iceland. They brought with them the skills and knowledge for producing skyr. As time passed, the know-how and recipe for this nutritious food slowly faded out elsewhere in the Nordic region. Luckily, the Icelandic skyr-making tradition continued.

          For centuries, Icelandic skyr formed a cornerstone of the national diet, helping to keep people strong in living conditions that were often harsh. On family farms countrywide, it was the women who nurtured this dairy and passing on both the recipe and the original Icelandic skyr cultures from mother to daughter.

          Ísey skyr builds on this remarkable legacy. It was some of those very same women, the recipients of their mothers’ expertise, who, around 90 years ago, taught Icelandic dairy scientists the art of skyr-making. The production process is more high-tech these days, and the quality standards more rigorous. However, the basic recipe and the use of original cultures to ferment the skimmed milk remain the same. Protein rich, fat-free, creamy and delicious – Ísey skyr is as relevant to consumers now as it was all those centuries ago.
          This is our secret and you are in on it

          You can read more about Ísey skyr on our website.

          Contact Us

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