Princess Madeleine’s debut children’s book Stella and the Secret is based on the topic of children’s rights – an issue she has actively worked on during her years as board member of World Childhood Foundation.
At the centre of the story is Stella, a nine-year-old girl trying to adapt to her new life after the family has moved to another country. One day a new friend tells Stella a horrible secret, and says she must promise not to tell anyone.
What is Stella and the Secret about?
– It’s about a girl who moves with her family from New York to Sweden. The first part of the book revolves around the difficult process of coming to a new country, making friends and getting accustomed to the school environment. Stella faces problems and challenges, and I think many kids can recognize themselves in her situation. At the end of the day the story is about encouraging children to stand up for themselves; to find their inner strength and have the courage to say no if something doesn’t feel right.
What is the goal with the book?
– I feel that as a parent, it’s difficult to find the right moment to talk to your kids about difficult things. I hope that this book can help children, parents and teachers to find new ways to discuss topics that may otherwise be tricky to address. It’s also an introduction to more difficult areas like sexual abuse and body integrity.
– Our hope is that the book can help children find their inner strength to stand up for themselves in situations of discomfort, and show that those who fall victim to abuse are not alone. We let the main character Stella experience both good and bad secrets. Good secrets should always remain secrets, but a bad secret is too heavy for a child to carry on her own. As adults, we have to lift that responsibility off the children’s shoulders and explain that by confiding in a trustworthy adult, there will always be a solution to the problem. The child should never have to come up with these solutions on her own.