Youth literature: “L’amoureuse de Simone”, the beautiful book about two little girls who love each other

We do not count for butter is the spacious youth publishing house founded by Elsa Kedadouche and Caroline Fournier. Your idea? Publish stories that change and open up the field of opportunity. Soon we will find Leo up there, by Mélody Kedadouche and Adam Rosier, who tells the story of an atypical little boy, his hypersensitivity and his great imagination. Or My name is Julieby Caroline Fournier and Laurier The Fox, who talk about identity.

And the publisher published in March last year Simones loves, for which Elsa Kedadouche wrote the text and Amélie-Anne Calmo the illustrations. The story of a little girl, Simone, falls in love with another little girl, Makéda, who tells how she feels. Moments of pure joy, of incomparable participation, but also of frustration and sadness when disagreements and misunderstandings arise. A “thunder that rumbles in the stomach”, an “arrow in the heart”, a “magic” that can not be explained.

“Maybe being in love is like seeing stars in broad daylight?” asks Simone with her head in the clouds. One thing is for sure, these poetic pages constitute a beautiful work to lay in all hands, and a powerful story of a necessary visibility. Interview with the author.

Terrafemina: Why would you write this love story?

Elsa Kedadouche: It’s a theme that is strong in my life that I focus on – love and romantic relationships. For me, it is universal, while at the same time being experienced in such a diverse and unique way by everyone.

I like girls, I’m a lesbian, and I realized there were a lot of characters missing in children’s literature. At least if there was one I missed as a little girl, it was this one. The fact that I had not been able to meet characters like Simone and Makéda, that I had not been able to read love stories between two little girls, I missed a lot.

As a child, I was not aware of it, because for me, unfortunately, homosexuality did not exist until I was 14 years old. To be able to discover those kinds of stories at a younger age, to know that this relationship, these emotions were possible, and in a way as simple as Simones loves suggesting it would have completely changed my life.

Homosexuality is not an issue in Simones loves.

EK: It’s not a topic and that’s how I live my love stories most of the time. It happens that we are two women, but it is not an issue that we are two women. So of course it gets sometimes. Only, it was very important to me that this joyful part of living simple and concentrating on the essentials and on what unites us all – the strong emotions, the difficulty of being together, the harmony that must be maintained as a couple – may exist.

It is also a children’s book that illustrates the feelings of that age: to love someone and to want to spend all your time with them. Far from the sexualization that the LGBTQIA + community very often faces.

EK: In fact, non-hetero relationships are greatly reduced to sexuality. The problem with the word “homosexuality” is, moreover, that there is “sexuality” in it. Some people even prefer “gay sentimentality” over it. Simones loves is a book that talks about love and emotions: what happens in the heart, what love does in the head, how you can feel and everything you can go through when you are in love. Frustration, joy, fear, momentum, the desire to be connected.

We obviously would not put a sexual plan into a children’s book. And yet we still received comments about it. Very violent words accusing us of pedophilia, from internet users who immediately thought that when we talk about two girls, it was about sexuality. It is a connected imagination and fear, those of the sexual question attached to a non-normative desire.

This title, Simones lovesis a bias.

EK: We chose to show this title knowing that it would cause attraction or rejection, but that it would leave neither neutral nor indifferent. We were aware of that and we took a risk. A risk in the sense that we knew from the start that people would not even touch this book because of its subject matter, literally. Readers like bookstores who today refuse to refer to it or store the title on their shelves, out of personal conviction or for not being in conflict with their customers, we were told. Also under the pretext that “it did not exist [leur] audience”.

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