With colourful illustrations, Matilda Ruta often depicts everyday situations, such as picking up at kindergarten, what it's like to have a sibling or start school. In her picture books, rabbits and hedgehogs promise to feel strong emotions.

According to the jury's motivation, she is "a picture book creator with absolute ear for the child's voice."

"I think a lot about children's power and being able to tell stories from a children's perspective. Children are just as different from each other as adults are, so it's hard to say what they like," says Matilda Ruta.

Interviewing children

Matilda Ruta studied at Konstfack in Stockholm and first made her debut as a cartoonist with a new interpretation of Tummelisa, in 2011.

Her first picture book "Ninna and the Hospital Birds" was published in 2015 and was made in collaboration with children in attendance at Gävle Hospital. Since then, she has been a well-known name in the world of children's books, often collaborating with children.

"It's very difficult to question children before a book, but if you draw, I find out a lot about what they think about the theme I'm going to make a book about.

"A big part of my childhood"

The Lennart Hellsing scholarship was established in 2019 by Rabén & Sjögren. The prize aims to highlight picture book authors who follow in Lennart Hellsing's footsteps and is awarded on his birthday on 5 June.

This year's recipient has a strong relationship to Lennart Hellsing's writing.

"It's a big part of my childhood. It can feel almost strange that someone has made it all up, because it's a part of the world that you relate to, says Matilda Ruta and continues:

"I'm really inspired by his uncompromising sense of humour and the fact that he's on the children's side, it's awesome.

In the clip above you hear more about this year's Lennart Hellsing scholarship recipient.