We Don’t Count For Butter is the inclusive publishing house for young people co-founded by Elsa Kedadouche and Caroline Fournier. Their idea? Publish stories that change and open up the field of possibilities. We will find it soon Lion up there, by Mélody Kedadouche and Adam Rosier, which tells the daily life of an atypical boy, his hypersensitivity and his great imagination. OR My name is Giuliaby Caroline Fournier and Laurier The Fox, which talks about identity.
And the publishing house came out last March Simone’s lover, of which Elsa Kedadouche wrote the text and Amélie-Anne Calmo the illustrations. The story of a little girl, Simone, in love with another little girl, Makéda, who tells what she feels. Moments of pure joy, of unparalleled complicity, but also of frustration and pain, when disagreements and misunderstandings arise. A “thunder that resounds in the stomach”, an “arrow in the heart”, a “magic” that cannot be explained.
“Maybe falling in love is like seeing the stars in broad daylight?” Simone asks with his head in the clouds. One thing is certain, these poetic pages form a beautiful work to put in all hands, and a strong story of a necessary visibility. Interview with its author.
Terrafemina: Why did you want to write this love story?
Elsa Kedadouche: It is a strong theme in my life, which I put at the center: love and romantic relationships. For me it is universal, despite being experienced in such a multifaceted and unique way by all.
I like girls, I’m a lesbian and I realized there was a lot of characters missing in children’s literature. Anyway, if there was one I missed as a kid, it was this one. The fact of not having been able to meet characters like Simone and Makéda, of not having been able to read love stories between two little girls, I missed a lot.
As a child I didn’t realize this because for me, unfortunately, homosexuality didn’t exist until the age of 14. To be able to discover these kinds of stories at a young age, to know that this relationship, these feelings were possible, and in a way as simple as Simone’s lover proposing it would have completely changed my life.
Homosexuality is not a topic Simone’s lover.
EK: It’s not a topic and that’s how I experience my love stories most of the time. It happens that we are two women, but it is not an argument that we are two women. So, of course, sometimes it becomes. Only, it was very important to me that this joyful part of living simply and focusing on the essentials and what unites us all – the strong feelings, the difficulty of getting along, the harmony to maintain as a couple – could exist.
It is also a children’s book that illustrates the feelings of that age: loving someone and wanting to spend all the time with them. Far from the sexualization that the LGBTQIA + community often faces.
EK: In fact, non-heterosexual relationships are very much boiled down to sexuality. The problem with the word “homosexuality”, too, is that there is “sexuality” in it. Some people even prefer “homosentimentality”. Simone’s lover is a book about love and feelings: 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.
Obviously we would not have put a sexual plan in a children’s book. Yet we have still received comments to that effect. Very violent words that accused us of pedophilia, by Internet users who immediately thought that being two girls it was about sexuality. It is an associated fantasy and fear, those of the sexual question linked to a non-normative desire.
this title, Simone’s loverit is a prejudice.
EK: We chose to exhibit this title knowing that it would cause attraction or rejection, but that it would leave neither neutral nor indifferent. We were aware of this and took a risk. A risk in the sense that we knew that from the beginning people wouldn’t even touch this book because of its topic, literally. Readers like booksellers, who today refuse to refer to it, or hide the title on their shelves, out of personal convictions or not to conflict with their customers, we are told. Even under the pretext that “it wasn’t for [leur] public”.