More Norwegian (Picture) Books

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Before setting out on our journey Reading Round Europe the only children’s fiction I had read from Norway was Jostein Gaarder‘s Sophie’s World, and that was about 15 years ago so researching this leg of our adventure involved lots of new discoveries for me. Here’s what I found, a mixture of books about Norway and from Norway:

Stian Hole, winner of the 2007 Ragazzi award at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair, has written three well received picture books, two of which are available in English translations. Booklist says of Garmann’s summer “As Michael Rosen’s Sad Book did with grief, this poignant picture book, originally published in Norway, looks at uncertainty from the inside out, not as the by-product of the first day of school but as an organic thread in the fabric of life. Rather than simply tackling the worries that come with change, this rare book plumbs the underneath, capturing the abstract feelings that reside in a child’s heart and reflecting them back.” You can read a short interview with Stian Hole here. I haven’t been able to get hold of this book yet, but it’s definitely on my to-read list.

  • Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve by Jan Brett
  • Easy Work! by Eric Kimmel
  • Hello? Is Anybody There? by Jostein Gaarder
  • The Adventures of Mrs Pepperpot by Alf Proysen
  • The Story of the Search for the Story by Bjorn Sortland, illustrated by Lars Elling (the same team who produced Anna’s Art Adventure, which I reviewed last week)
  • The Dream Factory Starring Anna and Henry by Bjorn Sortland, illustrated by Lars Elling
  • The Troll with no heart in his body and other tales of Trolls from Norway, retold by Lisa Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Betsy Bowen.
  • The Adventures of Thor the Thunder God by Lise Lunge-Larsen, illustrated by Jim Madsen
  • Leif the Lucky by Ingri Daulaire and Edgar P. Daulaire
  • Master Maid: A Tale of Norway by Aaron Shepard
  • East of the Sun and West of the Moon, a traditional Norwegian fairy tale, illustrated by Kay Nielsen

  • When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town by Thorbjorn Egner is not a picture book but sounds like a great chapter book to read to 5-8 year olds. Other Norwegian books that might appeal to kids in this age bracket are Eight Children and a Bulldozer and Aurora and the Little Blue Car both by Anne-Catharina Vestly. Vestly, who died in 2008, is an extremely popular children’s author in her homeland and has been likened to Astrid Lindgren. For 9-12 year olds Marie Mcswigan’s Snow Treasure, a tale of Norwegian children and their contributions to protecting their town’s gold during the German occupation in 1940 looks like an interesting read.

    Are you a publisher who would be interested in new Norwegian picture books? Then NORLA is for you – NORLA (Norwegian Literature Abroad, Fiction & Non-fiction) is a government-funded, non-commercial foundation which promotes Norwegian literature to other countries by awarding translation subsidies for publishers of Norwegian books. If you’re looking for some ideas about which Norwegian books to translate you could start with this selection from Aschehoug Agency (this is a pdf document with illustrations and descriptions in English of a selection of Norwegian children’s literature).

    Some other snippets if you’re interested in Norwegian (picture) books:

  • Here’s a brief introduction to Norwegian children’s literature available from the Norwegian Embassy in the UK.

  • Hilde Kramer is a Norwegian illustrator who has a great blog in English.

  • Next month sees an interesting sounding conference at the University of Oslo all about picture books, The Child and The Book.

  • My sources for compiling this list of Norwegian picture books included Outside In, A to Zoo Subject Access to Children’s Picture Books and 1001 Children’s Books You Must Read Before You Grow Up. Thanks also go to Dina Roll-Hansen from NORLA who pointed me towards the work of Stian Hole.

    Have you read any books from or about Norway with your children? What have I missed from this list? Did you get to see this wonderful sounding exhibition in the States?

    5 Responses

    1. lisainberlin

      I can’t find my Mrs Pepperpot books! I loved the illustrations by Alf Proysen. Thanks for another enlightening post!

    2. lisainberln

      Yeah, you’ll have to forgive my outburst of enthusiam! At least Jules and Donna get a little break!

      • Zoe

        Is that Donna at 32 pages? I LOVE her blog. She and Jules break my bank balance most months.

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