Books & Reading

Norwegian History and Culture: Children’s Books

This is a collection of children’s books (picture books, early chapter, middle grade, and young adult) relating to Norway and at times greater Scandinavia, both fiction and non-fiction. Having kids read books from this collection is a great way for them to learn about Norwegian culture and history.

* Viking Times *

* Immigration to US *

  • West of the Moon by Margi Preus – This story weaves Norwegian folk tales into two sisters’ quest to travel to America in 1800s. (middle grade)
  • The Dala Horse by Lissa Johnston – Ten-year-old Kaya Olson lives in a small Norwegian immigrant settlement in post-Civil War Texas. She must uncover the secrets her family is keeping to solve the mystery surrounding her mother’s death. (middle grade)

* World War II *

  • Almost Autumn by Marianne Kaurin (translated from Norwegian by Rosie Hedger) – This novel is about first love during World War II in Norway. It takes place during the time of the German occupation of Oslo and explores the hard times for Jewish families and the secret and daring work of the Resistance. (young adult)
  • The Klipfish Code by Mary Casanova – Despite her grandfather’s warnings, 12-year-old Marit and her brother Lars secretly help the Norwegian Resistance under Nazi rule in 1942. (middle grade)
  • My Grandmother Ironed the King’s Shirts by Torill Kove – This book was originally an animated short film. It is a tall tale based on the author’s Norwegian grandmother’s stories about ironing shirts for the King of Norway during World War II. (picture book)

  • The Revenge of Tirpitz by M. L. Sloan – This story goes back and forth in time and place between Norway in 1944 and Shetland in Scotland in 2014. It’s a fast paced thrilling story of a boy’s role in the sinking of the warship Tirpitz. (middle grade)
  • Shadow on the Mountain by Margi Preus – Fourteen-year-old Espen and his friends are swept up in the Resistance movement in occupied Norway during WWII. (middle grade)
  • Snow Treasure by Marie McSwigan – This is a daring adventure based on a true story about a group of Norwegian children who smuggled nine million dollars in gold past Nazi guards during World War II. (middle grade)

* Norse Mythology, Fairy Tales, & Folk Lore *

  • Magnus Chase and the Gods of Asgard Series by Rick Riordan – Magnus Chase is the Percy Jackson of Norse mythology. The third installment, The Ship of the Dead, is came out October 3, 2017. (middle grade)
  • Odd and the Frost Giants by Neil Gaiman – This novel is inspired by traditional Norse mythology and takes readers on a “wild and magical trip to the land of giants and gods and back”. (middle grade)
  • The Sea of Trolls (Sea of Trolls Trilogy) by Nancy Farmer – Jack and his sister are kidnapped and enslaved by Saxon invaders. This is a daring adventure based on Norse mythology and ancient history complete with trolls and other giant creatures. (middle grade)
  • Loki’s Wolves (The Blackwell Pages, Book 1) by K. L. Armstrong & M. A. Marr – The Blackwell Pages series takes place in the modern day in a town where most inhabitants are direct descendants of the Norse gods Thor and Loki. In the last book of the trilogy, these inhabitants have to battle fierce monsters working to bring about the apocalypse. (middle grade)
  • Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow by Jessica Day George – When a great white bear promises untold riches to her family, “the Lass” agrees to go away with him. But the bear is not what he seems, nor is his castle. To unravel the mystery, “the Lass” sets out on a windswept journey beyond the edge of the world. It is a reimagined story based on the Nordic legend East of the Sun, West of the Moon with romantic echoes of Beauty and the Beast.
  • The Princess and the White Bear King by Tanya Robyn Batt – Combining the themes of three classic tales “East of the Sun, West of the Moon”, “The Black Bull of Norroway” and “The White Bear King”, this fairy tale takes its roots from the Scandinavian tradition, but its story and its message (“where there is no trust, there can be no love”) are universal. (picture book)

* Books by Norwegian Authors in Translation *

  • Adventures with Waffles by Maria Parr (translated by Guy Puzey) – This story takes place in Norway and is about the summer adventures of two best friends, Trille, a boy, and Lena, a girl. Their adventures often end in trouble. (middle grade)
  • Doctor Proctor’s Fart Powder (series) by Jo Nesbø (translated by Tara F. Chase) – This is bestselling Norwegian mystery author Jo Nesbø’s humorous middle-grade series for kids. It’s filled with magic, wit, and bathroom humor. (middle grade)
  • Garmann’s Summer by Stian Hole (translated by Don Bartlett) – This is an award-winning picture book that delves into the mind of a young boy who is afraid of starting school. Garmann’s Summer is followed by Garmann’s Street and then Garmann’s Secret. (picture book)
  • The Night Guard by Synne Lea, illustrated by Stian Hole (translated by John Irons) – This is an illustrated book of poetry for children.
  • The Twistrose Key by Tone Almhjell – “Exhilarating suspense and unforgettable characters await the readers of this magical adventure” by this Norwegian author writing in English. (middle grade)
  • William Wenton and the Impossible Puzzle by Bobbie Peers (translated by Tara F. Chase) – Blackthorn Key meets The Da Vinci Code in this award-winning novel about a puzzle-solving genius living in Norway who is forced to use his skills to face a danger that has been lurking in the background for years. (middle grade)

 

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