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Norwegian Literature

Updated on August 14, 2013

Exploring Norway Through Literature

As a Norwegian American, the literature and folktales of Norway have always fascinated me. I joined Sons of Norway when I was in college and am now working towards a Cultural Skills Pin in Norwegian Literature. This lens was developed as an elective activity. It is my hope that it will provide others with a springboard from which to explore Norway and the other countries of Scandinavia.

Scandinavian Children's Books Authors

  • Astrid Lindgren :: Writes about a strong willed, yet charming little five year old, Lotta. Ilon Wikland illustrates this series capturing the charm of a Swedish village and culture. Of course everyone has heard of the high spirited nine year old Pippi, another character created by Astrid Lindgren.
  • Jan Brett :: Beautiful landscapes filled with snow-laden trees reveal the underground home of a mischievous troll family.
  • Tove Jansson :: Creates a world full of adventure for the Finnish trolls in the Moomintroll series.
  • Elsa Beskow :: Choose from several of her beautifully illustrated children's books.
  • Maj Lindman :: Flicka, Ricka and Dicka series.

Maj Lindman

Swedish author and artist Maj Lindman created several books about the triplet sisters and also several about triplet brothers, Snipp, Snapp, anmd Snurr. Using brightly colored, very animated illustrations she brings to life a simple story and always perfectly captures the innocent heart of childhood.

Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Little Dog
Flicka, Ricka, Dicka and the Little Dog

In this story the little triplets find a stray dog and they all fall in love. Their mother sees a notice in the paper about a missing dog and the triplets are distraught to learn he must go. A cranky old farmer can't seem to get the pup to stay put and there is a nice surprise. The bubbling personalities of the little girls are endearing, especially when we see them interacting with an elderly person.


Elsa Beskow

Children of the Forest
Children of the Forest

Elsa Beskow is classic! What a wonderful book deeply explorative of the Earth. Elsa is accurate with her botanical drawings. She has such a beautiful mind! She places fairy children and elf children as the helping hands to Earth's changes. As the insects and bugs are preparing for Spring's entrance, the children paint and polish them. Perfect book for ages 2-6. Innocent, perfect for homeschooled children.


Folktales, Myths & Legends

Folktales (or folk tales) are stories passed down through generations, mainly by telling. Different kinds of folktales include fairy tales (or fairytales), tall tales, trickster tales, myths, and legends. You’ll find all of those here.


Fiction is any form of narrative which deals, in part or in whole, with events that are not factual, but rather, imaginary and invented by its author(s). Although fiction often describes a major branch of literary work, it is also applied to theatrical, cinematic, documental, and musical work. In contrast to this is non-fiction, which deals exclusively in factual events (e.g.: biographies, histories).

Historical Fiction


Non-fiction is an account or representation of a subject which is presented as fact. This presentation may be accurate or not; that is, it can give either a true or a false account of the subject in question. However, it is generally assumed that the authors of such accounts believe them to be truthful at the time of their composition. Note that reporting the beliefs of others in a nonfiction format is not necessarily an endorsement of the ultimate veracity of those beliefs, it is simply saying that it is true that people believe that (for such topics as mythology, religion).


A biography is a description or account of someone's life and the times, which is usually published in the form of a book or an essay, or in some other form, such as a film. An autobiography (auto meaning "self," giving "self-biography") is a biography of a person's life written or told by that same person. A biography is more than a list of impersonal facts (education, work, relationships, and death), it also portrays the subject's experience of those events.

Notable Norwegians you may be interested in reading about include: Edvard Grieg, Edvard Munch, Erik the Red, and Sonja Henie.

Reading is a passion that is best when shared with others. Leave a note and tell us about your favorite Norwegian or Norwegian-American writers.

I'd Love to Hear From You!

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    • EvaVarga profile image

      Eva Varga 4 years ago from NorCal

      @anonymous: Ooooh! Tusen takk! I will definitely check her out! :)

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      You might check out néw author Nikolina Nilsen. She has several childrens ebooks on Amazon, though still not in paper. She writes about a cute little Norwegian forest troll.

    • EvaVarga profile image

      Eva Varga 7 years ago from NorCal

      @Rachel Field: I haven't yet had the opportunity to travel to Norway - it is my dream, though! Hopefully in the next few years.

      I'm not familiar with Sophie's World ... can you elaborate?

    • Rachel Field profile image

      Rachel Field 7 years ago

      Interesting lens! I visited Norway a few years back (a couple of my friends were living there at the time) and I loved it - such a beautiful place and the Viking Museum in Oslo was amazing - it was great to see those Viking ships up close.

      When I was studying Costume there was a Norwegian girl on my course designing costumes from a Norwegian children's book about an ice palace - I always wanted to read it but I have no idea what it was called or even if it's been translated into English.

      I'm not sure how many Norwegian authors I've read books by - but I've always had a softspot for Sophie's World (an obvious choice, I'm sure!).

    • indigoj profile image

      Indigo Janson 7 years ago from UK

      You've compiled an interesting resource here for anyone wanting to learn more about Norway and its literature.