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Youth Reading

A Time for Trolls: Fairy Tales from NorwayThough Sons of Norway has established a few Cultural Skills Programs specifically for children, this is not necessary for Norwegian Literature as Part 1: A Survey of Norwegian Literature is flexible enough to accommodate all ages and reading levels.  The requirements are as follows:

Activity 1: Read three books by Norwegian or Norwegian-North American authors.  Each book must be from a different genre (poetry, fiction, non-fiction, or drama) and at lest one must be by a Norwegian author.  I plan to bring books to lodge meetings and/or use books from the lodge library to read with children during lodge meetings.  For children who want to read on their own, a brief list of books that would meet these requirements is below.
Activity 2: Complete a reader response form for one of the books.  There are separate forms for fiction/drama, poetry, and non-fiction.  The questions could be answered verbally by younger children, and their responses could be written by an adult helper.  I would be happy to work with children on this during the business portion of lodge meetings.
Activity 3: Complete one elective activity.  While there are several of these activities that could be completed by children, for example creation of a Reading Log or an Oral History is something they often do in school, there are two that I would like to do with children during a lodge meeting.  One is to watch a Norwegian or Nordic film and write a review (probably as a group). The other is to read and respond to a book from or about another Nordic culture which would allow us to use some of the books in the library which are by Swedish, Danish, or Icelandic authors.

Norwegian Literature suggestions for children:

For the Cultural Skills Program in Norwegian Literature, the books must be written by Norwegian or Norwegian-North American authors.  Sadly this excludes some well known favorites such as Jan Brett who loves Norway and Sweden but is not Norwegian, Roald Dahl who was Norwegian-British, Hans Christian Anderson who was a Dane, and even Snorri Sturlason, the Icelander who set down the sagas.  Many bilingual books are by non-Norwegian authors (examples include Am I small?: Er jeg liten?, and Min lille drage). Other authors writing about Nordic topics might actually be Norwegian-North Americans, but if they don’t publicize their Norwegian connection, it may be difficult to know reading if their works should be counted toward a cultural skills pin. Fortunately, there are still a lot of options for children of different ages to meet the cultural skills requirements a few of which are listed below.
When the Robbers Came to Cardamom Town by Thorbjorn Enger (for young children)
Why Kings Don’t Wear Crowns by Princess Martha Louise (historic fiction for young children)
How Cats Fish by Steven Ford (A bilingual, or trilingual if you count the meows) by an author living in Norway though based on his name probably not Norwegian born.
A Time for Trolls by Asbjornsen and Moe ( classic Norwegian fairy tales for slightly older children)

The Race of the Birkebeiners by Lise Lunge-Larson (The what is known of the rescue of Haakon Haakonson retold for young children)
Tales from Norway of Vikings, Gods, Giants and Trolls by Anne-Lise Bay Braathen (the author, a  Norwegian grandmother, introducing her own grandchildren to Norwegian history and the old Norse religion).
Who was Leif Erikson? By Nico Medina (whom I assume is a Norwegian American based on the dedication to his grandmother…an inspiring Viking woman)
Leif the Lucky by Ingri & Edgar D’Aulaire (somewhat fictionalized but based on the story of Leif Erikson)
Norse Gods and Giants by Ingri & Edgar D’Aulaire (it’s difficult to say is this is fact or fiction, but I interpret it as an analysis of the old religion in context and therefore not really fiction)
Viking Eyewittness Book by Susan Margeson (I am not sure the author is actually Norwegian American but it’s such a great book I wanted to include it anyway)
Olaf Viking and Saint by Morten Myklebust (in a comic book style appealing to older children)

Finding Norwegian poetry for young children is challenging. There are lots of rhymes and songs in Norwegian, but finding English translations is difficult.  Roald Dahl, as mentioned doesn’t count for the cultural skills pin due to being British not North American, the sagas have a lot of “adult content” and don’t count because they are Icelandic, and most other Norwegian poetry is not oriented toward children.  I did find one really good book:

Helter Skelter by Inger Hagerup and Joan Tate (Inger Hagerup was a noted Norwegian poet who wrote this small book specifically for children)

Options are very limited.  Searches for Norwegian children’s plays always end up with the Doll’s House which, along with most of Ibsen is not appropriate for children, though Peer Gynt might be an exception.