Up Close and (un)Conventional – Children’s Books
Welcome to my Up Close and (un)Conventional. This is where I discuss both things that have to do with reading and blogging, and things that just have to do with life in general. This time, I wanted to chat a little bit about children’s books. Especially when it comes to international bloggers. Because, frankly, I had never heard of Dr. Seuss until I was an adult – we had so many Scandinavian authors who wrote children’s books. And even now, I think that most of them are really excellent.
I’m pretty sure that even my English-speaking friends have heard of some of the authors that populated my childhood with amazing stories, but there might be some that are less well known, too.
One of my favorite children’s books authors is Astrid Lindgren – Sweden. She wrote Pippi Longstocking, The Brothers Lionheart, Ronia the Robber’s Daugher, and Emil in Lönnaberga among many others. Astrid Lindgren truly had a way with words, and her world-building was amazing! The last time I went to Norway, I bought new hard covers of my two favorite stories by her.
Another of my favorite children’s books authors is Anne Cath. Vestly – Norway. Some of her stories that touched me the most were written in the late 1960s, early 1970s. She managed to seamlessly bring gender equality into her stories. In her Aurora series, it’s Aurora’s father who stays at home with her, while her mother is a successful lawyer. This book was first published in 1966, and I think it helped my world view to read a story with a father at home with his child while the mother worked out of the home and was a breadwinner. Vestly also wrote some other series that were really good, like The Eight Children series or the Ole Aleksander series.
And in a post about children’s books, I can’t really go on without mentioning fairy tales, right? Asbjørnsen and Moe travelled around Norway and got old folk tales from various parts of the country before writing them down into a selection of Norwegian fairy tales. Several of these fairy tales have been made into animated movies or puppet movies, which I sometimes watch even today.
While there are several more I could mention, I am going to stop with my fourth author, Torbjørn Egner, who wrote both books and children’s plays. Both the books and the plays animated my childhood, and I found some old cassettes with audio versions of some of them.
Do you have some children’s books recommendations from your country? If you are in the US, what other stories than Dr. Seuss did you read when you were very young? Did these books shape your love of reading? Did stories already make you expand your view of the world as a child?