Over the past several years, Scandinavian and Scandinavian-influenced culture seems to be popping up everywhere. We’ve seen this during the past six to eight years in the popularity of authors such as the Swedish Stieg Larsson, who wrote The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo trilogy, and the Norwegian Jo NesbÃ¸, who writes the Harry Hole series. Over the past few years you or someone you know has definitely played â€œAngry Birds,â€ a game app created by Finnish company Rovio Entertainment. (I admit that I myself facilitated an â€œAngry Birdsâ€ pom-pom craft at my library.) Recently, the movie Frozen, based in part on 19th century Danish author Hans Christian Andersen’s fairy tale, The Snow Queen, took over the box office. To bring it back to young adult literature, the 2014 Printz Award and a Printz Honor went to two novels with Scandinavian settings, respectively Midwinterblood by the British writer Marcus Sedgwick and The Kingdom of Little Wounds by American Susann Cokal.
So this all inspired me to find out what’s been written in the past few years by Scandinavian YA authors. Read on for a sampling of recent popular and award-winning titles â€“ feel free to serve yourself!
Boy on the Edge by Fridrik Erlings (sometimes written as â€œErlingsson’) is the story of Henry, a teen who stutters, has a clubfoot and is almost illiterate. A growing rage has also developed inside him and one day he lashes out physically at his mother. As a result, he’s sent to live at the â€œHome of Lesser Brethren,â€ a farm on a lava field on the Icelandic coast. Henry finds that he really enjoys working with the animals there, and this along with the compassion of the wife of the reverend who runs the farm somewhat lessens the difficulty of his new environment. Henry’s desperate desire to make friends affects his actions, sometimes for the worse, but sometimes for the better, such as when he becomes interested in reading and writing. This novel is based on the author’s actual relationship with the real Henry. Continue reading A Small Smorgasbord of Scandinavian YA Lit