Reading Through Time and Space: Denmark

Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Library - Central LibraryStaff Picks

Reading Through Time and Space: Denmark

Mermaids, ducklings and secluded coves

Mysteries like The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo have led to a boom in Scandinavian fiction for adults.  But what about fiction for children?  In this installation of Reading Through Time and Space, we will travel to a peaceful, misty country made up of one peninsula and 443 islands.  It's the home of Legoland, Viking festivals and delicious smørrebrød sandwiches -- that's right, Denmark!

The Ugly Duckling by H.C. AndersenThough written more than a century ago, the fairy tales of Hans Christian Andersen continue to inspire authors and young readers alike.  His stories are considered classics.  

Some of the most well-loved ones -- such as The Little Mermaid, The Ugly Duckling, Thumbelina, The Emperor's New Clothes and The Princess and the Pea -- are continually retold and reborn into new and interesting adaptations.  

Mr. Andersen is so famous, you can see a bronze statue of him and the ugly duckling in New York City's Central Park. Another famous Andersen-inspired statue is of the little mermaid, sitting alone on a rock in Copenhagen harbor (Copenhagen is the capital of Denmark).    

The Crow-Girl by Bodil BredsdorffThe Crow-Girl is the first in a four-book series called The Children of Crow Cove by contemporary author Bodil Bredsdorff. Popular since its first publication in 1993, an English translation was finally released 13 years later, in 2006.

The spare, sincere prose is rich with that special type of beauty called "wabi-sabi" (hint: it's a Japanese concept that any of our librarians are happy to look up with you!).  It's realistic fiction that is neither harsh nor simplistic, and is especially well-suited to older children and younger teens.

On her official website, Bredsdorff states that she wrote the book for "twelve-to-thirteen year-olds who ask the important questions but are not yet hit by a youth’s or adult’s love problems, jealousy, and disappointments," who are experiencing “the high point of childhood, which is the time just before it is past.”

Thanks for joining me in Reading Through Time and Space! Be sure to check back for our next fantastic journey.

There's so many great books in the world -- who knows where they might take us next?