At annual conference the Scandinavian Discussion Group met at The Capital Children's Museum in order to view the exhibit "Troll, Mrs. Pepperpot and Beyond: Celebrating Norwegian Children's Books" and chat with Bob Evans, curator of the museum and organizer of the exhibit. Arrangements had been made for us by Odd Mølster, First Secretary, Royal Norwegian Embassy. We were surprised and delighted by the thoroughness and imaginative presentation of this exhibit which will travel the country for the next two years.
From the opening display of a children's book published in 1798 to collections of folktales by Asbjørnsen and Moe to serial comic books of the 1940's to a multi-media computer work station for the new CD-ROM version of Jostein Gaarder's Sofie's World, the exhibit familiarizes viewers with Norway's geography, history, and culture, as well as its exceptional children's literature.
Norwegian children's literature has played a role of its own in the nation's history. During World War II, for example, children's literature was employed to ridicule occupying Nazis and to convey messages to members of the resistance movement. And in the 1950's Thorbjørn Egner had a significant impact on the entire region through his classic tale Karius & Baktus which is credited with improving dental hygiene in all of Scandinavia, the Netherlands, and Germany!
In a brief business meeting the discussion group chose Charles Spetland, University of Minnesota, as its chair for 1998-99.
Sem C. Sutter,
University of Chicago Library