The most recommended books about Norway

Who picked these books? Meet our 54 experts.

54 authors created a book list connected to Norway, and here are their favorite Norway books.
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Book cover of The Moon is Down

Christine Foster Meloni Author Of Growing Up in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: The Story of Andrea Marcello Meloni

From my list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became very interested in this topic when I moved to Italy and met and married Andrea Meloni. I had never been particularly interested in wars and battles but, when he began to tell me about his very personal experience growing up in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, I was captivated and felt that his unique story was important. I, therefore, encouraged him to write his memoirs. My book is based on them, and so it is more his book than mine. However, I did extensive research to set his story in a coherent historical context. 

Christine's book list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini

Christine Foster Meloni Why did Christine love this book?

Steinbeck wrote this novel about a country occupied by the Nazis during World War II.

Although the name of this country is never mentioned, it was generally acknowledged that it was Norway. The focus is on one particular town and shows what life is like when you are not free and live in constant fear.

This book found its way to Europe and was translated into European languages and widely distributed clandestinely. It served to encourage occupied countries to rebel against their oppressor.

By John Steinbeck,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Moon is Down as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Occupied by enemy troops, a small, peaceable town comes face-to-face with evil imposed from the outside—and betrayal born within the close-knit community

A Penguin Classic

In this masterful tale set in Norway during World War II, Steinbeck explores the effects of invasion on both the conquered and the conquerors. As he delves into the emotions of the German commander and the Norwegian traitor, and depicts the spirited patriotism of the Norwegian underground, Steinbeck uncovers profound, often unsettling truths about war—and about human nature.

Nobel Prize winner JohnSteinbeck’s self-described “celebration of the durability of democracy” had an extraordinary impact as Allied…


Book cover of Occupied: A Novel Based on a True Story

J.L. Oakley Author Of The Jossing Affair

From my list on Norway during WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am a trained historian and past educator at a historical museum. I fell into my passion for Norway during WWII after I dreamed about a man in the snow surrounded by German soldiers. I was encouraged to write the scene down. That scene became the prologue to The Jøssing Affair, but not before going to libraries and reading countless secondary and primary resources, interviewing numbers of Norwegian-Americans who settled in my area in the 1950s, and eating a lot of lefse. This passion of over 28 years has taken me to Norway to walk Trondheim where my novels take place and forge friendships with local historians and experts.

J.L.'s book list on Norway during WWII

J.L. Oakley Why did J.L. love this book?

Occupied is a fictionalized story of the author’s father, Trygve Borstad, during WWII. I recommend this book because I think the novel gives a realistic portrayal of ordinary life in occupied Norway as he tells the story of his family and their struggles to survive during the German occupation of their country. Trygve was only 7 years old in 1936 when he was living with his grandparents in Norway. His father had gone back to the States to find a place for the family to live and raise money for their passage for them to travel. Ten years will pass until he will see his father again. As he grows into a teenager, he is entrusted with a job that will protect a resistance group in the town. 

By Kurt Blorstad,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Occupied as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A world at war, a family kept apart and a young boy in the midst of it all. Will they all survive? As WW II breaks out, a father finds himself in the U.S. while his wife and sons are home in occupied Norway. Based on the son’s true-life journals from 1935-1945, this is the story of a family separated by war and uncertainty.


Book cover of Nansen

Alastair Scott Author Of Tracks Across Alaska

From my list on the Far North.

Why am I passionate about this?

For five years I hitchhiked round the world, for the most part in a kilt. I cycled 5000 miles behind the Iron Curtain before it fell and took a dog team across Alaska. I’ve sailed solo round Ireland and endured storms off Greenland. Currently, I’m cycling in stages from North Cape to Cape Town.  Unconventional travel has been a part of my life for forty years.  As a writer I try to inform and entertain, and my eye is drawn to quirky detail and humour.  I’m inspired by wild places and the people who live in them:  their customs and intrinsic wisdom.  In particular I’m fascinated by the Far North and have travelled extensively throughout this region.

Alastair's book list on the Far North

Alastair Scott Why did Alastair love this book?

Nansen, ‘the father of polar exploration’ (and a great fan of Rae) was not just the first man to cross Greenland, to endure an intentional two-year drift towards the North Pole in an ice-locked ship and to turn skiing into a popular sport, but he was also a heartthrob diplomat, a founder of independent Norway, the first to introduce a tractor to Russia and a mediator in the enforced mass migrations of millions of displaced people. Did you know, for example, that while Robert Falcon Scott was discovering he’d been beaten to the Pole, his wife Kathleen was sharing a bed with Nansen in a Berlin hotel? The span of this book is immense and the fascination of its subject - an early sex symbol and media superstar - won’t disappoint.

By Roland Huntford,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Nansen as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Behind the great polar explorers of the early twentieth century - Amundsen, Shackleton, Scott in the South and Peary in the North - looms the spirit of Fridtjof Nansen (1861-1930), the mentor of them all. He was the father of modern polar exploration, the last act of territorial discovery before the leap into space began.
Nansen was a prime illustration of Carlyle's dictum that 'the history of the world is but the biography of great men'. He was not merely a pioneer in the wildly diverse fields of oceanography and skiing, but one of the founders of neurology. A restless,…


Funny Folk Tales for Children

By Allison Galbraith,

Book cover of Funny Folk Tales for Children

Allison Galbraith Author Of Funny Folk Tales for Children

New book alert!

Why am I passionate about this?

I'm a storyteller and folktale collector. All my jobs have involved telling stories – as a community librarian, in theatre, in education, and since 2006 as a professional storyteller and writer. I work in schools, festivals, and outdoor education with all sorts of people and their animals. I have honed my skills to find the most enjoyable traditional tales that can be shared widely. I live in Scotland, where I encourage families to read and tell their favourite stories together. Storytelling is a living art form that belongs to everyone. More than anything, I love the natural world, and I bring the magnificence of nature into all my work.

Allison's book list on world folktales for reading to everyone over six

What is my book about?

These are the funniest folktales in the world. You will be amazed at the intelligent animals and LOL at the ridiculous scrapes the humans get themselves into in these short stories. Discover why dogs are our best friends, learn how to change a cow into a zombie, and meet a shape-shifting, cartwheeling raccoon dog.

Suitable for reading age 7+. This book is perfect for storytime & reading together at bedtime and holidays. These stories will cheer even the grumpiest grandparent up :).

Funny Folk Tales for Children

By Allison Galbraith,

What is this book about?

'It's the best present you can give. It never breaks and doesn't need batteries. What is it?'

The answer is inside THIS BOOK!

Eleven of the funniest traditional tales from around the world. Laugh your socks off as you discover why dogs are our best friends, learn how to flummox fairies, and meet a shape-shifting, cartwheeling badger.


Book cover of West of the Moon

Jerry Mikorenda Author Of The Whaler's Daughter

From my list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma.

Why am I passionate about this?

When I think of great novels, I don’t recall plot twists, beautiful language, or exotic settings. I remember the characters. How they met or didn’t meet, the challenges put before them. Great, unforgettable characters create great stories. They take risks, become friends with people society tells them not to, and don’t hide their motivations or fears. They show their humanity. A great character can make walking down a supermarket aisle an exciting adventure. Boring, one-dimensional ones can make a rocket launch seem like you’re reading about paint drying. All the books I discuss hit the character checklist tenfold. 

Jerry's book list on young people dealing with social and emotional trauma

Jerry Mikorenda Why did Jerry love this book?

Reading this book is like the first breath you take when opening a door to a winter blizzard. Your lungs freeze.

What I admired most about this muscular tale is Preus doesn’t pull any punches for her young readers. Like an ice ball covered in snow, she packs Nordic folktales and myths around the harsh realities of two Norwegian sisters who escape from a lecherous goat farmer to join their father in America.

The book title ties into the moment every day before total darkness takes over. The way I see it, this book shows that a good story, honestly told, sheds light everywhere. 

By Margi Preus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked West of the Moon as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 8, 9, 10, and 11.

What is this book about?

In West of the Moon, award-winning and New York Times bestselling author Margi Preus expertly weaves original fiction with myth and folktale to tell the story of Astri, a young Norwegian girl desperate to join her father in America. After being separated from her sister and sold to a cruel goat farmer, Astri makes a daring escape. She quickly retrieves her little sister, and, armed with a troll treasure, a book of spells and curses, and a possibly magic hairbrush, they set off for America. With a mysterious companion in tow and the malevolent "goatman" in pursuit, the girls head…


Book cover of Lena, the Sea, and Me

Laura Anne Bird Author Of Crossing the Pressure Line

From my list on for girls who love the outdoors.

Why am I passionate about this?

I live in Madison, Wisconsin, and when I’m not reading my way through a tall stack of library books, I love to exercise and explore the outdoors, particularly in the Northwoods and in the Driftless Area (Google it—it’s the coolest!). My debut novel, Crossing the Pressure Line, is about identifying the lifeboats that have the power to save us during turbulent times. One of my own personal lifeboats is nature. I spend time outdoors every single day, even when the temperature is below zero, because I find deep peace in breathing fresh air, using my muscles, and watching for signs of wildlife. 

Laura's book list on for girls who love the outdoors

Laura Anne Bird Why did Laura love this book?

Maria Parr’s timeless novel takes place in Norway’s fictional Mathildewick Cove. The story centers on Lena and her best friend Trille, who are dealing with typical 12-year-old matters, including family arguments, rapidly growing bodies, and drama-filled school days. The setting of Lena, the Sea, and Me is especially charming, featuring mountains, hills, farm animals, and of course the water, which plays a significant role in the book. I appreciate that Lena and Trille spend all their time outside. Lena in particular—with her strong limbs and ruddy cheeks—is formidable as she builds rafts and plays goalkeeper for her soccer team. Irascible and lively, she will delight and inspire readers everywhere.

By Maria Parr,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Lena, the Sea, and Me as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it. This book is for kids age 7, 8, 9, and 10.

What is this book about?

A heartwarming and action-packed story of friendship from Norway's answer to Astrid Lindgren.
This classic in the making from award-winning author Maria Parr is packed full of laugh-out-loud adventures and paints an honest picture of the highs and lows of friendship and growing up.

Dark clouds are looming in Mathildewick Cove. The arrival of a new football coach is putting twelve-year-old Lena's goalkeeping career in doubt. And in the house next door, Trille is wondering how to impress the girl who has just joined his class.

The stage is set for a dramatic year ahead. What are Trille and Lena…


Book cover of Shadow on the Mountain

Sandy Brehl Author Of Odin's Promise

From my list on young characters with courage and resistance in WWII.

Why am I passionate about this?

I am not Norwegian, or even Scandinavian. My interest in history came from my dad being a veteran after serving in Europe in WWII, even though he talked about it very little. I’ve always loved to read, write, and think, so I especially loved to read WWII stories and share them. After I met new friends on a trip to Norway, people who had lived through the five-year German occupation, I felt compelled to write about their experiences. Their stories, and ones like Snow Treasure, earned my deep respect, compelling me to research, and eventually to write, a novel that might capture the spirit and stories I had heard and loved.

Sandy's book list on young characters with courage and resistance in WWII

Sandy Brehl Why did Sandy love this book?

This novel (historical fiction but inspired by real people and events) was released just a month before my novel. I read it immediately and was enthralled by the intensity and density of issues. Two best friends, Norwegian teen boys, choose opposite paths after the Nazi invasion of their homeland. One reveled in the potential glory and power of joining a German Youth club while the other pursued resistance and resilience in protesting the propaganda and power of the military occupation. The escalation of emotions and dangers, actual conflicts, high-stakes tension, and eventual climactic decisions are riveting. This has everything: emotional depth, action, suspicion, suspense, and complex characters in challenging situations. Add the Author Note with details about the truth behind the tale and you’ve got a guaranteed winner of a book.

By Margi Preus,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Shadow on the Mountain as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

Shadow on the Mountain recounts the adventures of a 14-year-old Norwegian boy named Espen during World War II. After Nazi Germany invades and occupies Norway, Espen and his friends are swept up in the Norwegian resistance movement. Espen gets his start by delivering illegal newspapers, then graduates to the role of courier and finally becomes a spy, dodging the Gestapo along the way. During five years under the Nazi regime, he gains-and loses-friends, falls in love, and makes one small mistake that threatens to catch up with him as he sets out to escape on skis over the mountains to…


Book cover of The Good Bear

Violet Plum Author Of Little Chicken Classic - Luke Walker: animal stick up for-er

From my list on for children which are also loved by adults.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love writing and illustrating all sorts of children's stories. The only thing my stories have in common is that none of their heroes eat meat, drink milk, or take part in the egg and spoon race. I write the kind of stories I want to read. I don't want to read about sex or violence. And I don't want to read foul language. I want something meaningful, something with a concluding note of optimism. Consequently, well-written children's stories often appeal to me. In fact, I've come to the conclusion that these are not just children's stories, they're good stories that anyone can enjoy.

Violet's book list on for children which are also loved by adults

Violet Plum Why did Violet love this book?

Thea's Christmas visit to her estranged father and his new family in Norway is disappointing and infuriating, until she meets the bear. In this fiction, Sarah Lean conveys so much truth. Her beautiful, mistreated, hungry, lonely bear is so real, he brings tears to my eyes. Thea tries desperately to protect her new best friend from the locals who consider him a threat, because she knows “They would not take the time to look into his eyes, to question and discover what he was really like." I wish everyone would take the time to look into animals' eyes, to see who they really are, and let them be.

By Sarah Lean,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Good Bear as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

A story of friendship to treasure this Christmas . . .

From the bestselling author of A DOG CALLED HOMELESS, this is the perfect Christmas gift for fans of Michael Morpurgo, Lauren St John and Sara Pennypacker's PAX.

It's the Christmas holidays and Thea is looking forward to spending them with her father. She can tell him all about her plans to become a writer, and maybe he'll buy her the typewriter she's been dreaming of.

But when Thea arrives in snowy Norway, everything feels . . . wrong. Her father is as distant as ever and now she has…


Book cover of The Dawn Attack

FX Holden Author Of Aggressor

From my list on war stories you probably haven’t read yet.

Why am I passionate about this?

I’m a former journalist and intelligence officer turned writer, so I seek out authenticity in my reading, especially when it comes to war stories. I look for fiction from people who have been there or know how to listen to those who have, and be their voice. When I write, I always put together a team of veterans and specialists in their fields to challenge my work and make sure I get it right, too!

FX's book list on war stories you probably haven’t read yet

FX Holden Why did FX love this book?

This is a book I read as a teen that inspired me to write war stories. I loved it because it doesn’t glorify war; Brian Callison is a master of writing about war as it is, from multiple perspectives, in all its bloody, brutal horror.

The action is great but almost secondary to the memorable characters he creates, and Brian Callison writes dialogue the way soldiers really talk. If you like this one, he's written a dozen more like it, and they haven't aged.

By Brian Callison,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Dawn Attack as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

His third novel about an amphibious assault on a Norwegian coast town during World War II.


Book cover of The Jossing Affair

Christine Foster Meloni Author Of Growing Up in Mussolini's Fascist Italy: The Story of Andrea Marcello Meloni

From my list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini.

Why am I passionate about this?

I became very interested in this topic when I moved to Italy and met and married Andrea Meloni. I had never been particularly interested in wars and battles but, when he began to tell me about his very personal experience growing up in Mussolini’s Fascist Italy, I was captivated and felt that his unique story was important. I, therefore, encouraged him to write his memoirs. My book is based on them, and so it is more his book than mine. However, I did extensive research to set his story in a coherent historical context. 

Christine's book list on the dangers of living under Hitler and Mussolini

Christine Foster Meloni Why did Christine love this book?

Oakley is a master at writing historical fiction. This novel takes place in Norway during the Nazi occupation.

Based on her thorough study of documents and extensive interviews with relevant individuals in Norway, she has created characters who are patriots (jøssing), characters who go over to the German side and are as cruel as if not crueler than the Nazis, and characters who try to appear neutral so as not to put themselves or their families in harm’s way.

The protagonist is the leader of a vast resistance network in Norway with strong ties to the British military. The fear is palpable. The reader is in constant dread that the jøssings will be caught, tortured, and killed. 

By J.L. Oakley,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked The Jossing Affair as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

British-trained Norwegian intelligence agent, Tore Haugland, is a jøssing—a patriot—sent to a fishing village on Norway’s west coast to set up a line to receive weapons and agents from England via the “Shetland Bus.” Posing as a deaf fisherman, his mission is complicated when he falls in love with Anna Fromme, a German widow. Accused of betraying her husband, she has a young daughter and secrets of her own. Although the Allies have liberated France, the most zealous Nazis hang on in Norway, sending out agents to disembowel resistance groups. If Haugland fails, it could cost him his life and…


Book cover of Billy Boyle

Keith Hartman Author Of The Gumshoe, the Witch, and the Virtual Corpse

From my list on unique settings for a mystery novel.

Why am I passionate about this?

I love mysteries, but I find that after a while, a lot of them tend to run together in my head. So I just love it when I find a book with a setting so unique that it sticks in my mind forever. And it’s even better when the author uses that setting to show me something new about human nature, history, or society while still delivering me a plot that keeps me turning pages.

Keith's book list on unique settings for a mystery novel

Keith Hartman Why did Keith love this book?

This was a book that my dad turned me on to. I loved it so much that I immediately raced through the rest of the books in the series. For the past few years, my dad and I have had a ritual of waiting for the next book in the series to come out so that we can talk about it.

The main character is the likable son of a Boston cop who learns how to be a detective over the course of the series. But for me, what really makes this series shine is the setting. Billy is swept up in WW 2 and dispatched to solve mysteries in every corner of the conflict. The series takes you to all sorts of interesting places, like a training facility in Northern Ireland, occupied France behind the German lines, neutral Switzerland, and even the Vatican City. 

It’s a series that brings…

By James R. Benn,

Why should I read it?

1 author picked Billy Boyle as one of their favorite books, and they share why you should read it.

What is this book about?

“This book has got it all—an instant classic.”—Lee Child, author of The Hard Way
 
“It is a pleasure marching off to war with the spirited Billy Boyle. He is a charmer, richly imagined and vividly rendered, and he tells a finely suspenseful yarn.”—Dan Fesperman, author of The Prisoner of Guantanamo
 
What’s a twenty-two-year-old Irish American cop who’s never been out of Massa-chusetts before doing at Beardsley Hall, an English country house, having lunch with King Haakon of Norway? Billy Boyle himself wonders. Back home in Southie, he’d barely made detective when war was declared. Unwilling to fight—and perhaps die—for England,…