Goe-nissen, en äkta skånsk saga


Oh, I just find this book so exciting. It is exactly what I have been wanting to find. Eleonore Nilsson Odén did her research in the Folklore Archives in Lund and wrote a children’s book that recounts the historical and cultural milieu of the 1800s in Skåne, while capturing the folklore magic of that time. It’s “en äkta skånsk saga” that describes to the reader just what it was like to live on a farm, old-school Skånsk style with a real gårdstomte, complete with tricks, rumors, and placations.

Being new to this country and culture, I have not really understood the tomte phenomenon until reading this book. (“So, wait, there are tiny Santas hanging out in the barn?”) Now I get how these supernatural beliefs and experiences were intertwined with life. Odén conveys information on period dress, food, and family life through her lovely pencil drawings, beautifully woven with short tales of tomte hijinx.

At the end, we see that as agriculture gave way to industry, our little farm friends began to disappear, but the book gives a special tip to the reader on where to look for the shapeshifting magic of the tomte even today.
Goe-nissen bild
Goe-nissen would make a fantastic Christmas gift for kids of any age, especially the 6-9 set. I can imagine there have been generations of children asking to hear these kinds of tales told around the fireplace. Many thanks to Eleonore Nilsson Odén for making that magic accessible to us all again.


Goe-nissen, en äkta skånsk saga
Text och illustration: Eleonore Nilsson Odén
Antal sidor: 28
Odéns Bild & Förlag (2015)
ISBN: 978-91-637-7067-8
Köp: hos Odéns eller lokalt hos Tranes 

Författare: Laura Geiger

I call myself a serial expat because I moved from the USA to Canada to France and now to Sweden. My days of country­ hopping may finally be over, but the experience of immigrating will last for years to come. Maintaining personal identity while negotiating a sense of belonging in a new culture is a tricky process for both kids and adults. The good news is that books help. Children’s books, especially, provide a window into a country’s widely embraced cultural commonality and heritage. Add to that the simplified language and supporting illustrations, and you have a crash course for new Swedes on the shelves of your local library. I am a poet, artist, and enthusiastic supporter of expressive arts. I have worked as an elementary art teacher and as a homeschooling mama to my three children (born in 2004, 2007, and 2010). With an academic background in sociology and interest in second language acquisition, I am eager to share through Barnboksprat how our family is using children’s books to navigate our first steps into this new land of ours.

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