Children’s literature by Scandinavian authors represented in different periods an attractive and reliable model in Italy for both publishers and authors in search of innovative features, even though in Italian book market – which has long been highly characterized by translated works – English (and American), French and German children’s books (as well as books in general) always could boast a much greater importance than Scandinavian ones. However, starting from the late 19th century, we can point out a sort of Nordic tradition, from H.C. Andersen to Selma Lagerlöf, from Astrid Lindgren and Tove Jansson to Jostein Gaarder, Klaus Hagerup and Ulf Stark, just to mention some relevant names. Sometimes the choice to publish a Nordic author corresponded to the intention of presenting oneself as an innovative publisher; on other occasions, it just constituted an enrichment of the catalogue. If there are famous Scandinavian children’s writers who are unknown in Italy (like Lennart Hellsing or Sven Wernström), it is quite interesting to observe which authors of the past are still present in bookshops beside the new ones and – even more significantly – which differences or similarities can be highlighted, for instance, in terms of issues, plots, language. My paper aims to begin this survey, taking past and present editorial offers into account, so as to start better defining the different image Italian and Scandinavian readers may have (had) of Nordic children’s literature.
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