Have you wondered what the immigrant experience was like for those who left Norway to make a new life in North America? Here are three authors who’ve written books to satisfy your curiosity. You can find them at retailers such as Bookshop.org, Scandinavian specialty stores or your local library. Pick one—or more! Then light a candle, pour a mug of coffee or tea and settle in your favorite spot for a cozy, winter read.
I Couldn’t Milk Another Goat: Goodbye Norway – Hello Minnesota by Sons of Norway Member by Paul Stephen Arneson and Carrie Kirkeeide Thorson. This book shares the stories of Paul Arneson’s Norwegian immigrant grandmother. One reader said “Of particular interest to me were the descriptions and personal stories of Carrie Kirkeeide’s early years in her small Norwegian farm home. Putting her descriptions of her childhood and adolescent years together with the photos I have of my ancestors’ farm, I can better imagine my own family history.”
Norwegian immigrant, historian, and Sons of Norway member Odd Lovoll has written several books on the Norwegian immigrant experience. Across the Deep Blue Sea: The Saga of Early Norwegian Immigrants tells the story of Norwegians who came to North America through Canadian ports from 1850 until the late 1860s. And in Lovoll’s 2018 memoir Two Homelands: A Historian Considers His Life and Work, he writes about his life with compelling insights into the reasons for staying in Norway and for choosing emigration.
If you’d prefer a novel about the immigrant experience, consider a work of historical fiction. Based on the author’s family and real Norwegian immigrants who homesteaded in California, Norske Fields: A Novel of Southern California’s Norwegian Colony was published in 2020 by award-winning author Anne Schroeder.