The Brothers Lionheart is my favourite Astrid Lindgren novel – a fascinating, inspiring and adventurous tale about Karl and Jonatan to reach the land of light.
Children’s books are for all ages: they are entertaining, funny, wonderful, magical, adventurous and so much more. When a book has a specific theme, it can open up discussions into a subject you normally perhaps would not address that way. You are never too old to be swept away by a book – and many of us have fond memories of the books they’ve read in their youth – they stay with us throughout our lives.
There is one writer for me, who both in writings as in personality has that ageless soul of the internal youth: Astrid Lindgren. Astrid Lindgren is a Swedish writer who lived for nearly a century (1907-2002) and never lost the connection to her inner child. She is well known for ‘Pippi Langstocking’, the redhaired girl living in Villa Villekulla with her horse and monkey Mr. Nilsson. The books are delightful, charming and entertaining.
However, Astrid Lindgren’s fantasy book ‘The Brothers Lionheart’ is the one that swept me away. The story is about the 10-year-old Karl, who is bedridden and knows he is going to die in the near future. Karl has a very close bond with his 13-year-old brother Jonatan, who tells Karl that dying is not the end and that Karl will then go to Nangijala, a land where he will be happy again and not feel the burden of his physical problems. Unfortunately, a fire breaks out in their home and Jonatan dies when he rescues Karl and carries him into safety. Karl is heartbroken and dies shortly after. When Karl awakes, he finds himself in Nangijala’s Cherry Valley, reunited with his brother.
Instead of a ‘happy ever after’ there unfolds a story of adventure, of betrayal, mistrust, actions and a dragon Katla. The dragon has to be conquered and destroyed before the land of light Nangilima can be reached. Nangilima is the land where all live carefree and happy ever after. To be able to enter Nangilima Karl will have to find the power and strength in himself: he is the only one who can rescue his brother Jonatan.
Do you think this sounds dark and dangerous? Don’t feel that way! Even now, writing down the storyline and reminiscing about the book and the two brothers, I get goosebumps all over and cannot praise the author enough. It is a book that handles fear of illness and death with integrity, describing the unconditional love between siblings. Above all, it’s an entertaining and adventurous fantasy book.
‘The Brothers Lionheart’ is a book that will inspire children, young adults and adults throughout their lives. It is so beautiful and breathtaking, the views on the afterlife and the land of light. Do not be afraid to read and enjoy the book, it has hidden depths of beauty and I hope it will impress you as much as I am captivated by the beautiful words of that unique Swedish author Astrid Lindgren.
About the Author
Astrid Lindgren (1907-2002) and grew up at a farm called Näs in the south of Sweden. She began her writing career in 1944 after she won a children’s book competition, with Pippi Longstocking published a year later. She published more than one hundred books in her lifetime and is still the most popular children’s author in Sweden. Her books have been translated into more than sixty languages, and she received numerous honours and awards.
The Brothers Lionheart is available from Amazon.
|Publisher||Hodder Children’s Books; illustrated edition edition (1 Aug. 1984|
|Age Category||Teen/Young Adult|