The Brothers Lionheart

1973

Format
Chapter book
Author
Astrid Lindgren
Translator
Joan Tate
Illustrator
Ilon Wikland
Publisher
Oxford University Press

Nangijala is the land of campfires and fairytales, and that’s where you go when you die. This is what Jonatan Lion tells his brother Scotty who is lying there seriously ill. How terrible it is that some have to die before they’ve even turned ten – how can this be? Scotty wonders. I think it’s going to be wonderful for you, Jonathan reassures him. In Nangijala your life will be an adventure from morning till night – and even all through the night. Because Nangijala is the place where fairytales happen.

It was a gravestone on Vimmerby churchyard that gave Astrid the idea for the eternally topical story of the Brothers Lionheart, her second most translated book. The stone said: “Here rest the frail brothers Fahlén, died 1860”. She then knew that it was to become a story about death and two brothers.