A Children’s Book by Jennifer Hartman and Mousam Banerjee
I don’t normally just randomly purchase children’s books too often. Yes, I have a six year old, but he has his own tastes that I can’t always predict, and I’m better suited taking him to a library to find his own stuff. That said, this review is the result of me buying a kid’s book to support something I believe in and possibly read to the little guy at some point. I am an avid participant on Kickstarter for comics and books, and one of my typical Kickstarter searches is for the word “Pagan”, which is generally pretty fruitless 99% of the time. However, one day my search popped up a book called Midsommar Sól by Jennifer Hartman and Mousam Banerjee and I couldn’t be more happy.
“Midsommar Sól is a mid-summer festival story featuring an ancient Norse goddess who pulls the sun across the sky. On the longest and brightest day of the year, she takes a break to dance and play.”
I have felt for a long time that Paganism in pretty much any form is still somewhat “In the closet” in most predominantly Christian areas, and you simply don’t see anything like books published for Pagan Children anywhere, and especially not in English. I’m hoping that this starts a trend of more books like this being available, and especially ones that go over actual religious practices rather than general storytelling about things like Gods filtered through the lens of a world mythology book or some such. For more information, Pagan Kids is the company that published this book.
The book itself is a story of the Germanic Sun Goddess Sól (or Sunna) and the celebration of Midsommar or the traditional celebration of the Summer Solstice. During the Summer, Sól works very hard to ride her sun chariot through the skies allowing the farmers and workers ample time to get everything ready for the long, bitter winter. She sees everyone working hard and decides to make a way for everyone to have a day off and celebrate. She leaves The Sun parked in the sky and comes to Earth to celebrate with the humans, even being crowned The Midsommar / May Queen in the Process. She has left the sun in the sky too long, and needs to let everyone rest now, so she heads off to sleep.
This is a fun book with gorgeous artwork and a simple yet informative story. It explains what The Summer Solstice is, what Midsommar is, and who Sól is without going crazy with expeditionary dialogue and other info dumps that can bog books like this down. That said, there is a nice little glossary at the end that explains some of the terms, and with the book being written from a Swedish vantage point, I was happy to see some of the terms defined. Midsommar Sól is a nice surprise, and a great addition to any Pagan library.
This sounds wonderful. Thank you for posting. The only children’s books of a Heathen sort bereft of burdensome social commentary I’ve found have been the works of the D’Aulaire family. I’ll have to put this to Seaxwife and get it ordered.
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I’ll have to look that up as well, I’m always open for stuff like this.
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I stumbled across your review today. Thank you for this! I don’t think an author could receive a better, genuine review than this! The link has been shared on the @PaganKids Facebook page. Please let me know if you have any social media pages I can tag so I can help support you too!
I never have actually set up one for my pagan blog, but I definitely appreciate the kind words. This was a great book! I normally review stuff on my other site (arcadiapod.com), but I try to keep the more spiritual stuff separate. I see you have more books out there as of now, so now I need to get caught up! lol
Thanks, Stephen! Yes, my first book is Old Mother Frost – A Yuletide story focused on reviving the pre-Christian aspects of Yule. Like Midsommar Sol, it is based on Swedish cultural traditions, and I tie in elements of pagan myths and legends.
Who Is That in the Sky? is an incredibly simple board book. It doesn’t seem like much went into it, but it is for babies and early readers. Everything was well-researched, and that research went into how the horses, carriages and deities were illustrated. The goal was to introduce the lesser-known gods and draw a parallel between their roles and the different phases of the day. Looking back, I wish the characters were more cartoon-like, but I was supporting a new illustrator with a talent for a brilliant ‘cosmic’ effect that I felt was important to depict with the sky gods.
You mentioned your children are a bit older, so I don’t think the board book would be suited for them. I’ll try to put together a video with its research, followed by a reading 🙂
I did tag Arcadia Pod in the comment section of the social media post. I also linked the Great Odin’s Raven! website in my stories on Instagram. Hopefully, you’ll see some traffic increase on both sites.
You are very kind, thank you so much!