What inspired you to want to write for children?
Bjorn Fyrre: I never really intended to write children’s books. For as long as I can remember, I’ve been creating worlds in my head. Several years ago, I was reading some books, and then one morning at 2 am, the first character (Jern) was created. From there, the other characters slowly came together.
What was the inspiration for Klippe herself? Is she based on a real person?
Klippe comes from a collection of books and people. Listening to people’s challenges and stories has then been combined with experience from psychologists to find stories that are helpful for children.
What made you want to write a book about social skills and emotions?
It was not my initial intention to write books about social skills and emotions. As I was going through my own personal development, I started to think about some of the things I wish I had been taught as a child. Along with how I would explain this to my children one day, and this then led to the books.
Vikings aren’t really famous in popular culture for being friendly and caring. What made you choose a Viking theme for your story?
My parents were born in Denmark, so Vikings are part of my heritage. So it seemed cool to include it.
Do you see this story as being more entertaining or more instructional? Why?
I hope it would be both. Learning is a part of life, and life is also meant to be lived. Having fun and making the most of all situations, there is much to learn from everyday life if we are open to it.
Can you tell us a little bit about the rest of the series?
There are six children in total, and they all live in the same village. They will each be interacting in each other’s books, so we can expect to see books for all the other children. Each of them has something that they struggle with, and they will go through different situations that will challenge them personally. Helping them develop and grow.
What’s next for Klippe? Will we be meeting her again in future books?
Yes, she will actually appear in the next book about Tyr the Viking. All the books are set in the same village, so she will be back in other books. But she will also have other books where she is the main character.
What is your favorite Viking story? Not really sure I have a favorite Viking story (maybe “how to train a dragon”, but not sure if that is included). I should probably read more about the Vikings and learn about their history. For now, I know mostly the main things that we see in movies and tv shows.
Did you read books similar to Klippe the Viking as a child? Are there favorites you can recommend to readers who enjoyed reading Klippe’s adventures?
Not sure if there were books like this when I was young. As a child, I use to read Grug, Asterix, and Obelix a lot. There were also some Tin Tin and other comic books that I can’t think of at the moment.
What advice do you have for teachers and educators who might want to use your books in the classroom?
I think the important thing is about starting the conversation and helping kids open up and share their experiences. It is easy to forget children are experiencing things for the first time. So they aren’t going to be perfect at it, and they will need help trying to make sense of the world. So as adults, I feel we should do what we can to help send them down the right path.
Written by Bjorn Fyrre
Illustrated by Ankitha Kini
Ages 4+ | 59 Pages
Publisher: BoogaMedia | ISBN-13: 9780648816034
Publisher’s Book Summary: A poignant children’s picture book shares an important social-emotional learning message.
A young Viking struggling to find herself has a journey of self-discovery and self-worth.
Young Klippe is a Viking who does not feel like she belongs with the other Vikings. She finds schoolwork difficult, doesn’t enjoy the same games, and just feels…different. When another Viking girl, Kanin, sees Klippe struggling with her school scrolls, she reassures Klippe that she, too, finds the work difficult but that they can work on it together. Klippe realizes that she doesn’t always have to have all the answers. If she doesn’t know something, it’s okay to ask for help or to figure it out herself.
Later, Klippe meets up with other Vikings who are chatting and laughing together. Klippe doesn’t know how to be a part of their conversations or understand their jokes. While she sits in silence, one of them says, “Thank you for being my friend, Klippe. You are always thinking of others and caring.” Klippe realizes that she doesn’t have to be the loudest or the funniest; she is accepted and loved for who she is. She sees that she has things to offer the world by just being herself.
Other poignant vignettes in the book confront fears of failing or of trying something new, conveying the importance of trying new things and doing things you love, no matter the outcome. Question prompts and recommendations at the back of the book help parents and educators of young children invite a dialogue about these social-emotional learning milestones and how to support young learners with the tools and reassurance to thrive through self-discovery and healthy emotional intelligence. The story affirms for children that, while we all have struggles, it’s how we confront and overcome them that shows our strength of spirit; there is no right or wrong way.
Klippe the Viking is part of a series of SEL picture books based on a group of children all living in the same village who are faced with situations that they learn from.
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About the Author
For as long as he can remember, children’s book author Bjorn Fyrre has been creating worlds and stories in his head, even becoming a finalist as a youth in a writing competition. But it wasn’t until many years later, as an adult, that Fyrre began writing consistently through poetry, short stories, books, and songs, as a way to connect with himself. For Bjorn, writing is about the joy that it brings him and the desire to share that with others.
Bjorn has a love for neuroscience, psychology, and how people work. This is reflected in his stories, particularly his new picture book release, Klippe the Viking, a social-emotional learning tale about a young Viking struggling to find herself. It’s Bjorn’s goal to help young readers understand that everyone handles situations differently and has things to offer to the world and to chase their dreams and do the things they love.
The ideas for Bjorn’s stories were sparked by his own journey of self-discovery, collaborating with psychologists, and reading mental health and development books. His inspiration was to create books that would invite a meaningful dialogue with children about difficult conversations. He hopes his young readers come away from his stories understanding that it is okay to feel emotions, that we are all unique, and these differences make our world beautiful.
When he isn’t writing poignant stories of introspection for children, Bjorn works as a Business Information Security Officer, helping to protect businesses from hackers, malware, and cyber threats. He enjoys playing saxophone, singing, writing, traveling, spending time outdoors, and seeing friends. Born and raised in Australia to Danish parents, Bjorn has been living in Denmark for the past four years, exploring Europe. Klippe the Viking is his second children’s book, following Jern the Viking.
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This interview—Bjorn Fyrre Discusses Klippe the Viking—was conducted between Muzna Kazim and Bianca Schulze. For similar books and articles, follow along with our content tagged with Books About Vikings.