The Wonderful Adventures of Nils was the first Swedish book I ever bought. It's Swedish title is Nils Hogerssons underbara resa genom Sverige, which means Nils Holgersson's wonderful journey across Sweden.
It was written by Selma Lagerlöf and published in 1906. She was commissioned to write it as a geography book for schools and it is said that one of the reasons for this was that at the time there was a big migration from Sweden to the US and they wanted to help the Swedes fall in love with their country again.
It certainly made me fall in love with Sweden. It's an exciting story and through Lagerlöf's beautiful writing, you are taken on a -wonderful- adventure through Sweden with Nils, the mischievous protagonist, who has been shrunk by a 'tomte' (a kind of little dwarf) as a result of his bad behaviour.
The illustrations are absolutely stunning too! I wish I could find some examples for you but I've searched and I can't find anything!
Nils can be found on the back of Swedish 20kr notes. Actually, this story was the very first thing Björn and I talked about, the evening we met. He showed me one of these notes and was surprised to hear that I know and love the book :)
Have you ever read this story? I think it's quite famous outside of Sweden too. Can you believe we're already at 'W'? Just three letters left now and then my birthday!