In 1906 and 1907, schoolteacher Selma Lagerlöf wrote two geography books, The Wonderful Adventures of Nils I and II, for Swedish school students. In 1909, Lagerlöf, by now recognized as an acclaimed writer, became the first Swede and first woman to receive the Nobel Prize in Literature. Lagerlöf's Nils books drew her readers along a mesmerizing journey of Sweden's 26 provinces, from Skåne in southern Sweden to Lappland in the far north and then back down again.This journey touched upon geographical, historical, and cultural elements of each province, and was read by a wide audience of school children for many years. Ingela writes: “A number of years ago, an adult student of mine at the American Swedish Institute told me, in his fine, fluent Swedish, of how he had studied Swedish all of his adult life to learn the language of his forefathers, but that he had never been to Sweden. ‘And now," he said, "I'm too old and it is too late.’ That night, I went home and began to create a slide show for him and for other adult students, to bring them images of the landscape, culture, and history of the country they hold so dear. Over 500 slides later, I finished the slide show. In it, we travel, just as Nils did in Lagerlöf's story, across the 26 provinces of Sweden and touch upon historical, geographical, and cultural highlights, then and now. Please join me on the journey.”
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