Posted by: Kathy Temean | October 25, 2020

Book Giveaway: T IS FOR THOR by Virginia Loh-Hagan

Virginia Loh-Hagan has written a new picture book, T IS FOR THOR: A Norse Mythology Alphabet, illustrated by Torstein Nordstrand. It’s published by Sleeping Bear Press and hit the bookstores on August 15. Sleeping Bear Press has agreed to share a copy with one lucky winner. All you have to do to get in the running is leave a comment. Reblog, tweet, or talk about it on Facebook with a link and you will get additional chances to win. Just let me know other things you do to share the good news, so I can put the right amount of tickets in my basket for you.

Sharing on Facebook, Twitter or reblogging really helps spread the word for a new book. So, thanks for helping Virginia and Torstein!.

If you have signed up to follow my blog and it is delivered to you everyday, please let me know when you leave a comment and I will give you an extra ticket. Thanks!


Otherworldly landscapes, thundering soundtracks, epic battles between superhero gods and monsters–current movies and book series have turned Norse mythology into popular commercial entertainment in recent years. But there’s a lot more to this mythic universe than trickster Loki and his hammer-wielding god of thunder brother. T is for Thor: A Norse Mythology Alphabet takes readers beyond the movie screen and into the world of Scandinavian mythology, history, culture, and religion. Author Virginia Loh-Hagan not only examines Thor, Odin, Heimdall, and the famous Valkyries, but she also explains and introduces other inhabitants of this nine-realm universe. From learning about Ymir, the first frost giant, to Yggdrasil, the world tree holding everything together, mythology and fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy this alphabetical exploration. Fantastical artwork from Norwegian artist Torstein Nordstrand brings it all to vivid life.


I love myths. Myths are cultural explanations for things we do not have the science to explain. They’re clever. They’re creative. They tell us something about the people who invented them. They also tell us something about the people who believe in them.

For 45th Parallel Press, a Cherry Lake Publishing imprint that focuses on creating Hi-Lo books for older struggling readers, I had written three series about myths. I wrote about Greek gods and goddesses, Egyptian gods and goddesses, and Norse gods and goddesses. Because of this, my wonderful Sleeping Bear Press editor approached me about writing an alphabet book about Norse mythology. Sleeping Bear Press is famous for their wonderful alphabet books. They already had one about Greek myths entitled Z IS FOR ZEUS.

Given Marvel’s attention to Thor, it seemed like the perfect time to bring T IS FOR THOR: A NORSE MYTHOLOGY ALPHABET to life. This book is basically a love story. It represents my love of myths, monsters, and Chris Hemsworth.

I had a lot of fun researching and writing T IS FOR THOR. I read a lot of books, notably by Neil Gaiman, Ingri & Edgar d’Aulaire, and Donna Jo Napoli. I also read interpretations of the Prose and Poetic Edda. One of the biggest challenges of writing about myths is combing through all the different versions and trying to find consistencies among the details. As a writer, I had to make decisions about which leads to follow.

Readers who love the Marvel “Thor” movies may be surprised by my book as I used the Norse stories as my base. Marvel presents another version – I love their superhero movies and I love what they did with the Thor stories and of course, I love Chris Hemsworth as Thor (did I already mention that already?). But, Marvel’s version is way more tame than the real Norse stories. Norse stories are really dark. They’re edgy. They tell the stories of a fierce people who lived in scarcity and fought to live. Norse stories are not about happy endings and heroic antics; they’re about death and survival.

From A to Z, I try to share the highlights of Norse mythology. I shaped the book so that we start with the creation of the Norse world to the destruction of it. Each letter focuses on an important topic and is accompanied by a poem and informative text. I had to work really hard on the poems. I practiced writing and re-writing the poems a lot. People think it’s easy to write poems because they’re short and they rhyme. But, writing less is always harder than writing more. For example, due to my love of this topic, I wanted to share everything – I wanted to include all the interesting details – but I had to condense and cut, cut, cut…Luckily, I was paired with the talented illustrator, Torstein Nordstrand, who is actually from Norway! Torstein was able to help me tell the story in his stunning illustrations.

I hope that my book serves as a springboard into the Norse world – I invite readers to dig deeper and get lost among gods, giants, and monsters….

By the way – I’m thrilled to announce that my next picture book will be a Sleeping Bear Press alphabet book about Asian American history and culture. It’s due to be released in 2022.


Dr. Virginia Loh-Hagan is an author, university faculty member, and former K-8 teacher. She’s currently the Director of the Asian Pacific Islander Desi American (APIDA) Resource Center at San Diego State University. She has over 300 books out in the world. She writes about things that geek her. She especially likes to write about her Chinese-American heritage. After all, she was born on Flag Day in the Year of the Dragon. She’s also interested in writing about monsters, weird bodily noises, myths/urban legends, hot dogs, and anything on the odd side. She lives in northern San Diego with two naughty dogs and one semi-well-trained husband.


Torstein Nordstrand is a Norwegian freelance illustrator and concept artist who created the cover art for the Star Wars novels Darth Plagueis and Dawn of the Jedi: Into the Void. He was born November 22, 1977 and lives in Bergen, Norway. His first name means “the rock of Thor”.

His clients include St Martin’s Press, Random HouseWizards of the Coast, Upper Deck, and White Wolf Publishing. His primary subjects range through fantasy, horror and science fiction themes, often with different treatments within the genres. He has now added picture books to his resume.

Virginia, thank you for sharing your book and journey with us. This is a gorgeous book. One that will enthrall adults along with children. The book is jammed pack with so much interesting information about Norse Mythology and the illustrations are spectacular. I’m thrilled to add this book to my library. Good luck with the book!

Talk tomorrow,



  1. WOW, this book looks awesome! I know a lot of people in my area who will fine this of interest. It feels like a long while since seeing any books out on this sort of topic. The art is beautiful!


  2. WHAT a fabulous book! Can’t wait to add this, and the next one, to my collection!


  3. Oh my goodness my son would love this! I shared on twitter ❤️


  4. This book is so, so, soooo gorgeous! Such a fabulous use of light. It’s amazing how much research goes into these kinds of books, and kudos to the author for delving so deeply. I can’t wait to read this!


  5. STUNNing! Just moved to the top of my TBR list!


  6. Vibrant and action packed!


  7. What a lucious and fascinating book. I will definitely add it to my collection and I congratulate Virginia and Torstein on this beautiful project!


  8. As someone who married into a Viking family, I’m really looking forward to reading this!


  9. This looks like an incredible book. Thanks for the post and the chance to win a copy.


  10. Looks like a great book! Congratulations to the author and artist, and to the publisher for offering the giveaway. And, as always, thank you for offering such great support to writers/artists.


  11. Fascinating! I’ve found that most myths are much darker than Hollywood portrays (like Grimm’s), but I suppose they would not have such a huge audience if all the children could not watch due to ratings. Looking forward to reading this! Congrats, Virginia!

    I will Tweet this. I follow by email. 🙂


  12. I get your daily blog, and am so glad to see Virginia’s book featured! She’s so funny, and I can tell this book is going to be great!


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