Sweden’s most beloved children’s author, Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) is also considered one of the most important writers for young people in the world, and her work has been translated into more than 100 languages. Shortly after her death, the Swedish government inaugurated the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) to recognise outstanding international achievement in children’s literature.
With her breakthrough book, Pippi Longstocking (1945), Lindgren at once reinvigorated children’s literature and created one of its most interesting characters. Pippi appeared in chapter books, picture books and a series of film adaptations. Red-haired, pig-tailed, principled, resourceful, independent and so strong that she can lift her horse with ease, Pippi is the nine-year-old daughter of a buccaneering sea captain who lives on a remote island and a mother who died when Pippi was a baby. She lives in a small Swedish village, in a house she names the Villa Villekulla, with Mr Nilsson, her pet monkey, and a horse. She always does what she likes: sleeps the wrong way around in bed, eats whatever she likes and plays instead of going to school. Her best friends, Tommy and Annika, live next door. Their mother initially disapproves of Pippi and her apparent anarchy, but quickly comes to admire her unswerving loyalty to her friends, her kindness and resilience and her fierce sense of fairness.
Astrid Lindgren said that she always wrote for the inner child, and her books are especially noted for their understanding of the child’s point of view, which, when she first began writing, was a radical departure from the conventions of children’s literature. Yet this and her staunch advocacy of the rights of children made her both a popular and influential figure whose importance has never waned.
På rymmen med Pippi Långstrump
Pippi On the Run. With illustrations from the movie
210×280 mm, 1971, 48 pp