Purpose of this Blog...

You may have noticed that not all books are equal in capturing children's imaginations and in cultivating those innocent, tender souls. My goal is to help you find the ones that do!
(Painting by Mary Cassatt: "Mrs Cassatt Reading to her Grandchildren" -1888)

Monday, August 8, 2016

Beyond Pippi: The Legacy of Astrid Lindgren

AFP/Getty Images 1966

Astrid Lindgren's daughter Karin was sick in bed and asked her mother to tell her a story.

“Tell me about Pippi Longstocking”, she pleaded (making up a random name), and in that moment she had invented what was to become one of the world’s most popular children’s book characters.

“Since the name was remarkable, it had to be a remarkable girl”, said Astrid Lindgren. For years she was making up new stories for Karin and her friends.

Then one spring day, in March 1944, Astrid fell and sprained her ankle. To pass the time, while she was resting it, she put the Pippi stories down on paper. It was going to be a present for Karin’s 10th birthday in May.

That was the start of a great career.

Statue of Astrid Lindgren outside of Junibacken Museum in Stockholm

Astrid Lindgren [1907-2002] has been showered with countless honors and awards.  She is fondly remembered in Sweden, including Stockholm, where she lived as an adult and wrote her books. 

My tour guide's wife was happy to share some of her favorite titles with me when we were in Stockholm checking out Sweden's largest children's bookstore in the Junibacken Museum.

According to the museum website, the Junibacken story started with Astrid Lindren, and there is even a "Story Train" ride for kids through settings of her children's books.  She wrote the text, and her voice is heard narrating in Swedish.

When my children were young, we enjoyed Lindgren's picture books Christmas in the Stable and The Tomten, and we laughed at The Children in Noisy Village and my childhood favorite, Pippi Longstocking (find my post here). 

At the museum bookstore, my tour guide's wife recommended several books I was not familiar with by Astrid Lindgren -  The Brothers Lionheart, and the Emil in Lonneberga books.  They are on my shelf here at home now, waiting to be read and reviewed!

Astrid on reading:
“And we were sitting there on the floor, my brother and I, listening to her reading this wondrous story about ‘the giant Bam-Bam and Viribunda the fairy’. Well! That I didn’t die on the spot! In that instant a hunger to read was born in me, and with the impatience of a four year-old, I stared at those strange black squiggles which Edit could interpret, but I couldn’t. As if by some curious magic, the whole kitchen could suddenly be filled with fairies, giants and goblins.”

While touring Sweden, we drove through the area where Astrid Lindgren was born and grew up, and though I didn't get to visit her childhood home (the inspiration for many of her stories), we saw many quaint houses and barns painted "Swedish red" like hers!

Seriously, don't you just expect to see those children of Noisy Village running about!?

By the way, Pippi Longstocking is alive and well in Sweden - we saw lots of Pippi merchandise...

I think Astrid would be happy about that!

Please visit this informative website to see pictures of Astrid Lindgren's childhood home, and for an in-depth look at her life, books, and beloved characters: www.astridlindgren.se


  1. Pippi Longstocking is one of our favorite characters of all time. My oldest was Pippi for Halloween back in kindergarten. Sadly, no one in her class knew who was! And we love the Noisy Village books, too. LOVE all that Pippi merchandise! It would be hard to resist!

    1. That's so sad that your daughter's classmates didn't know Pippi, but I'm so happy she introduced them to her!