Sannel Larson

Sunday, June 16, 2013

Astrid Lindgren the Swedish Author of Children's Books

A week ago, I wrote about Elsa Beskow, a Swedish children's book author and illustrator. Once again, I'll write about another great author of children's books. Perhaps one of the most famous children's book authors in the world. I'm talking about the Swedish author, Astrid Lindgren.

The books we read as children do leave a strong impression that will last a lifetime. I loved to read as a child and my reading habit began very early. At first I was only able to look at the wonderful illustrations in the books. However, when I was able to read on my own, a whole new treasure trove, rich in imagination opened up to me. I remember escaping in between the covers of the book and become one of the characters. I let the imaginative world take over my mind until the last chapter was read. 

The very funny "Karlson On the Roof"

One of my favorite children's book authors was, and still is, Astrid Lindgren. This Swedish writer is without a doubt one of the most eminent children's authors in the world. However, growing up in Sweden, I never thought of her as famous, just a fun, cool  lady with great imagination and the mother of Pippi Longstocking, Emil of Lönneberga, Karlsson on the roof, Seacrow Island, the Bill Bergson series, the children of the noisy village, the brothers Lionheart and many many more. 

Astrid Lindgren

Astrid lindgren's Early life
Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson, known to the world as author Astrid Lindgren was born November 14th 1907, and grew up in her family's farm in the small town of Vimmerby in the south of Sweden.
Astrid Lindgren's own happy childhood playing in the farm, horseback riding through green forests in summer and swimming in the lakes under the midnight-sun, skated on frozen ponds and lakes in winter and went cray fishing in the fall, would present her later with the inspiration for all her wonderful stories.

At the age of 16, she began training as a journalist. Two years later she moved to Stockholm after she became pregnant while unmarried. There she worked as a secretary. Her son Lars was born on December 4 1926. Eventually, at the age of 24 she married the father, Sture Lindgren and in 1934, they had a daughter, Karin.

This red-haired girl has done wonders for equality between the sexes, encouraged young girls to believe in themselves and have fun. 

Pippi Longstocking
In 1944, she published her first book. It was a story for teen-age girls called "Britt-Mari Opens Her Heart". However, it was the year after when she published through a small editing house, the story of the popular character Pippi Longstocking that she achieved great success and apparently saved the editors from bankruptcy. Her editors Rabén & Sjögren are today the leading publishing house for children in Sweden. 

This red-haired and freckled girl became an instant hit among children, but parents was concerned and shocked at first by the disobedient and headstrong Pippi, who revolted against society and gladly mocked charity ladies and institutions like the police. This determined, red-haired girl called Pippi Långstrump “Pippi Longstocking” has done wonders for equality between the sexes, encouraged young girls to believe in themselves and have fun. Pippi Longstocking has been translated into more than 70 languages and published in more than 100 countries.

Astrid Lindgren is and always will be a part of our Swedish culture

  • Astrid Lindgren produced about 80 books altogether and has sold more than 145 million copies worldwide and is the world's 18th most translated author. Many of her stories have been made into films and television and taken into theater, like Karlsson-on-the-Roof. 
  • She was awarded many Swedish and international prizes for her books, among them the Hans Christian Andersen medal in 1958, which is considered the ultimate accolade for an author of children's books. After her death in 2002, the Government of Sweden established the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) in her honor. The ALMA is the world's most valuable children and youth literature award.
  • Astrid Lindgren fought for children's rights and animal welfare. In 1998, she induced an animal rights bill into law. The same year the Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital opened and is one of the biggest children hospitals in northern Europe.
  • In 1952, her husband Sture Lindgren died at the age of 53, of internal hemorrhage. Astrid Lindgren never remarried. Her son Lars “ Lasse” Lindgren died in 1986. The son once said about his mother; She wasn't the kind of mother who would sit quiet on a park-bench, watching her children play. She wanted to play herself and I suspect she found it as much fun as I did.
  • In 1987, she wrote her last piece, a short mystery story. 
  • A theme park, displaying several of the settings from her books, opened in 1989 in her hometown, and attracts over 300,000 visitors yearly.


Personal Quotes of Astrid Lindgren

  • I don't 'mean' anything by my writing. I just write for the child in myself.
  • You have to live your life in order to make friends with death.
  • You know that the Germans are insane. For example they have named about 70 schools after me.
  • On the question if she would like to be a member of the Swedish Academy? "The Swedish Academy? What use would they have of an old woman that is half blind, half deaf and totally crazy?"
  • Have I managed to brighten up one single miserable childhood then I'm satisfied.

The very popular, "The Brothers Lionheart"

Astrid Lindgren's best known children's books:

In chronological order 
  • The Pippi Longstocking series (Pippi Långstrump) (1945-1971) 
  • The Children of Noisy Village series, also know as ( The Bullerby Children) (Bullerbyn) (1946-1966) 
  • The Bill Bergson series (Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist) (1946-1953) 
  • Mio, my Mio (also known as Mio, my Son) (Mio, min Mio) (1954) 
  • The Karlson-on-the-Roof series (Karlsson på Taket) (1955-1972) 
  • The Mardie series, also known as ( Mischievous Meg) (Madicken) (1960-1993) 
  • Emil series (Emil i Lönneberga) (1963-1997) 
  • Sea Crow Island (Vi på Saltkråkan) (1964) 
  • The Brothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta) (1973) 
  • Ronia the Robber’s Daughter (Ronja Rövardotter) (1981) 

Astrid Lindgren and Pippi (Inger Nilsson) on the set

Astrid Lindgren spent her last years in her modest apartment on Dalagatan in Stockholm where she had lived since 1941. She died peacefully in her home after a short illness on January 28, 2002 at the age of 94.

Astrid Lindgren is and always will be a part of our Swedish culture. She is loved and cherished by so many, not only in her homeland but all over the world. She truly have succeeded to brighten up many children's life throughout many decades with her wonderful writing – I know, because I was one of them. 


  1. Hi Sannel! It's nice to see you re-publishing some of your old hubs on your blog. They really deserve to be seen and read. I especially like these author profiles and hope to see more in the future. I've always enjoyed learning about writers, their lives and how their experiences influence their writing and you do such a wonderful job explaining that. Now more people will be able to enjoy this one too! Thanks!

  2. Rick, your constant support and encouragement when it comes to my writing is truly wonderful! I hope you know how happy your words makes me. Thank you, my friend.


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