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Astrid Lindgren: The Creator of Pippi Longstocking

Beloved Children's Book Author


Boy and girl lying on a rug, reading a book
Juerco Boerner/Picture Press/Getty Images

Astrid Lindgren, Author

Often referred to as Sweden's best-known author, Astrid Lindgren gained international fame for her children's books. Lindgren was born Astrid Ericsson in 1907 near the town of Vimmerby in southern Sweden and spent most of her life in Stockholm. She died on January 28, 2002. In recognition of the author's accomplishments during her 94 years, Lindgren's burial ceremony was televised in Sweden, and her death was headline news internationally. One obituary, in the Swedish newspaper Aftonbladet, referred to Astrid Lindgren as "...the whole world's queen of fairy tales."

Pippi Longstocking and Other Books by Astrid Lindgren

Lindgren's first book was published in 1944, but it was her second book, Pippi Longstocking that brought her international acclaim. It was followed by Pippi Goes on Board in 1946 and Pippi in the South Seas in 1947.

In 1946, Lindgren began a career that lasted 24 years as an editor for her publisher, Raben & Sjogren. During this time, Lindgren also continued to write children's books. She introduced a number of new and interesting characters, like Emil, Kalle Blomquist, the Brothers Lionheart, and the Bullerby children that were well accepted, but none achieved the popularity of Pippi. Pippi Longstocking has been immortalized in numerous films, including a 1988 English-language film from Columbia Pictures, New Adventures of Pippi Longstocking.

Astrid Lindgren, Activist

While Astrid Lindgren was best known in Sweden for her books, she also became known for her support for the rights of people and animals. She used her writing talent to express her concern for the welfare of children, to point out the disastrous impact of high taxes, and to support legislation to protect animals against abuses by factory farms. Because of the high regard in which Lindgren was held, her words made an impact on legislators.

Honors for Astrid Lindgren

Astrid Lindgren was honored by many countries and organizations for her books. Astrid Lindgren, and her characters and books, were featured on numerous stamps. In 1958, Lindgren received the most prestigious international award in children's literature, the Hans Christian Andersen Award, presented by the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), in recognition of the impact of her body of work on children's literature. She received the International Book Award from UNESCO in 1993.

Pippi Longstocking

Who is this character Pippi Longstocking and what is it about her that has made her both an enduringly popular character and a magnet for criticism? At a time when little girls in books tended to be neat, obedient, and quiet, the larger-than-life Pippi came as an unwelcome shock to some parents, as well as a breath of fresh air to others. Pippi is stronger than anyone, self-sufficient, and answers to no one while leading a life full of adventure. Since she is also nine years old, you can imagine how attractive this is to young readers.

If you or your children have never read a Pippi Longstocking book, give it a try and then let me know what you think by posting your opinion on the About Children's Books Forum.

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