Sweden’s most beloved children’s author Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) is also considered to be one of the most important writers for children throughout the world. Her work has been translated into more than 100 languages, and 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 reinvigorated the genre of Swedish children’s literature by creating one of its most compelling characters. Pippi has appeared in chapter books, picture books, films and television series, theatre plays, computer games and many more types of media. With bright red pig-tails, a principled yet resourceful outlook, and enough strength to effortlessly lift her own horse, Pippi has truly become an iconic role model for children all over the world.
After Pippi, Lindgren authored many more characters, all unique in their own way. There’s Emil, a kind-hearted boy entirely without malice who is also irrepressibly mischievous. And Lotta, the stubborn five-year-old who’s a real troublemaker. And Mardie, a sweet girl full of outrageous ideas that often land her in trouble. But Lindgren was not only a master of characters but also places such as the Noisy Village, a small village in the Swedish countryside where six inseparable children live, as well as Seacrow Island, a haven in the archipelago and the home of Tjorven and her trusted companion Bosun the St. Bernard.
As a writer, Astrid Lindgren wrote for the inner child, and her books have long been praised for their understanding of the child’s point of view. Her radical shift from the conventions of children’s literature during the time at which she started, as well as her staunch advocacy for children’s rights, has made her into a highly popular and influential figure whose importance has never waned and most definitely never will.