Astrid Lindgren

Emil of Lönneberga

Astrid Lindgren (1907 - 2002) was a famous Swedish children's book author and screenwriter. Her works are translated to more than a 100 different languages. Her best-known works include:

  • The Pippi Longstocking series (Pippi Långstrump)
  • Madicken
  • Karlsson-on-the-Roof series (Karlsson på taket)
  • Emil of Lönneberga (Emil i Lönneberga)
  • The Bill Bergson series (Mästerdetektiven Blomkvist)
  • Ronia the Robber's Daughter (Ronja rövardotter)
  • Seacrow Island (Tjorven på Saltkråkan)
  • The Six Bullerby Children / The Children of Noisy Village (Barnen i Bullerbyn)
  • Mio, my Mio (also known as Mio, my Son) (Mio, min Mio)
  • The Brothers Lionheart (Bröderna Lejonhjärta)


Astrid Lindgren grew up in Näs, near Vimmerby, Småland, Sweden, and many of her books are based on her family and childhood memories and landscapes. Lindgren was the daughter of Samuel August Ericsson (1875–1969) and Hanna Jonsson (1879–1961). She had two sisters, Stina and Ingegerd, and a brother, Gunnar Ericsson, who eventually became a member of the Swedish parliament.

Upon finishing school, Lindgren took a job with a local newspaper in Vimmerby. She had a relationship with the chief editor, who was married and a father, and who eventually proposed marriage in 1926 after she became pregnant. She declined and moved to the capital city of Stockholm, learning to become a typist and stenographer (she would later write most of her drafts in stenography). In due time, she gave birth to her son, Lars, in Copenhagen and left him in the care of a foster family.

Although poorly paid, she saved whatever she could and traveled as often as possible to Copenhagen to be with Lars, often just over a weekend, spending most of her time on the train back and forth. Eventually, she managed to bring Lars home, leaving him in the care of her parents until she could afford to raise him in Stockholm.

In 1932 she married her employer, Sture Lindgren (1898–1952), who left his wife for her. Three years later, in 1934, Lindgren gave birth to her second child, Karin, who would become a translator. The character Pippi Longstocking was invented to amuse her daughter while she was ill in bed. Lindgren later related that Karin had suddenly said to her, "Tell me a story about Pippi Longstocking," and the tale was created in response to that request.

The family moved in 1941 to an apartment on Dalagatan, with a view over Vasaparken, where Lindgren remained until her death on 28 January 2002 at the age of 94, having become blind. Astrid Lindgren died in her home in central Stockholm. Her funeral took place in the Storkyrkan (Great Church) in Gamla stan. Among those attending were King Carl XVI Gustaf with Queen Silvia and others of the royal family. The ceremony was described as "the closest you can get to a state funeral."

Children's rights and anti-cp activismEdit

Children were always in the focus of Astrid Lindgren's work. Astrid Lindgren was well known both for her support for children's rights, and for her opposition to corporal punishment (see also the main article anti-spanking).

During her childhood, Astrid had several known experiences of spanking, although she told that her own family rarely used spanking. In junior school, a classmate got caned on the bare bottom in front of the class for stealing money and buying candy for them. This later was the inspiration for a scene in Madicken. Another time, in realskola, she witnessed a boy getting spanked with a rattan cane in front of the class.

In 1978, Astrid Lindgren received the German Book Trade Peace Prize for her literary contributions. In acceptance, she told the following story.

When I was 20 years old, I met an old pastor’s wife who told me that when she was young and had her first child, she didn’t believe in striking children, although spanking kids with a switch pulled from a tree was standard practice at the time. But one day when her son was four or five, he did something that she felt warranted a spanking-the first of his life. And she told him that he would have to go outside and find a switch for her to hit him with. The boy was gone a long time. And when he came back in, he was crying. He said to her, ‘Mama, I couldn’t find a switch, but here’s a rock that you can throw at me.’
All of a sudden the mother understood how the situation felt from the child’s point of view; that if my mother wants to hurt me, then it makes no difference what she does it with; she might as well do it with a stone. And the mother took the boy onto her lap and they both cried. Then she laid the rock on a shelf in the kitchen to remind herself forever: never violence. And that is something I think everyone should keep in mind. Because violence begins in the nursery-one can raise children into violence. I think that too often we fail to feel situations from the child’s point of view and that failure leads us to teach our children other than what we think we’re teaching them.
  — Astrid Lindgren, 1978 (source)

In 1993, she received the Right Livelihood Award (also known as the Alternative Nobel Prize), "...For her commitment to justice, non-violence and understanding of minorities as well as her love and caring for nature."

See alsoEdit

  This page uses content from Wikipedia. The original article was at Astrid Lindgren. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with Spanking Art, the text of Wikipedia is available under a copyleft license, the Creative Commons Attribution Sharealike license.