Sweden hails Pippi Longstocking author

Sweden hails Pippi Longstocking author
Photo: Cato Lein/Imagebank Sweden
Sweden celebrated the life of its most beloved children's book author, Pippi Longstocking creator Astrid Lindgren, on the 100th anniversary of her birth on Wednesday.

Around 1,000 children gathered in the southeastern Swedish town of Vimmerby where Lindgren was born a century ago to sing songs she wrote, lay wreaths on her grave and participate in a torch-light procession to her childhood home.

“On your 100th birthday, Astrid, we are so deeply grateful for all that you and your life’s work have meant to your home and birth-town Vimmerby and for all the world’s children,” local official Leif Carlson said at a ceremony, the TT news agency reported.

Swedish Crown Princess Victoria meanwhile marked the day with a visit to the Astrid Lindgren Children’s Hospital in Stockholm.

Junibacken, a children’s theme park that recreates Lindgren’s fantasy world and is one of the most visited spots in the Swedish capital, also threw a birthday bash for the author, who died on January 28, 2002. It offered the day’s visitors cake and juice and a range of theatre pieces based on her books.

The day’s events were the culmination of nearly a year of happenings organized across the Scandinavian country to mark the centennial of the writer. Her beloved characters such as Emil of Maple Hill, Madicken, Karlsson-on-the Roof and Ronia the Robber’s Daughter revolutionized the world of children’s books.

Lindgren, whose books have been translated into 89 languages, brought her most famous character Pippi Longstocking — “the strongest girl in the world” — to life in her 1946 debut novel.

The book tells the story of an impish, cheeky nine-year-old who wears fire-red pigtails braided so tight they stick straight out and who lives with her horse and her monkey, Mr. Nilsson.