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Video:About Pippi Longstocking Author Astrid Lindgren

with Anita Silvey

Astrid Lindgren is the author of the beloved children's book Pippi Longstocking. Hear how Astrid Lindgren dreamed up the iconic character Pippi Longstocking.See Transcript

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Transcript:About Pippi Longstocking Author Astrid Lindgren

Hi. I'm Anita Silvey, author of Everything I Need to Know I Learned from a Children's Book and The Children's Book a Day Almanac online, and I'm here for About.com.

Let's talk about the work and life of Astrid Lindgren. Astrid Lindgren is our only writer from another language who has made it into the canon of American children's books.

The World of Pippi Longstocking

And the world of Pippi Longstocking is a very different world. You've got to at least have a character or a story that they're going to want to follow very much, because the landscape is different then what they know.

And, of course, she is the great childhood fantasy. She is not supervised by an adult. She has infinite amounts of money, and she sets her own schedule. She tries school and decides she doesn't like it and so she tries other things. But Pippi is the totally anarchical child who runs her own world.

How Astrid Lindgren Created Pippi Longstocking

Now, in the case of Astrid Lindgren. She started, her daughter was sick and she started telling her a story and the daughter loved the long name of Pippi Longstocking, she just loved that name. And so after her daughter had gotten well she set it out to write it down and she sent it out to publishers and they weren't at all interested.

And then she entered a publishing contest. And it won the contest. And so then they were going to publish the book. And the minute that this hit, by the way in Sweden, it became an immense controversy since shortly before that there was not a long duration before it first came to us. It came to us in 1950.

Pippi Longstocking's Appeal

But, basically, it's her spirit. It's her freedom. It's just – if you’re hunting and you are basically in the 1950's, you’re desperately hunting for girls who do things. No child protagonist is more empowered then Pippi Longstocking. And, she's admirable in the way that she executes her freedom.

I always love the ending of Pippi Longstocking. When Tommy and Anika and their father reached the gate, they heard her calling. She stopped to listen. The wind whistled through the tress so they could just barely hear what she said. "I'm going to be a pirate when I grow up," she cried. "Are you?"

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