Pippi Longstocking – reveals her very personal take on the Second World War
'God help our poor planet in the grip of this madness!'
As one of the world's most famous children's writers, Astrid Lindgren championed the qualities of courage, hope, love and resistance; and her preoccupation with these qualities was already in evidence in the diaries she kept during the Second World War, long before she achieved her fame. Her diary, published now for the first time in English, provides a fascinating insight into a Europe poisoned by fascism, racism and violence, from the point of view of not only an employee of the Swedish Mail Censorship Office, but also of a wife, mother and budding writer living in a formally neutral country.
In them, she asks questions which are as keenly and distressingly important today as they were in 1939–45: What is Good, what is Evil? What do we do, when jingoism and racism determine the thoughts and actions of humans? How can we, as individuals, take a stand against such malevolent forces?
Alongside the day's political events, Lindgren's intelligent and perceptive diaries include charming and moving descriptions of her domestic life, as well as of her first writing attempts: it was during this terrible period that she composed Pippi Longstocking, one of the most famous, enduring and widely translated children's books of the twentieth century.
Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002) is the third most translated writer for children (after Hans Christian Andersen and the Brothers Grimm), and her books have sold more than 144 million copies worldwide. She became famous in her country almost overnight, with the publication of the first Pippi Longstocking books in 1945, and was awarded numerous honours, including the Hans Christian Andersen medal (twice) and the Gold Medal of the Swedish Academy in 1971.