Astrid Lindgren, author of Pippi Longstocking and many other timeless children’s classics, was born today, 14 November 1907, in Sweden. Here are some things you may not know about her.
“A child’s imagination needs books in order to live and breathe.” –Astrid Lindgren
- Her first work was published in the newspaper at age 13 when her composition won a local competition.
- From 1945 to 1970, she worked as an editor of children’s books at Rabén & Sjögren Publishing House. She was a tireless advocate for children’s literature . When her publishing company awarded grants to authors of adult books, she demanded the same honour be extended to children’s authors. The Astrid Lindgren Prize was first awarded in 1967 and continues yearly to this day.
- Her book sales reached an estimated 150 million copies and have been translated into 96 languages.
- She’s literally a super-star author, because in 1988, an asteroid or minor planet was named Lindgren 3240 in her honour. She quipped that her new moniker should be Asteroid Lindgren. The next astrological honour came when a Swedish mini-satellite was called Astrid-1 and its instruments named after her characters. Continuing with the starry tributes, she is the namesake of a crater on Venus. (Apparently there’s a tradition of naming craters on Venus after famous women and goddesses. Who knew?)
- In 2014/15, the Bank of Sweden will issue 20 Kronor banknote featuring her image. Germany created a postage stamp in homage to her life, and there’s even a rose and an amusement park that celebrate her books and literary career.
The official website for Astrid Lindgren brims with information, beautiful photos and memorabilia. It’s well worth the visit.