• Happy birthday Nancy Tafuri (Have You Seen My Duckling?).
  • It’s the birth date of Miska Miles, the pen name of Patricia Miles Martin (1899–1986), Annie and the Old One; William Steig (1907–2003), Sylvester and the Magic Pebble, Shrek, and William H. Hooks (1922–2008), Pioneer Cat, Moss Gown.
  • Happy birthday Moby Dick by Herman Melville, published in 1851.
  • Bon voyage! Journalist Nellie Bly starts her "Around the World in 80 Days" trip in 1889. Read The Daring Nellie Bly by Bonnie Christensen, Bylines: A Photobiography of Nellie Bly by Sue Macy, and It Can’t Be Done, Nellie Bly! by Nancy Butcher and illustrated by Jen L. Singh.

Born on November 14, 1907, Astrid Lindgren grew up on a farm just outside Vimmerby, Sweden. Pippi Longstocking, the book for which she became world-renowned, published in the United States sixty years ago, arose from stories she told her seven-year-old daughter. Sick in bed with pneumonia, the young girl asked for a story about Pippi Longstocking. Lindgren loved the name and gave her daughter a finished manuscript of the story for her tenth birthday. Lindgren always claimed that Pippi “was just waiting for someone to pick her up and write about her.”

After the manuscript was rejected by many publishers, Lindgren decided to enter Pippi’s story into a contest held by a Swedish publishing house. She won first prize! When Lindgren submitted the final version, she added a note: “In the hope that you won’t notify the Child Welfare Committee.” Pippi breaks so many of society’s rules that some reviewers disliked Lindgren’s story: “Pippi is something unpleasant that scratches the soul.” The book became highly controversial in Sweden, particularly after it was read on the radio; “totally antisocial rubbish” its critics declared. But Lindgren, rather than those critics, would triumph. She won the Hans Christian Anderson Award for the body of her work a few years after Pippi first appeared. Becoming one of the most translated authors of all time, Lindgren found an enthusiastic response from children all over the world for her original, spirited heroine.

Pippilotta Delicatessa Windowshade Mackrelmint Ephraim’s Daughter Longstocking, or Pippi for short, lives without parents. Pippi dictates her own rules and nags herself about going to bed at night. With endless money, time, and freedom, she certainly fulfills the fantasy of most children who often think about what life would be like if they had no one to boss them around. Her friends Tommy and Annika live a more traditional life, but enjoy the antics of Pippi.

Lindgren—and Pippi—became a celebrity in Sweden. A theme park in Lindgren’s hometown celebrates Pippi Longstocking and its characters. In her lifetime, Lindgren was consistently mentioned as a contender for the Nobel Prize in Literature, an honor never yet bestowed on a children’s book writer. In recent years, another one of her characters, Kalle Blomkvist, a fictional boy detective, is frequently mentioned in the Swedish international bestseller series that began with The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. Author Stieg Larsson believed that his protagonist Lisbeth Salander was simply a grown-up version of Pippi Longstocking.

From a devoted mother to an international icon, Astrid Lindgren symbolizes what can happen when an author creates original, fascinating books for the young and defends these stories and characters, even when the going gets rough.

Here’s a passage from Pippi Longstocking:

Way out at the end of a tiny little town was an old overgrown garden, and in the garden was an old house, and in the house lived Pippi Longstocking. She was nine years old, and she lived there all alone. She had no mother and no father, and that was of course very nice because there was no one to tell her to go to bed just when she was having the most fun, and no one who could make her take cod liver oil when she much preferred caramel candy.



Originally posted November 14, 2010. Updated for .

Tags: Adventure, Animals, Humor
Instructional materials from TeachingBooks.net for Pippi Longstocking


  1. Yvette says:

    When I was a kid, the Pippi Longstocking books were my entry into the world of adventure. I always credit these books with sparking my early interest in mystery/adventure and independence of spirit. It seemed that Pippi could do anything and accounted to no one. She showed me it was definitely ALL RIGHT to be a girl AND be independent. Coincidentally, I posted about Pippi on my own blog a couple of weeks ago. I can’t wait to share these books with my own granddaughter.

  2. Star says:

    I think I re-read the Pippy books too many times to count. I think all kids have fantasies of living without parents and having wild adventures like Pippy. I’ve just begun to tell my 3-year-old stories about Pippi! I can’t wait to read her the books when she’s a little older.

  3. Anne Nawawi says:

    Can you make this available as a daily post on Facebook?

  4. Anita says:

    We will be making it available on Facebook, e mail, rss.
    Just send me a friend request on Facebook; that way I can alert you when it is available. Thanks for your interest.

  5. Nancy Tafuri says:

    Thank you for the lovely birthday tribute! Best, Nancy

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