Astrid Lindgren Company


When some people think you are big and some think you are little then perhaps you are just exactly the right age.

Lisa, The Children of Noisy Village

Jonathan told me how there are things you have to do, even if they are dangerous.
“Why is that?” I asked.
“Because if you don’t you are not a human being, you’re nothing but a little louse,” Jonathan replied.

From The Brothers Lionheart

If you are very strong, you must also be very kind.

The narrator in "Do you know Pippi Longstocking?"

Life is something you have to take care of - don't you realize that?

Ronja, the Robber's Daughter

Uncle Melker, you know what? If you can’t write so that I understand it, then you might as well stop.

Tjorven, from Seacrow Island

You can put things in a book that o n l y children are amused by. You can certainly also have in it things that both children and adults enjoy, but you must never put things in a children’s book that amuse only adults. That would be rude to the child – who is going to read the book.

Astrid Lindgren

S’not something you plan, mischief, it just happens. And knowing it’s mischief, well you don’t until it’s happened.

Emil in Lönneberga

Oh yes, time flies and before you know it you’re old, said Pippi. Come autumn I’ll be ten, and I suppose I’ll be past my prime then.

Pippi, in Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

I pity all the people who don’t live in Noisy Village.

Anna in Nothing but fun i Noisy Village

Didn’t I say that wherever you went I was going too?” I asked. “Yes, that’s what you said,” said Jonathan, sounding quite pleased. “Because I want to be with you,” I said, “even in a bottomless pit in the underworld.

from The Brothers Lionheart

No … yes, I am afraid! But I’m doing it anyway, Jonathan, I’m doing it now… now … and then I will never be afraid again. Never again afr…” “Oh, Nangilima! Yes, Jonathan, yes, I see the light!! I see the light!”

from The Brothers Lionheart

There’s nothing in the Ten Commandments forbidding old ladies to climb trees, is there?

Astrid Lindgren happily greets the film crew during the production of the television film “Tuffa gumman” (“The Tough Old Lady”), which is about her friend Elsa Olenius, 1978

I have never been a patriot. We are all human beings – that’s been my special pathos in life.

Astrid Lindgren in a letter to her friend Louise Hartung, October 5th 1957

And so I write the way I myself would like the book to be – if I were a child. I write for the child within me.

From the newspaper Expressen, 6 Dec 1970

Mankind is preoccupied with two great things: death and love; these catch the interest of all ages. You shouldn’t scare children to the point of anxiety, but just like adults they need to be moved by art.

Dagens Nyheter, 8th September 1959

A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy

Astrid Lindgren, in "Vi husmödrar" 1956:10

If I have managed to brighten up even one gloomy childhood – then I’m satisfied.

Astrid Lindgren, after receiving a note from a reader she had met on the street. The note said: “Thank you for having brightened up a gloomy childhood."

I know what the meaning of life isn’t. Collecting money and knicknacks and things, being famous and grinning from the pages of women's glossy magazines, being so afraid of loneliness and quiet that you never get a calm moment to think: What am I doing with my short time here on earth?

Astrid Lindgren, from "The meaning of life"

And we played and played and played. It’s a wonder we didn’t play ourselves to death!

Astrid Lindgren, from ”Samuel August from Sevedstorp and Hanna from Hult”

Everything great that ever happened in this world happened first in somebody’s imagination.

Astrid Lindgren, 1958, from the speech held at the reception of the H C Andersen Award

Death, death.

Every day, Astrid talked to her sisters Ingegerd and Stina on the phone. As they grew older, the conversations always began with the words, “Death, death”, so that the subject was out of the way and dealt with. Then they talked about other matters.

What should a good children’s book be like? If you ask me, I can tell you after thinking long and hard: It must be good.

From A little conversation with a would-be children’s book writer, from a magazine called Children & Culture (June, 1970)

A childhood without books – that would be no childhood. That would be like being shut out from the enchanted place where you can go and find the rarest kind of joy.

Astrid Lindgren, 1956

Give the children love, more love and still more love – and the common sense will come by itself.

Astrid Lindgren in a debate concerning the rights of children in the magazine “Husmodern” (“The Home-maker”) 1948.

I want to write for a readership that can create miracles. Children create miracles when they read.

From “That’s why children need books”, the speech Astrid Lindgren held at the reception of the H C Andersen Award in April 1958.

An excellent laboratory you have here, Mr Blomkvist,’ he said. "Mr Blomkvist is a skilful chemist, I see."
"Well, I don’t know about skilful, but I have spent a large part of my long life studying chemistry," said the master detective. "Chemistry and forensics go hand in hand, you understand, my young friend!

from Kalle Blomkvist living dangerlously

Mama, what would you like best of all?” “Two really good, sweet girls”, said Mama.

Mardie's eyes turned shiny and her voice trembled a little. “But what would you do with Lisbet and me?

from Mardie

But I cannot kill anyone,” said Jonathan, “you know that, Orvar!”[…] “If everyone were like you,” said Orvar, “then evil would reign for all eternity!” But then I said that if everyone were like Jonathan, there wouldn’t be any evil.

Crusty, in The Brothers Lionheart

Yes, you really should go to school and learn to write better,’ said Annika.

‘No thanks very much,’ said Pippi. ‘I did that a whole day once and got so much learning stuffed into my head that it’s still sploshing around in there.

Pippi Longstocking goes Aboard

Why I walked backwards?’ Pippi said. ‘We live in a free country, don’t we? Aren’t you allowed to walk any way you want? Let me tell you that in Egypt every single person walks like that and no-one thinks it’s strange in the slightest.

Pippi Longstocking

‘Come in or stay where you are, it’s entirely up to you,’ called Pippi. ‘I never force anyone!’

from Pippi Longstocking

We all desire peace. So is there any possibility at all of our changing fundamentally, before it’s too late? Of our learning to distance ourselves from violence? Of our trying quite simply to become a new kind of human beings? But how could we go about that, and where should we start? I believe that we should start from the bottom. With the children.

from Never Violence!, the speech Astrid Lindgren held when she was awarded the Peace Prize of the German Book Trade in 1978

Birk looked around in the twilight woods, and a strange mood came upon him; he did not know why. He did not understand that what he was feeling, almost like pain, was only the beauty and peace of the summer evening, nothing more.

‘This summer,’ he said, looking at Ronja. ‘Yes, I shall carry this summer with me till the end of my life—I know that.’

Ronja, the Robber's Daughter

I know I can – secretly!

Of course Lotta can ride a bike! (from Lotta's Bike)

It’s funny, how many things I can do.

Lotta, in Lotta's Christmas Surprise

Mrs Berg, did you have Rosie with you on Noah’s Ark?’ /.../ ‘Lotta, my pet, I wasn’t there on Noah’s Ark, you know.’ ‘Why didn’t you drown, then?’ said Lotta.

from Lotta Says 'No!'

It’s got to go bang and it has to be fun, otherwise I won’t come!

Karlsson, from The World’s Best Karlsson

I’m a handsome, thoroughly clever, perfectly plump man in my prime.

Karlsson about himself, from Karlsson on the Roof

That’s a mere trifle.

Karlsson from Karlsson on the Roof

Let me tell you, it’s dangerous to keep quiet for too long. Your tongue shrivels up if you don’t use it.

Pippi, in Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

I see, so you’ve been to Mrs Berg’s,’ Mummy said. ‘Was she pleased to see you?’ ‘Yes,’ said Joe. ‘She was pleased twice. She was pleased when we came, and she was pleased when we left.

from Lotta Says 'No!'

That old man’s got a wart on his chin . . .’ ‘Shush,’ Mummy whispered, ‘he can hear you.’ Lotta looked surprised and said, ‘Doesn’t he know he’s got a wart on his chin?

from Lotta Says 'No!'

Lotta, you mustn’t speak when grown-ups are talking, you should wait till they’ve finished.’ ‘Huh,’ said Lotta, ‘I’ve tried that, but it doesn’t work. They never stop.’

from Lotta Says 'No!'

How can I know that, when I’ve never tried?

Pippi answers Tommy's question about whether she can play the piano. From Pippi Goes Shopping.

I have no message. But I would like to spread a general tolerance for human insanity.

Svenska Dagbladet 28/9 1970

What should a good children’s book be like? If you ask me, I can tell you after thinking long and hard: It must be good.

A little conversation with a would-be children’s book writer, from a magazine called, Children & Culture (June, 1970)

There were two things that made our childhood what it was - security and freedom.

Astrid Lindgren, in the book 'Mitt Småland' ('My Småland') by Astrid Lindgren and Margareta Strömstedt

Then it dawned on Rasmus what it meant to be a tramp. In an instant, the wonderful aspects of his new life were revealed to him. You could do exactly what you pleased. You could eat or sleep or go exactly where you pleased. You were free, wonderfully free, like a bird in the forest.

from Rasmus and the Vagabond

Answer yes or no, I said! It can’t be that hard to answer yes or no to a simple question!’ ‘So you say,’ retorted Karlsson. ‘I’ll ask you a simple question, and then you’ll see. Listen! Have you stopped drinking brandy first thing in the morning?

Karlsson argues with Miss Crawley, in The World's Best Karlsson

There’s no order to everything and I can’t find every single thing.

Pippi Goes Shopping, Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

Delightful! Delightful!’ ‘What’s delightful?’ asked Tommy. ‘Me,’ said Pippi smugly

From Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

Help us before we perish! On this island without snuff for two days and fading fast.

Pippi, in Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

Oh my dear little squiggle. Don’t let me grow any biggle.

Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas

Aha,’ said Pippi. ‘This must be my lucky day. I like policemen more than anything. After rhubarb crumble.

From Pippi Longstocking

‘He’s not so bad,’ she said. ‘Today he’s only pinched Ida and spilt the cream for the coffee, that’s all . . . oh yes, and chased the cat round the henhouse. I think he’s beginning to behave better and growing less wild.’

Alma, Emil's mother, in Emil and the Great Escape

But in Katthult Lake, among the white water lilies, Emil and Alfred swam up and down in the cool water, and in the sky the July moon hung like a red lamp, shining just for them. ‘You and me, Alfred,’ said Emil. ‘Yep, you and me, Emil,’ said Alfred. ‘Just the two of us.’

from Emil and the Sneaky Rat

He liked soup; you could hear that when he ate it. ‘Must you make that noise?’ asked his mother. ‘Well, you can’t tell you’re having soup, otherwise,’ said Emil.

from Emil and the Great Escape, When Emil got his head stuck in the soup tureen

‘Now I’m mad. When I haven’t any money, I can’t drink soda pop. When I have got some money, I’m not allowed to drink soda pop. So when the heck can I drink soda pop?’

Emil, from Emil's Clever Pig, When Emil bought some useless junk at the auction at Backhorva which turned out useful in the end

Don’t worry! I’ll be all right!

Pippi Longstocking

It’s absolutely best for little children to have a more organized life. Especially if they can organize it themselves!

Pippi, in Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

I am frecklier and more beautiful than ever. If it carries on like this I’ll be downright irresistible.

Pippi, from Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas

I know someone who’s going to have a party!’
‘Who’s that?’ asked Ida.
Emil thumped the log box once again.
‘Me,’ he said, and he told them what he had planned. There was going to be an enormous party like never before and every single person in Lönneberga poorhouse was going to come to Katthult, right at that very moment!

From Emil and the Sneaky Rat, When Emil had the Great Obliteration Party at Katthult

Too much knowledge can send the sanest person completely bonkers.

Pippi Longstocking, Pippi Goes to School

A good book should be like a pike; beginning with a point, fleshed out in the middle and sharp at the finish.”

Astrid Lindgren at the Gothenburg Book Fair, 1991.