The Quotes

The world is full of tricky quotes derived from the texts that Astrid Lindgren has written, or statements that she has done. Sometimes they are correct, but sometimes they come out a little garbled. Here is the page for all of you who want to know how it was really expressed by Astrid Lindgren.

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‘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

‘Please help us, before we perish! Without snuff for two days we wither away on this island.’

Pippi, in Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

‘Delightful! Delightful!
What’s so delightful, Tommy asked.
I am, said Pippi pleased with herself.’

From Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

‘There’s no order in nothing, and I can’t find everything.’

Pippi Goes Shopping, Pippi Longstocking Goes Aboard

‘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

‘I’m frecklier and prettier than ever before. I’ll be frankly irresistible, if this continues.’

Pippi, from Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas

‘Oh, said Pippi. Today must be my lucky day again. I like policemen best of all. After rhubarb jam that is.’

From Pippi Longstocking

‘Oh my dearest little squiggle. Don't let me grow any biggle.’

Pippi Longstocking in the South Seas

‘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.

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

Astrid Lindgren

‘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 exactely what you pleased. You could eat or sleep or go exactely where you pleased. You were free, wonderfully freee, like a bird in the forest.’

from Rasmus and the Vagabond

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

Karlson, from The World’s Best Karlson

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

Karlson about himself, from Karlson on the Roof

‘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

‘That’s a mere trifle.’

Karlson from Karlson on the Roof

‘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