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Emil in Lönneberga - 60 years of mischief!

Astrid Lindgren's favourite character celebrated 60 years in 2023.

The stories about the boy who made so much mischief in Lönneberga, Småland, at the turn of the last century, are one of Astrid Lindgren's most beloved and also her own favourites. The Emil series comprises three novels and seven picture books, all illustrated by Björn Berg. The novels were adapted for the screen by Olle Hellbom in the 1970s and feature the famous songs written by Astrid Lindgren and set to music by Georg Riedel.


“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

Books about Emil

Faith, hope and wrrrretched kids

We all want a better world, to live in harmony, and to become our best selves. But how should we do it – and where to begin? Astrid Lindgren believed we should start from scratch. With children. When children explore the world around them, the results don’t always go according to the adults’ plans.

Children can be happier and wiser if they live like Astrid’s character Emil. Like most children, Emil is good and helpful, and learns from his cheeky pranks – from creating problems during play and solving them in a clever way. Things don’t always go as planned, but that’s part of being a child and growing up.

So if a child (oh for goodness’ sake!) comes home with scratches and bruises carrying a lame chicken, hides a wooden rifle under the bed or spends his weekly allowance on sweets, don’t worry. Don’t put a stop to these subversive ideas; just give encouragement and keep up with the pranks.

Mischief is good. Children who are allowed to be children make the world a better place.



Fun with Emil

Why not have an Emil-themed play event? Here are some puzzles and pictures to colour in.

Fun with Emil
Björn berg foto


Björn Berg

In late December 1962, Astrid phoned illustrator Björn Berg to ask if he would like to illustrate a book due to be published the following year. Astrid had seen one of Björn’s drawings of a young boy and thought that was what Emil looked like.

About Björn Berg
Emil i Lönneberga, barnskådespelaren Jan Ohlsson


The story behind Emil

There are several people, events and places that have been sources of inspiration for Astrid Lindgren, as she wrote these stories. It’s the picture of Vimmerby at the beginning of the 20th century that Astrid is painting when Emil’s family is travelling up from Katthult to visit the Vimmerby fair.

Read more about the story behind Emil