The Caucus


Jane Goldstein

Swedish Ambassador Jan Eliasson held a reception on 19 November 2003 in honor of Astrid Lindgren. This reception at the Swedish Embassy in Washington, D.C., was aimed to promote Swedish children's and young people's literature in USA and to increase the knowledge and understanding of children's literature among those working with children and young people. Dynamic books for the very young, powerful picture books and artistic, sometimes provocative novels for children and teenagers - these are all vital elements of the children's literature which has long flourished in Sweden and which says much about the characteristic Swedish view of children.

Astrid Lindgren, creator of the much loved characters Pippi Longstocking, Emil, The Brothers Lionheart and Karlson On The Roof, has had and continues to have enormous influence on literature for children and young people in Sweden as well as in many parts of the world. Generations of children around the world have grown up with the red-haired Pippi, the mischievous Emil and Ronia, the Robber's Daughter. Lindgren's books have sold over 100 million copies in some 80 languages. Around 40 films and television series have been based on her works. She was awarded dozens of Swedish and international prizes for her books, among them the Hans Christian Andersen medal in 1958, which is widely considered the ultimate accolade for an author of children's books and in 1973, she was awarded the Lewis Carroll Shelf Award in recognition of the Pippi stories. "I write to amuse the child within me, and can only hope that other children may have some fun that way, too", Lindgren once wrote. She defended children's rights and animal welfare, lobbying an animal rights bill into law in 1998. The same year Astrid Lindgren's Children's Hospital opened, one of the biggest children hospitals in Northern Europe.

The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature was established by the Swedish Government in 2003. The prize money of SEK 5 million (approx. USD 580 000) are to promote literature for children and young people. The award aims to increase global interest in literature for children and young adults. Astrid Lindgren was very committed to children's rights and always spoke out on their behalf. Therefore, the prize is also aimed at promoting children's rights at a global level, in keeping with Astrid Lindgren's humanistic beliefs. The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award for Literature is an annual prize and it was awarded for the first time in June 2003. First winners of this award were American author Maurice Sendak and Austrian author Christine Noestlinger.

Volume 8, Issue 1 The Looking Glass, January, 2004

Site design and content, except where noted, © The Looking Glass 2004.
"The Memory of Astrid Lindgren Honored at a Reception at the Embassy of Sweden" © 2004.
Send general correspondence regarding The Looking Glass c/o The Editor


The Looking Glass: new perspectives on children's literature

ISBN 1551-5680