Sunday, March 27, 2016

Easter in Swedish: Noisy Village of Astrid Lindgren

"Bullerbü (Bullerbyn), eigentlich Sevedstorp"
Photograph by Manuela Hoffmann
August 9th, 2009. On Flickr.
License: (CC BY-NC-ND 2.0)

Listening in on a television programme about her World War II diaries,* I was surprised to realize that Swedish children's author Astrid Lindgren wrote her books against the background, as it were, of the Second World War.

Lindgren experienced the war on Sweden's 'home front' — and war indirectly, through her work and naturally through her relations. She was married then and at that time her husband was, of course, in the military. Trained as a secretary, she spent her time reading, i.e. censoring, German-language letters for Sweden's special intelligence service.

I guess that she was eager for 'pastures new' after the war. Because then she spent her time planting and tending — like a garden — literary worlds for children. These worlds were, by and large, freed from the cruelty and indeed any great influence of elders. Pippi Longstocking is doubtless her famous protagonist, now. But I have liked reading Ronia, the Robber's Daughter (Ronja rövardotter), Mio My Son (Mio, min Mio)** and Alla vi barn i Bullerbyn — The Children of Noisy Village — too.


AFTERWARD we were going to hunt for the Easter eggs filled with candy which Mommy had hidden. Every Easter Karl and Bill and I each get a large egg filled with lots and lots of candy. But this year Mommy said that if we would be satisfied with eggs that were a little smaller, she would buy some for Britta and Anna and Olaf too. Then we could give them as a surprise at our party. Of course we wanted to do this. It was hard to find the eggs, Mommy had hidden them so cleverly. Mine was in the cupboard where we keep the pots and pans. It was made of silver with little flowers. Inside there was a little chicken made of almond paste, and lots of candy.


The Children of Noisy Village
By Astrid Lindgren
Illustrations by Ilon Wiklund.
Translation by Florence Lamborn.
New York: Penguin, 1988 (124 pp.)
For children five years and up, I think. Puffin: "8-12."

* "Kriegstagebücher von Astrid Lindgren" [Radio Berlin Brandenburg: Stilbruch]
K. Wenzel et al. (October 15th, 2015)
[Note: The video is online — presumably just in Germany — until October 15th, 2016.]

** In this book the background of World War II was material, I imagine. It is sombre.


More information:
"Astrid Lindgren's second world war diaries published in Sweden" [Guardian], by Alison Flood (May 13, 2015)

I also consulted "Wir Kinder aus Bullerbü", "The Six Bullerby Children," and "Astrid Lindgren" on Wikipedia.