Astrid Lindgren on the magic of summer in Sweden

“You’ve written many children’s books,” I said. “And in many of them the idea of being happy as a child in the summertime occurs over and over. ‘Pippi in the South Seas’ is really a glorified summer outing. In your book ‘Bill Bergson Lives Dangerously,’ for instance … you write ‘There were nooks and crannies to hide in, fences to climb over, winding small alleyways where you could shake off your pursuers; there were roofs to climb and woodsheds and outhouses in the back yards where you could barricade yourselves. As long as a town had all these advantages, it need not be beautiful. It was enough that the sun was shining, and that the cobblestones were feeling so warm and comfortable under your bare feet that you felt it was summer in all your body.’

‘I think you should feel everything in your whole body – whatever there is to feel,’ Mrs. Lindgren responded. ‘Especially in Sweden we need the summer. And when you look back at your childhood you think it was always summer, in a way, because everything was at its best then. I want to feel summer in my whole body and in my heart.‘”

Jonathan Cott talking to Astrid Lindgren, from a 1983 New Yorker profile.

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