Astrid Lindgren, the author of Pipi Long Stocking, died at the age of 94

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The Swedish writer Astrid Lindgren, who wrote more than 40 books for children, died on Monday at the age of 94. Her books won the hearts of children worldwide, and she is much loved here in the Czech Republic. Alena Skodova reports:

Astrid Lindgren, born as Astrid Emilia Ericsson, had to go against the odds from a young age. She was born in 1907 in the town of Vimmerby in Southern Sweden to a farmer's family. At the age of 16 she started working for a local newspaper, but her journalistic career ended two years later - pregnant and without any chance to marry she was hated by the moralists in her native town. But Astrid did not give up. She went to Stockholm and found a job as a secretary. At the age of 24 she married Sture Lindgren and finally was able to care for her son and later on for her daughter Karin. When Karin was seven, and down with pneumonia, one day she asked her mum to tell her a story about Pipi Long Stocking. Astrid Lindgren revealed later that it was her little daughter who invented the name. "It was an unusual name, so it must have been an unusual girl as well," Mrs. Lindgren said. When "Pipi" was published in 1945, it was widely criticised by outraged parents and teachers. But children were full of enthusiasm for their new hero, and together with another book, Children from Bullerbyn, Pipi sparked off Astrid Lindgren's stellar writing career. The book was also filmed, both as a cartoon and a feature film, and it has been equally popular with every new generation of children in more than 60 countries. Ondrej Muller from the Albatros publishing house sees a good reason for it:

Pipi Long Stocking
"That's exactly what children want - to stray from all the standard paths they know. Although they are well aware that they have to obey adults, they like to see unusual adventures of someone who is not dependent on parents at least in books. Simply said, they like to be nasty from time to time, and that's something that both 'Pipi' and 'The Children from Bullerbyn' offer."

A TV series 'Pipi Long Stocking' was one of the most popular programmes on Czech TV some 20 years ago, and children of all ages were glued to their TV sets every Sunday morning. 'The Children from Bullerbyn' were first published in the Czech Republic back in the 1960s and over the years the number of copies sold has reached over half a million. Out of 130 million copies of Astrid Lindgren's book sold throughout the world, over one million were bought by Czech readers.