With apologies to James Taylor, Sweden (rather than Carolina) is on my mind. Many of Inly’s 8th grade students are in Sweden this week as part of an exchange program with another Montessori-based school. Of course, Sweden is on the minds of many readers these days with the popularity of Stieg Larsson’s trilogy. But long before girls with dragon tattoos, there was Pippi Longstocking. In fact, I’ve heard Larsson’s main character, Lisbeth Salander, referred to as a 21st century Pippi.
Another Swedish children’s book author, Elsa Beskow, is lesser known here, but beloved in Sweden. Although Beskow died in 1953, many of her books are still in print, including my favorite, Pelle’s New Suit. Pelle is a little boy who has outgrown his clothes, and he employs the age-old bartering system to get a new suit. While the plot is not an original one, Beskow’s illustrations make this a memorable book. It’s impossible to look into the faces of the children in her books without thinking of the popular Swedish artist Carl Larsson.