Pippi Longstocking, Astrid Lindgren, The Viking Press, 1950, 116 pp
When I was in sixth grade, I achieved the distinction of being placed in the "independent" reading group. This meant I no longer had to sit in a circle and read aloud or listen to my classmates read aloud. Best of all, it meant I could choose my own books. Pippi Longstocking was my first pick and I was astonished that I got to read such a cool book in school.
Pippi was an inspiration to me because she got to live in a house without parents, cook her own meals and clean up when she felt like it. She had had wonderful adventures at sea with her father, was super-strong and had figured out how to talk back to grownups without getting in trouble. Junie B Jones must be a descendant of Pippi, but even Junie always has to learn a lesson. Pippi make sure she teaches the lesson!
A few months ago I read my way through the Stieg Larsson trilogy about the dragon tattooed girl. Larsson has said that his heroine's personality is loosely based on Pippi. No wonder I liked her so much.
Reading Pippi Longstocking again fifty years later was just as much fun. I had not realized how much of an influence Pippi has had in my life.
(Pippi Longstocking is available in paperback on the shelves for readers 8-12 at Once Upon A Time Bookstore.)