Swedish author Astrid Lindgren, most famous for her beloved Pippi Longstocking stories, was the mother of two small children in Stockholm when World War II overtook Europe. During the traumatic years between 1939 and 1945, Lindgren kept diaries spanning an incredible 17 volumes. Now, for the first time, these diaries are being published, The Guardian reports, in Lindgren’s home country.
The volumes detail the events of the war, and how it affected her family. Lindgren’s granddaughter, Annika Lindgren, led the team that worked to turn the diaries into War Diaries (Krisgagböcker in Sweden)—a process that took two years to complete.
“The family has always known about her diaries,” Lindgren’s daughter Karin Nyman tells The Guardian. “We have always thought, what a pity it was that we couldn’t show them to more people, but we considered it impossible on account of their cumbersome size. At last we decided that her notes without the cuttings are interesting enough to publish. They make a coherent story.” Nyman, The Guardian notes, was “the original audience for Lindgren’s tales of the mischievous Pippi.” Near the end of the diaries, Lindgren writes notes about Pippi Longstocking, as the character emerges.
Head to The Guardian to learn more, and to see photos of Lindgren’s original diaries. The writer died in 2002.