We are pleased to welcome our friend Taylor as our first ever guest contributor. Taylor is a teacher in Cambridge, MA who loves children’s literature.
Are you looking for a work of splendid writing about a simple friendship? If so, then look no further than Swedish author Astrid Lindgren’s Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter.
As a child, I devoured Astrid Lindgren’s most popular works, her Pippi Longstocking series. I loved reading about the carefree, nonsensical Pippi and the adventures she created for her and her friends. However, while Pippi appealed to me, I always passed by Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter, thinking it would be a slow-paced, impossible-to-believe fantasy (I am not an avid fantasy reader) that would put me to sleep.
I was in for a delightful shock.
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter follows the story of two rival robber gangs—Matt’s gang and Borka’s gang. Ronia is the daughter of Matt, while Birk is the son of Borka. While their fathers’ robber bands work tirelessly to prove they are the reigning band in the forest, Birk and Ronia sneak out to develop a new and satisfying friendship. When their parents find out about their friendship, Ronia and Birk must decide what is more important to them—their families’ love or their love for each other.
Two things that made Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter hard to put down were the good writing and memorable characters. Throughout the book, Lindgren embedded plenty of humor—especially in the relationship between Matt, Ronia’s father, and his wife, Lovis—that made the story enjoyable. She also took special care to flesh out each character—right down to each robber in Matt’s band.
However, it was the simple yet meaningful storyline of a friendship between two children from different backgrounds that compelled me to finish the book. I would like to point out that, during the story, the friendship between Ronia and Birk never turns romantic. I found this element of the relationship extremely refreshing. I also found it refreshing that, throughout the book, both Ronia and Birk truly valued the friendship as something so integral to their lives they needed it to survive. There is one quote that, for me, sums up the friendship between Ronia and Birk: “How good it was to love someone so much that there was no need to fear even the most difficult thing.”
All in all, Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter offers a simple tale of friendship not to be missed. Please pick it up today. You won’t regret it.