11 Aug 2011
Role models from the pages: Ronja The Robber's Daugther
When I did the Top Ten Tuesday list about underrated books, I included Ronja the Robber's Daughter by Astrid Lindgren. I am not sure why this one popped into my head when I was doing the list - I haven't read it for ages, years, yet it is a book that I love. "Ronja The Robber's Daugther" is a children's book by Swedish author Astrid Lindgren and it was first published in 1981, a few years before I was born and I had it read to me several times as a child. What I love about this book is the strong, independent Ronja, daughter of man's man, head honcho robber Mattis. Whereas many of Astrid Lindgren's books have been set in a very safe, idyllic Sweden, Ronja is set in a much more dark version of Sweden - a bit like "Mio, my Mio" or "The Brothers Lionheart".
When Ronja is born into a clan of robbers living in a castle in the forest, her father Mattis the chieftain is ecstatic. His arch-enemy, Borka, chieftain of a rival clan, does not have such a fine daugther. What Mattis doesn't know is that Borka's son, Birk Borkason will play a big role in little Ronja's life. She grows up, only child in a clan of robbers, and one day she meets Birk and through a daring game they become friends. It is unthinkable that Mattis's daughter should be friend with a Borka, so they keep it a secret until the day when their friendship is tested by the rivalry of their family and Ronja and Birk have to choose between family feuds and friendship.
What is so amazing about this book is the many emotions that it manages to capture and convey. Ronja and Birk are strong characters and Ronja is a real role model for girls if you ask me. The main conflict is between childhood and adolescence - Ronja has to admit to herself that the father she idolizes is not perfect and that eventually she will have to break free if she wants to live her own life. It has such a strong message about family values, friendship, love and tolerance and all of this is wrapped up in a beautiful tale full of robbers and faeries and magic and nature.
Ronja the Robber's Daugther is the perfect role model for tween girls - her big heart, courage and independence is a far cry from Barbiefied values. Ronja lives wild, appearances don't count in her world - it is all about values and making choices. So if you are looking for the perfect present for an 8 year old girl, do buy her "Ronja the Robber's Daughter".
The picture shows the Danish cover as I remember it from my childhood. I love the colours and the darkness of the forest in the background.