Books on the Bed: Ronia the Robber’s Daughter

(Books on the Bed: Novels and stories I read as a child that still remain in my collection. Recommended reading for all ages. If you can find them.)

The first box I packed during my half-move from Tennessee was for my friend Ariell. She was the first person on Awesome Porch who I ever saw crack a book. (Everyone else here does, but in private apparently.) We started talking and discovered that we had a lot of the same interests. She recommended a few books to me — I’m currently halfway through Barry Lyga’s The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl and I’m enjoying it immensely.

In return, I brought up a box of fun books for her to borrow that she’d undoubtedly never heard of…books in my eclectic collection that I’ve been promising to talk about on this blog as my recommended reading list. I started a “Books on the Bed” series late last year with They Call me Boober Fraggle. I’ll now be posting one every Friday. Here’s recommended reading title number two.

Title: Ronia the Robber’s Daughter
Author: Astrid Lindgren
US Pub date: 1983
Status: Available!

“I’ll carry this summer around in my memory as long as I live.”  –Ronia

Everybody knows about Pippi Longstocking, because she’s the one who had the movies. We all wanted to be like her, wearing giant boots, having friends like Tommy and Annika, going on Grand Adventures, and sleeping with our feet on the pillow and our heads at the foot of the bed. (I still do the last one. When I actually *have* a bed. It’s not quite the same on an air mattress.)

But my favorite of Miss Astrid’s heroines is the much lesser known Ronia.

Black-eyed harpie-haired Ronia was born to the Robber Chieftain Matt on the same night a terrible lightning storm split Matt’s Fort in two. When Ronia is old enough to explore the forest, her father advises her to: 1.) Stay away from Gray Dwarves, wild harpies, and Burka’s Robbers (Burka being Matt’s sworn enemy) 2.) Don’t get lost in the woods or fall in the river and 3.) Don’t tumble into Hell’s Gap — the giant split in the fortress.

Ronia encounters all these things…only when she visits the top of Hell’s Gap she finds a boy there about her age–the only other child she’s met in her life. He is Birk Borkason, yes, son of her father’s enemy, and they have moved into the abandoned other half of Matt’s Fort.

Despite their families’ quarrel, Ronia and Birk inevitably become friends. This, of course, leads to hardship and adventure and the limits of how far one must go to heal old wounds.

Ronia — like her cousin Pippi — is one of the original kick-ass heroines. She is beautiful and independent and headstrong and fearless and will fight for what and who she loves. She’s a fabulous role model for young girls today, and I wish there were more like her. Luckily, Ronia the Robber’s Daughter is still in print, so she hasn’t gone very far.

Now I wish it was March already. I feel a Spring Yell coming on.