Inger Sandberg, celebrated author and co-creator of beloved children’s books such as “Lilla spöket Laban,” has sadly passed away at the age of 92, as confirmed by her family. Together with her husband Lasse Sandberg, Inger Sandberg was a pioneer
in the field of children’s literature, captivating young readers with their endearing stories and imaginative illustrations.
Inger Sandberg’s Enduring Contribution to Children’s Literature
Inger Sandberg, born in Karlstad in 1930, was an iconic figure in Swedish children’s literature. Alongside her husband Lasse Sandberg, she penned numerous cherished stories, leaving an indelible mark on generations of young readers. The couple made
their literary debut in 1953 with “Fåret Ullrik får medalj,” but it was their creation “Lilla Anna” in the 1960s that catapulted them to widespread recognition. Inger Sandberg’s ability to craft simple yet profound narratives, combined with
Lasse Sandberg’s illustrations, revolutionized picture books for young children during a time when such offerings were scarce.
Inger Sandberg’s Timeless Appeal and Innovative Approach
Rebecka Wolff, the publisher at Rabén & Sjögren, reflects on Inger and Lasse Sandberg’s significant contributions to the literary world. Their works continue to be published in new editions, attesting to their timeless appeal. Inger Sandberg’s
stories, marked by their simplicity and educational value, resonated with readers across generations. She fearlessly championed the rights of children to think independently and showcased a delightful sense of humor throughout her narratives. Boel Westin,
an emeritus professor of literary studies at Stockholm University, also recognizes Inger Sandberg’s innovative artistic pedagogy, emphasizing the enduring impact of her internationally renowned creation, “Lilla spöket Laban.”
I knew her as a kid for the book Nicholas' Favorite Pet (1967, translated in 1969). Her husband Lasse Sandberg illustrated it. In it, a boy keeps saying he wants a dog, but no one seems to pay any attention, so he starts asking for more exotic pets
instead, like an elephant, a rhino, a hippo, a snake, a crocodile, and a lion.
"Nicholas is full of ideas about the best possible family pet. His
father and mother have somewhat different ideas. An elephant, says
Nicholas, could wash the car, blow-dry Mommy's hair, and replace the
school bus. Elephants belong in Africa, observes his father."
"If I had a hippopotamus," said Nicholas, "I'd soon learn to swim."
"That would be cheating," said his father. "You keep practicing with
your water wings."
"Just as Laban was born to deal with the dark, many of the books were written by Inger to cover a small matter of some importance to small people everywhere. I really like the sound of the story about the man who suddenly shrinks and discovers what it is
like to be small and treated like a child again. He becomes a children’s politician after that, with notes explaining to young readers what a politician is."