Text size

A group helping children in Gaza and the West Bank to read and write has won a 5 million crown ($630,000) prize given in memory of "Pippi Longstocking" creator Astrid Lindgren, Sweden's Arts Council said on Tuesday.

Former winners of the prize, set up in 2002, include Maurice Sendak known for "Where The Wild Things Are" and Philip Pullman who wrote the "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

The Tamer Institute for Community Education won the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, the world's largest prize for children's literature, for its work in promoting learning in a region plagued by violence and political unrest.

"We dedicate this award to the children of Palestine who have faced many painful events throughout the past 60 years," Ruba Toha, program coordinator at the Tamer Institute, told Reuters in the West Bank city of Ramallah.

The institute publishes children's books and educational material for children who cannot go to school because of the political situation in the region.

"In the spirit of Astrid Lindgren, the Tamer Institute acknowledges the power of words and the strength of books, stories and imagination as important keys to self-esteem, tolerance and the courage to face life," the prize-givers said in a statement.

The prize is given to writers, illustrators, story-tellers or organizations that promote reading.