June 12 – Happy Birthday, Johanna Spyri

Posted on June 12, 2014

If you know Johanna Spyri's most famous book, Heidi, you will not be surprised to hear that the author was born in Switzerland.

What may surprise you is that Spyri wrote Heidi in just four weeks!


Spyri was born as Johanna Heusser on this date in 1827, in a rural (country, not city) area of Switzerland. The area that appeared in Heidi and several of Spyri's other novels was the area around Chur, billed as the oldest town in Switzerland, where she spent several summers.

As an adult, Spyri lived in a big city, Zurich, but she might have missed the country – because she wrote many of her stories about people living out in the countryside.

She wrote many other stories for adults and kids, besides for Heidi, and Spyri is considered an icon in Switzerland. She has appeared on postage stamps and on commemorative coins.

Read or watch Heidi!
  • Here is a source of the book, free online.
  • Here is a free audio book, offered on YouTube.
  • There are lots of different versions of Heidi to enjoy in movie form. Here is a cartoon. Here is the first part of the 1993 version, and here is a middle section from the 1937 (Shirley Temple) version. I also found French, Spanish, and German versions of movies and cartoon series!

Also on this date:

Loving Day 

Russia Day

Plan ahead:

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