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Anders Larson is the father of Kirsten Larson. Kirsten refers to him as "Papa".

Personality and Traits[]

Anders Larson, like the rest of his family, is from Sweden. He has a deep voice.

His brother Olav sent notice of the benefits of immigrating, which coaxed him to immigrate to the United States with his family.

Anders is a hard-working man and practical. He is stern and doesn't like to lose his patience, such as when he's pestered, and doesn't like to have his mind changed once he's made it up. He is a skilled beekeeper and kept bees in Sweden. He often tells his family to have heart, but doesn't like foolish choices or bad decisions.

In the Books[]

Meet Kirsten: An American Girl[]

Anders first appears calling for Kirsten when she is out on the deck with Marta during a storm. He says a storm is coming and with the rocky coast and wind it could be dangerous. He lifts Kirsten and Marta out of the rope coil, and hurries the two girls down below.

After the storm passes and the family comes up to see land, Anders (who is holding Peter) says that he can smell earth again. Greta smiles and leans to whisper to Anders that she often worried that they would not make it, and Anders says that she is brave and has heart and he is proud of her and their children. When Peter worries that Greta is sick and will not be let into America (after Lars mentions the health inspector,) Anders explains that Greta has only been seasick, which is common; the health inspector is looking for more serious illnesses such as cholera that are fatal. He assures Peter there will be nothing to worry about and they will be in New York to continue the journey to Minnesota.

When the ship docks at New York Harbor, Kirsten asks Anders why she's dizzy and Anders explains that they have gotten used to the ship's movement and need to get used to being on land again.

After buying tickets for the rest of the journey, Anders and Lars return with fruit as well, and Anders scoops out fruit for Kirsten and Peter before he and Greta share the rest. He says they will see more things tomorrow as they will leave west tomorrow. When Greta asks if he found an honest agent, Anders assures her that the agent he chose is good; he is from Sweden, speaks English, and was able to help them exchange their money as well as get the tickets, and the agent will guide them to the Mississippi River and they only have a few more weeks travel left. He urges Greta not to lose heart. Peter tugs on Anders and says they need to go buy food, and Anders takes Peter and Kristen with him as the three head down Broadway Street.

As they walk Kirsten is fascinated by all the things around her and asks Anders to slow down so that she can see it all. They get to the bread shop and Anders buys several rolls, giving one to Kirsten and one to Peter. Anders loses Kirsten when a boy bumps into her and she tips over a black boy polishing a man's shoes. After Kirsten finds her family again, Anders runs to her as she calls out to them. Anders says that not being able to find her scared them. When Kirsten explains how she communicated her way back, Anders says that Kirsten is very smart--and that next time she should be smart enough to stay near.

During their journey on the Redding (the Mississippi riverboat that takes them to Minnesota), Kirsten asks Anders why they can't go on the upper deck. Anders explains that the deck is for rich people. Kirsten asks if they could pay more to go up there and Anders says they only have a little money left, which will be needed to hire a wagon to the farm. Later when Kirsten learns that Marta has died and begins to sob miserably, Anders pats her shoulder and tells Kirsten to stop crying, but Greta cradles her and says to let Kirsten have her tears.

Anders returns with a frown from Maryville, and explains that they do not have enough money for a horse and wagon, so they must walk to the farm and leave the trunks for now; they will carry what they can and return for their trunks later, which will be kept in storage in town. He begins to take out blankets and tools from inside the larger trunk. Anders also tells Kirsten she will be needed to carry things and will have to leave Sari in the trunk.

Kirsten Learns a Lesson: A School Story[]

Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story[]

When Kirsten hears that the trunks in Maryville might be able to be picked up, Kirsten asks her father when he can go pick up the trunks (as she wants her doll back). He explains that he must to complete all the farm chores to make sure their family will have enough to survive through the winter, and promises to go when he has time. When he asks why the trunks were so important to Kirsten and she gives Greta's Christmas candles as an example, he says that they all want things they can't have. Anders gets increasingly annoyed at Kirsten's pestering and warns her if she keeps on pestering him about the trunks he will be upset.

One morning, Kirsten overhears Anders discuss with Greta, wondering if he should go into town that day to pick up the trunks as he has a clear day to do so. When Kirsten asks to join him, he initially tells her the trip will be too long and cold and she would be better off going to school with her brothers. Kirsten argues and tells him she wants to go with him more then anything in the world, he asks what Kirsten will do. Kirsten is initially worried he will get upset as he didn't like to be urged to change his mind, but he instead laughs and allows her to join him. On the way to town, he sings a Christmas carol with his daughter.

Anders and Kirsten arrive into town and pick up the trunks, undeterred by the increasing snowfall. When the storm gets worse to the point they can no longer see the road, Anders does his best to assure Kirsten things would be all right, though Kirsten can see him frown at the snowfall. When Blackie stops moving, Anders gets out and tries to lead the horse to keep him moving; however, he trips, twisting his knee and is unable to walk any further. He initially tells Kirsten there isn't anything she could do, but when Blackie refuses to move and Kirsten insists she can help by leading Blackie, he tells Kirsten he believes in her heart and gives her his gloves to keep her hands warm.

Blackie leads the two into the valley by the stream, and Anders initially believes the horse has become lost. He is surprised that Kirsten recognizes where they are and leads them to take shelter in the cave, and he asks how she came upon this cave. Anders is initially upset that Kirsten wandered this far out without permission, but is ultimately glad that Kirsten was such an explorer. He gives her one piece of cinnamon candy as they wait.

Once the storm passes, Anders is still unable to put his weight on his leg, so he sits in the sleigh and lets Kirsten lead them back home. He loudly announces their return and that they are safe once they return home. Inside, when Greta regrets letting Kirsten go with Anders, he says he would have never found the cave or his way home without her, and calls Kirsten a brave, strong girl. He is delighted by Kirsten's Saint Lucia's Day Surprise.

Happy Birthday, Kirsten!: A Springtime Story[]

Anders helps Olav and Lars plant the seeds for spring.

On the day Greta gives birth, Kirsten rides to where Anders is on Blackie, informing him the baby was coming. He asks if it was that much of a hurry and Kirsten insists it was, giving him the reigns to Blackie. Anders squeezes Kirsten's shoulder, saying she is a good helper before riding Blackie off to the cabin. When Kirsten and Peter see the new baby, Anders initially fusses that there is now another mouth to feed, but he smiles his biggest smile and is grateful that all six of them are safe and well.

Anders helps raise the barn beams with the rest of the men on the barn raising day. During the dance, he asks Kirsten to have a birthday dance with him, and the two dance a waltz where he sometimes lifts her feet off the floor when he swings her around. When the dance is over, Anders is with Olav thanking his neighbors and wishing them a good night.

Kirsten Saves The Day: A Summer Story[]

Kirsten remembers that Anders used to do beekeeping in Sweden, and he had brought his bee veil with him to America. Kirsten believes that by working with her vague memories of watching Anders work with bees, she can collect the honey she has discovered on her own and surprise her parents.

When Caro returns home, bleeding after having being attacked by the mother bear, Anders fears that Peter and Kirsten have run into trouble and goes into the woods with his rifle to look for them. He follows Caro's blood trail and calls after the two until he hears their yells and Kirsten's whistle. He helps the two down from the tree they have climbed and asks if they were alright, but Kirsten is afraid of how angry Anders is. When he learns that Kirsten went by the bee tree knowing that bears where nearby, he lectures Kirsten and says she's done a very foolish thing, she should have known better, and she should know to be careful in the woods. Peter tries to stand up for Kirsten by calling her brave and Anders says that it wasn't brave to go near bears--it was dangerous. When Kirsten and Peter say they thought Anders would be happy about them gathering the honey from the tree, Anders tells Kirsten she would have destroyed the much more valuable bee colony in the process, possibly ruined the honey and--much worse--been badly stung. He decides that Kirsten doesn't need to be paddled as punishment, as she has shown enough remorse for her actions.

Anders goes with Lars the following day to collect the bees and honey properly. Kirsten believes her father is still angry with her as he hasn't smiled since yesterday's incident. But he allows Kirsten to follow them into the woods, provided that she does exactly as she was told. At the clearing, he has Kirsten stay behind a line in the sand, and he works with Lars to properly smoke out the bee hive and saw down the tree. When they return home with the honey, Anders tells Greta that the bee colony was a good, big one that would make a lot of honey, and the honey already in the tree was plentiful. When Kirsten begins to cry--still ashamed of her actions--Anders wipes her tears and tells Kirsten she was a smart girl and certainly brave, and that nothing seeming to scare her. She just has to remember to be brave and careful at the same time. His smile assures Kirsten that everything is all right.

Anders travels with the rest of his family into Maryville for the Fourth of July celebrations. He's initially worried about letting Caro join them into town, afraid he may get into fights with the local dogs. He eventually relents, figuring that Kirsten and Peter should be able to keep an eye on him. When showing Mr. Berkhoff their honey, Anders tells him that Kirsten was the one whom found it, and she has a nose as good as a bear's.

When Anders finds Kirsten admiring the straw hat, he jokes that Kristen's bonnet might not be hot enough for her. He puts the straw hat on Kristen and tells her that he was initially worried they wouldn't be able to sell enough goods to afford the goods they needed, but Kirsten's honey has earned more than enough--so as a gift, he was going to get Kirsten and Peter one item from the store that they wanted. He asks if Kirsten wants the straw hat, which she says yes to. As the parade begins, he tells Kirsten to go on with her new hat, saying that a girl needs a straw hat on a day like this.

Changes for Kirsten: A Winter Story[]

Anders and Olav are gone for the winter to work in a logging camp.

He writes to Greta that the logging is going well and hopes that his earnings, as well the money earned from selling the pelts, will be enough to buy more land for farming; he is unaware that the Larson cabin has been destroyed by fire during his absence.

At the end of the trapping season, his earnings along with the money earned from the late Old Jack's pelts and the ones from the trap lines are enough to buy the Stewarts' house (as they are moving to Oregon). Anders sends another letter to his family to let them know that he and Mr. Stewart (who is with him) have already arranged a deal and for the Larsons to prepare for his return.

Kirsten is the first person to see Anders arriving home, at their new house.

Kirsten Snowbound![]

Anders is away at the logging camp. Kirsten is hoping for a letter from him telling the family when he'll come home.

Kirsten's Promise[]


Anders and Kirsten assisting Ezra.

Kirsten tells Anders about Ezra and the wagon, and he goes out to the clearing to help him.

He puts his hand up when Ezra points his rifle at him, telling him it was all right and he just came to have a word with him. Anders goes close to Ezra and crouches down so that they are at eye level. He tells Ezra he was a very brave boy and that not many would have been able to do what he'd done for his mother; that when he gets to California, his father's going to tell him how proud he is.

Anders tells Ezra he knew he was brave enough to stay here, but he thinks it wasn't what his mama is asking him to do--that she was asking him to stay with her until Ezra had done all he could do for her and the only thing left to do now for her is make a marker for the grave, something he could help with. He can also help the boy get to Red Wing. Anders insists that Ezra's mother would want him to go to his friends there and he could trust him when he said she'd want him to join his father. He tells Ezra to come along and he'll hitch up their wagon and come pick up his belongings.

Anders picks up Ezra's rifle and puts a hand on the boy's shoulder, saying they would get some warm food into him and get his horse fed as well. Anders tells Kirsten he's never seen as dog as loyal as Ezra's, nor has he ever known a boy so young to have such a strong heart. He then squeezed Kristen's shoulder, saying he's never known a girl to make a better choice then Kirsten did today.

The Runaway Friend[]


  • The American Girls Album and An American Girl's Family Album both state in Last Name Facts that Kirsten's last name was "Larsdotter" in Sweden and her father's first name was Lars. This was incorrect; in Kirsten's Surprise the trunks that were sent to and then stored at Mr. Berkhoff's General Store have "Anders Larson" painted on the sides. It is more likely, given that Anders and Olav have the same last name, that it was instead their father who was named Lars. Furthermore, while Kirsten's last name was likely "Andersdotter," many immigrant families would be changed or adapted upon arrival in the US to have a matching family name and generally this was made to match the male head of household; hence the family becoming the Larsons upon immigration.