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Greta Larson is the mother of Kirsten Larson. Kirsten refers to her as "Mama."

Personality and Facts[]

Greta is strong and courageous--what Anders refers to as "having heart". She frequently gets homesick for Sweden, but tries to think positively about the American frontier. She's a very thoughtful woman who loves and treasures her family deeply, and does her best to be practical. She is wary of the dangers that can befall their family on the open prairie and does her best to protect her family and children.

She knows how to spin wool and weave blankets.

In the Books[]

Meet Kirsten: An American Girl[]

Kirsten Learns a Lesson: A School Story[]

Kirsten's Surprise: A Christmas Story[]

When Kirsten asks if Christmas in America would be the same as it was in Sweden, Mama is honest in her answer, saying some things were different and they didn't have the money for extra treats, but they'd do the best they can. When Kirsten wishes she had her real Sari, Mama reminds her that work came before play, but comforts her by giving her the news about the trunks arriving at Mr. Berkhoff's store. Mama smiles at Kirsten's suggestion that they pick up the trunks themselves, but they would have to wait until Papa had all his work done.

When Kirsten asks if Mama missed her things, she reminds Kirsten that people were more important then things, but agrees with her that items can have a special meaning to them that can help them remember. Greta admits she often thought of the day they packed the trunk with Mormor and her friend Mrs. Hanson. Kirsten is surprised to see her mother crying, unaware that she could get homesick, but she tries to hide her tears from her daughter.

When Kirsten learns that Saint Lucia's Day wasn't a holiday in America, Kirsten thinks that her mother would be disappointed, as it was her favorite holiday.

Mama allows Kirsten to go with Papa to get the trunks. She gives Kirsten some Christmas bread to give to storekeeper, and she sees them off.

When Kirsten offers to lead Blackie through the snowstorm, Papa says Kirsten had a lot of heart, something he had often said about Kristen's mother on her journey to America. The thought of being as brave as her mother helps Kirsten go on through the storm.

Mama stays up with the rest of the family waiting for Kirsten's and Papa's return, and she is the first one to greet them upon their return. She regrets letting Kirsten go with Papa to get the trunks, but upon hearing Kirsten's deeds is proud that Kirsten was as brave as her Papa.

When the trunks are brought in, Mama beings to unpack and hands Kirsten her doll, saying she missed Kirsten and Papa more then Kirsten had missed Sari, but now they were all together again. She initially suggests that they should wait until morning before unpacking further, but she doesn't need much urging by Kirsten to continue on. When Kirsten executes her Saint Lucia's Day surprise, she sees that Mama's eyes were shining.

Happy Birthday, Kirsten!: A Springtime Story[]

Mama is helping Aunt Inger with the laundry when she notices the sky getting darker and becomes concerned. When Inger tells her a tornado might be coming, Mama orders Kirsten to get her cousins and brother into the cellar, and to hurry.

When Kirsten expresses interest in learning how to quilt, Mama reminds her she needed Kirsten's help making clothes for the baby. Mama is unfamiliar with quilting, and she's doubtful about Miss Winston's claims that it was a good way to train the hand and eye. Mama is deeply relieved when the tornado passes them by without any damage to their homes.

As the baby was due to arrive soon, Mama is unable to do as much work as she used to without taking a rest, and Kirsten has to stay home to help her with the chores. Kirsten notes that Mama these days was as nervous and irritable as their cat Missy, and wishes she would feel better. Kirsten also suspects Mama had forgotten about her Birthday due to how busy she was preparing for the new baby and had so much on her mind these days.

Mama calls for Kirsten, asking where Aunt Inger and Papa was, stating that the baby might come sooner then she expected. She asks Kirsten to keep her company for a little while as they wait for Aunt Inger to return. She holds Kirsten's hand as she shares that when she woke up this morning, she thought about the day Kristen was born. Her mother and Mrs. Hanson had come by to help her, the new leaves were on the big maple tree outside the door, and then Kirsten was born and Mrs. Hanson cleaned and wrapped her before putting her into Mama's arms. Kirsten was red faced and had white fuzz for hair, but Mama thought she was beautiful. Mama was very happy because she wanted a daughter so much. Mama tells Kirsten she would never forget the day she was born. Mama gets deeper into labor, and she asks Kirsten to fetch Aunt Inger and Papa.

When Peter and Kirsten go in to see the new baby, Peter comments softly he thought the baby would be bigger, and she tells him that babies start out very small, but she was big enough.

Mama wasn't strong enough to work for very long yet, so Kirsten still has to remain at home to do Mama's kitchen and farm chores. When Kristen serves her dinner in bed, Mama tells Kirsten that her friends would be coming for the barn raising dance, and offers Kirsten the day off that day so she could play with her friends and celebrate her birthday. When Kirsten asks if she could share the news with her cousins, Papa is about to tell Kirsten she still needed to wash up, but Mama tells her the dishes could wait.

On the day of the barn raising, Mama makes a heart-shaped cake for Kirsten's birthday. She gives Kirsten a fancy white apron as her birthday gift. Mama doesn't dance with the rest of the family for the barn raising dance, instead staying at the cabin with the baby. When Kirsten shows her the tiny grey kitten and states her plan, Mama suggests she dip a corner of a hankie into milk and let the kitten suck, and they could check with Missy tomorrow to see if she wanted the kitten back. She asks Kirsten what she planned to do with the quilt square she never completed, and she approves Kirsten's plan to make Britta a quilt. When Kirsten asks if it was better to have two daughters, Mama says it was very good, but there was only one Kirsten, and wishes her a happy birthday.

Kirsten Saves The Day: A Summer Story[]

Mama sends Kirsten and Peter to fish trout for their supper, reminding Kirsten to keep an eye on her younger brother, to watch for snakes, look out for bears and to not take any foolish chances. Kristen whispers that their Mama worried too much, to which Peter says that Papa said mothers were supposed to worry.

Kirsten wants to keep her plan to collect the honey secret as she hoped to surprise both Mama and Papa and make them proud of her.

When Papa, Lars and Kirsten return with the bee colony and honey, Mama has the boiling water prepared to melt the beeswax. She is delighted by the amount of honey they had, but senses that Kirsten was sad and asks her why. Mama comforts Kirsten, saying she was proud of Kirsten for finding the bee tree, and both she and Papa knew she wanted to help. She explains that they were able to count on having honey to sell in town and even more next fall, all because of Kirsten. She tells Kirsten that to get all the honey ready to sell by the Fourth they would need her help again. Kirsten thinks how she wanted to be just like Mama when she grew up.

Mama travels with the rest of the family into town, holding Britta along the way. In town, when Mr. Berkhoff asks what they would like in return for their goods, Mama says they would need cloth as well as boots for Lars. Inside the store, she immediately goes over with Aunt Inger to take a look at the cloth.

When she sees Kirsten and Papa admiring her new straw hat, she hands Britta to Inger and walks over to them, saying the hat needed a nice ribbon and a little decoration. She adds a ribbon and some cherries, and the three smile into the mirror. When Kirsten runs off to see the parade with Peter, she tells Kirsten to take care Peter didn't get in the way of the horses.

Changes for Kirsten: A Winter Story[]

Kirsten on the Trail[]

Mama spots Kirsten and Peter fighting and asks why they're arguing and she won't have it. When Peter blurts out that Kirsten has a secret Indian friend--Singing Bird--she has gotten a gift from, Mama asks Kirsten if this is true, asks for--and then takes--the bag, and lectures Kirsten about the dangers of Indians and that no one will watch out for them but themselves. She refuses to hear Kirsten's explanation and forbids her to meet Singing Bird.

Mama frets when Peter doesn't arrive for breakfast and mentions all the dire fates that could befall him as a little boy in the woods in early spring, such as being attacked by a bear, falling through the thin ice and drowning, or being taken away by Indians (the last of which she has only heard stories about). When he is brought back home she both scolds and hugs him up. At the first sight of Singing Bird, she nervously asks Kirsten if this is the girl she's been playing with and Kirsten explains how they found Peter. She is still skeptical until Peter confirms this, then relaxes, returns Kirsten's bag to her, and invites Singing Bird in for bread and honey.

Kirsten Snowbound![]

Mama goes into town with Aunt Inger and Lars to get supplies they've run out of during the winter. The kids think how if Mama was here, she would advise them to help each other stay safe and to think things through. Mama returns with the others after the snowstorm has passed, riding on a sleigh.

Kirsten and the Chippewa[]

After supper, Mama stores away the leftover food. She takes out two dried apple pies she had baking in the stove and tells Peter he can have a slice when it cooled.

When the Chippewa appear, Mama hurries to pick up Britta and worries that Indians painted like the ones in the window meant they were on a raid. Despite her concern with the warriors entering their house, when the Youngest Warrior calls Kirsten a raccoon, even Mama's lips turn up. When Kirsten calls him an ugly muskrat, Mama scorns Kristen to mind her manners while looking anxiously at the warriors.

Kirsten and the New Girl[]

The Runaway Friend[]


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