Heidi is a work of children's fiction by Swiss author Johanna Spyri, originally published in two parts as Heidi: her years of wandering and learning and Heidi : How she used what she learned. It is a novel about the events in the life of a young girl in her grandfather's care, in the Swiss Alps.
Heidi is one of the best-selling books ever written and is among the best-known works of Swiss literature.
Heidi is an orphaned girl initially raised by her aunt Dete in Maienfeld, Switzerland after the early deaths of her parents, Tobias and Adelheid (Dete's sister and brother-in-law). Dete brings 5-year-old Heidi to her paternal grandfather's house, up the mountain from Dörfli. He has been at odds with the villagers and embittered against God for years and lives in seclusion on the alm. This has earned him the nickname 'Uncle Alp'. He briefly resents Heidi's arrival, but the girl's evident intelligence and cheerful yet unaffected demeanor soon earn his genuine, if reserved, affection. Heidi enthusiastically befriends her new neighbors, young Peter the goatherd, his mother, Bridgget, and his blind maternal grandmother. With each season that passes, the mountaintop inhabitants grow more attached to Heidi.
Three years later, Dete returns to take Heidi to Frankfurt to be a hired lady's companion to a wealthy girl named Clara Sesemann, who is regarded as an invalid. The girl is charmed by Heidi's simple friendliness, and delights in all the funny mishaps brought about by Heidi's lack of experience with city life. However, the Sesemanns' strict housekeeper, Fräulein Rottenmeier, views the household disruptions as wanton misbehavior, and places Heidi under more and more restraint. Soon, Heidi becomes terribly homesick, and grows alarmingly pale and thin. Her one diversion is learning to read and write, motivated by her desire to go home and read to Peter's blind grandmother. Clara's paternal grandmother comes to visit the children and becomes a friend to Heidi. She teaches Heidi that she can always seek relief from misery by praying to God.