White Ravens: Finnish
Finland (Finnish) - 1993 - 154
Larmola, Maija (text)
Lumme, Leena (illus.)
Kesätukka ja muita juttuja Kukkulan korttelista
(Kesätukka and the Story of the Kukkulan Quarter)
Helsinki: Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura (SKS), 1990. 64 p.
children's book - cultural history
Among the numerous publications about cultural history for children, this text and picture book about the Kukkulan quarter of Helsinki in the 1920s is one of the few which may also interest children from other cultures. A narrative text links the numerous vivid, cleverly drawn pictures which impart a lively depiction of everyday life when today's grandmothers were young, Finnish local color is adeptly united here with general facts of interest. A short appendix, likewise illustrated, explains historically typical ideas, a bibliography lists the sources. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 1998 - 189
Lemmetty, Jukka (text/illus.)
Helsinki: Otava, 1996.  p.
City - Adventure
There are several Finnish illustrators, such as Hannu Taina and Kaarina Kaila, who are known abroad. The bustling books of the caricaturist Mauri Kunnas are also popular outside of Finland. Making friends with this book may be more difficult because its gaudy, bright colors frighten adults - but not necessarily children. With wildly drawn lines and painfully piercing colors this book tells the story of the absurd journey of a boy and a man through an urban Moloch, letting children anticipate what kinds of discoveries they could make in their own city. (8+)
Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 192
Helakisa, Kaarina (text)
Castren, Taru (illus.)
Aapelus. Aakkosloruja ja hassuja satuja
(Aapelus. Alphabet nursery rhymes and crazy fairy tales)
Helsinki: Kolibri, 1998. 53 p.
Alphabet - Nursery rhyme - Nonsense
Kaarina Helakisa (1946-1998) is a famous Finnish author who has received several prizes for her life's work. A virtuos with words, Helakisa modernized the nursery rhyme tradition in Finland. She also uses nonsense in her modern fairytales. The innovation in this picture book is to hide the letters of the alphabet in the colourful and humorous illustrations and let the child discover them by himself. (5+)
Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 193
Hurme, Taru (text/illus.)
Heinävä, Auli (text/illus.)
Mummo ja Viivi vanhassa Tallinnassa
(Grandmother and Viivi in old Tallinn)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1998. 40 p.
Grandmother/Granddaughter - Tallinn/Tour guide
This book offers a tour of the old architecture of Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. The trip is Viivi's birthday present from her grandmother and they both enjoy becoming familiar with Middle Age buildings and towers. The book can serve as a travel guide for children. The writers and illustrators are architects and they have supplemented the narrative with the special vocabulary in an appendix. The atmosphere of the old city exudes from the story and the nostalgic illustrations. (8+) ☆
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 194
Kouros, Alexis (text)
Reichstein, Alexander (illus.)
Helsinki: Lasten Keskus, 1997. 120 p.
Search for identity - Personality development
Alexsis Kouros, an Iranian living in Finland, won the premier children's literature prize »Finlandia Junior« in 1997 for this title. The story tells about a little penguin who by chance is born in an albatross' nest. Of course he wants to learn to fly like the others. Pursuing one of the classic themes of children's literature, »Who am I? Where do I come from?«, Kouros explores the question of identity and foreignness and shows that there are different ways to see the problem. Alexander Reichstein's mixed media photos give his own interpretation of the story. It can be the bedrock which gives safety, carrying both the past and the future, but also opens up the possibility for a new life. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 1999 - 196
Levanto, Marjatta (text)
Vuori, Julia (illus.)
Nykytaide suurin piirtein
(All about modern art, sort of)
Helsinki: Otava, 1998. 80 p.
This information book introduces the young reader to modern art through a chronological overview of the most important periods and major works of the modern art. The author and illustrator describe how an artist approaches, among other things, a human being, the world, harmony, dreams, thoughts, the past and memories. Their personal voices and well-chosen examples form an interesting dialogue on art. The illustrator Julia Vuori also contributes to the dialogue in a humorous way with her own fantastic animal illustrations. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 188
Helakisa, Kaarina (adapt.)
Hieta, Heli (illus.)
(The princess's wings)
Helsinki: Otava, 1999. 32 p.
Self-identity - Independence
This surrealistic picture book, the debut work of a young illustrator, is an adaptation of an old fairy tale by the famous Finnish author Kaarina Helakisa (orig. publ. 1982) and this new edition offers a many-layered tale for princesses of all ages. When the princess gets wings, and thus the gift of flight, she throws away her shoes. In the universal language of fairytales this represents slipping out of the bonds of childhood and growing into an independent young woman. Hieta's painterly illustrations range from deep purple to sky blue to represent different views of flying and freedom. They go beyond the text to form their own mysterious world, reminiscent of medieval and renaissance art mixed with the surrealism of modern times. (7+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 1999, Shortlist)
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 189
Helsinki: Tammi, 1999. 149 p.
First love - Self-identity
This well-known Finnish author's latest novel describes an honest and moving love story and the trials and errors of growing-up. The very talented college-aged Mari is two years older than Jusa, a sensitive and shy teenager when they meet one spring. But little by little their friendship develops alongside their common interest in political affairs. In the fall Mari goes off to a school in Northern Finland, while Jusa becomes more active in student life. Each continues to mature and develop their own interests, and when they are reunited, they are able to face each other as human beings, ready for a deeper relationship. The novel is remarkable for its coherent plot and convincing character development. (14+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 1999, 3rd prize)
Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 190
Suvi Kinos ja elämän eväät
(Suvi Kinos and the directives of life)
Porvoo: Söderström, 1999. 191 p.
Orphan - Uncle
The well-known children's and young adult writer Jukka Parkkinen continues the story of young Suvi Kinos who lives with her seven uncles. In two previous titles (Suvi Kinoksen seitsemän enoa, 1995; and Suvi Kinos ja puuttuva rengas, 1998) her childhood years and the efforts of the seven scientist uncles to bring her up are depicted with much hilarity and virtuosity. In this sequel Suvi goes off to school in Lapland and falls in love. At first she seeks personal fulfillment as an actress, but then begins studies in literature at the university. The novel is filled with intertextual references to the Finnish classic »Seven brothers« by Aleksis Kivi as well as fairy tales such as Cinderella and Little Red Riding Hood. (13+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 191
Sandman Lilius, Irmelin (text/illus.)
Sagor från Främlingsgatan
(Tales from Foreigners's Street)
Jyväskylä: Schildts Förlags Ab, 1999. 163 p.
(Swedish co-ed.: Stockholm: Eriksson & Lindgren, 1999)
Helsinki/History 1942-1950 - Childhood memories
Some children like to read or listen to »true« childhood stories, and others don't, but adults are almost always fascinated by this topic. One becomes especially curious at the possibility of getting an authentic story, when the narrator happens to be the famous, now nearly classic Swedish- Finnish author of fantasy novels for children. These 18 short stories contain episodes from the war and post-war years in Helsingfors. Focal point is the family around which the stories unfold; the active heros are the author and her sister Heddi. And, as is to be expected from Irmelin Sandman Lilius, the stories shift without warning from the only just bearable reality of war into fantasy, only to return to everyday life again. If one were to compare Sandmann Lilius to the other two great Scandinavian writers of the post-war generation, with Astrid Lindgren, who often describes the real world as fantastic, and with Tove Jansson, who describes an entire fantasy world as real, then this author would seem to move very subtly between these two fixed stars. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 192
Suhonen, Ville (text)
Louhi, Seppo (photos)
Poika ja ilves - Seikkailu erämaassa
(Tommy and the wildcat)
Helsinki: Otava, 1999. 49 p.
Lappland - Lynx - Friendship - Adventure
This debut work is the novelization of a successful family film released in 1998. An adventure story set in Lapland, it describes the friendship between Leevi, a lynx born and raised in the world's northernmost wildlife park in Northern Finland, and a 12-year old boy. Tommy promises to help his father, an animal biologist, to release the wildcat back into the wilderness, and develops strong feelings of affinity with the Leevi. The wilderness and landscape make a striking, exotic background in both book and film. An illustrated version of the story with numerous stills from the film is also available for younger readers. (5+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2000 - 193
Helsinki: Tammi, 1999. 263 p.
First love - Drug abuse - Bicycling - Abortion
This dramatic young adult novel about two fifteen- year olds is narrated by Mikael, a boy from a middle-class family who dreams of a career as a rock musician. His girlfriend Roosa is an orphan from a working class background. One fateful evening Mikael has a fight with his friends and takes a drug trip. A bicycle accident leads to his death, leaving Roosa behind with an unborn child that she doesn't want to keep. In the novel, Mikael follows the events after his death. When his parents and brother try to talk Roosa out of having an abortion because the child will be a memory of Mikael, the narrator wonders whose life is at stake and whom the baby really belongs to. (14+)
(Topelius Award; 1999)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 188
Hjelt, Marjut (text)
Aalto, Jaana (illus.)
Taikametsä : tarinoita ja taikoja suomalaisesta metsästä
(The magic forest : tales and magic from the Finnish forest)
Helsinki : Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2000. 95 p.
(Totta ja tarua)
Finland/Folktale - Folklore
This informative book introduces old and new stories, folktales as well as facts about the Finnish mythology of the forest. The book tells of the origin of the forest and trees, how the medical plants and flora can be helpful, and how to have luck in hunting. It also contains Christfrid Ganander's facts on the guardian spirits and the mythic gods from the 18th century. Even the old Tapiola kingdom is introduced with mythic figures which belong to the Scandinavian tradition. The book pays homage to the wisdom and knowledge of older generations without forgetting the newest tales. The watercolour illustrations capture the magical and fantastic spirit of the Finnish forests. (7+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 189
Itkonen, Jukka (text)
Keränen, Anssi (illus.)
Myydään mummo : tähdellinen kertomus
(Grandmother for sale)
Helsingissä : Otava, 2000. 80 p.
Christmas - Grandmother - Friendship - Tolerance
In this absurd story, a boy has bought himself a grandma at a public sale. On a frosty Christmas Eve, he hides Grandma, a wandering carpenter and a dog in his family's garage because nobody wants to give them a shelter for the night. Holy Night, the Grandma gives birth to a baby. The similarities with the Christmas story are obvious. The writer uses absurd and comic elements, making the story both humorous and sad. The illustrator's comical and emotional touch in cartoon-style skilfully captures the writer's visions. (9+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 190
Jaatinen, Eila (ed.)
Parikka, Salli (illus.)
Suomalaisten satujen helmiä
(The pearls of the Finnish fairy tales)
Helsinki : Kirjapaja, 2000. 303 p.
Literary fairy tale
This magnificent collection of Finnish literary fairy tales assembles both classical and less known stories. The first fairy tale storyteller for children in Finland was Zacharias Topelius (1818-98), who wrote in Swedish and published his first book in 1847. His tales are didactic, often religious and patriotic. His influence can still be noticed even in today's fairy tales. This collection presents mostly writers from around the turn of the century, such as Anni Swan (1875-1958). She broke with the patriotic tradition by fashioning the modern and active girl who masters all difficulties. Symbolist themes and the motif of the protection of nature characterise her wondertales. The book includes further tales by classical writers who are more famous for adult fiction. The illustrations are colourful and pleasing. (7+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 191
Kivilaakso, Sirpa (ed.)
Korhonen, Leena (ed.)
Runohattaroita Ruskeasuon taivaalla
(Cloudlets of poems in the sky of Ruskeasuo)
Helsinki : Ruskeasuon Koulu, 2000. 106 p.
Search for identity - Tolerance
To celebrate its 110 anniversary, the Ruskeasuo school for handicapped children published an anthology with 95 poems and eight illustrations by the children. These poems tell of the real life of young people and their place in it. The subjects are varied: writing a poem, friendship and love, Batman and Pippi Longstocking, Tarzan and Jane, the sun and the wonders of nature. Some poems are skilful and imaginative: »It's raining cats and dogs / so nobody is fishing / how the fishes are laughing.« The book is especially valuable because it gives a voice to children. The illustrations are colourful and some figures, like the snow leopard, are very imaginative and almost abstract. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 192
Keväällä isä sai siivet
(The father got wings in the spring)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2000. 261 p.
Father - Disappearance - Penal colony - Magic - Good - Evil
This fantasy novel by the young writer Tomi Kontio was praised as a Finnish counterpart to »Harry Potter«. In the beginning, an earthquake shatters the quiet family life, and the twin-boys Tomi and Timo lose their father. He escapes through their well to another world. Soon, their mother and sister also disappear. The two orphaned boys manage to escape but are taken to a penal colony. The writer explores the questions of freedom, desire and individuality. The plot unfolds against the struggle of Good and Evil. Kontio's metaphoric language is visual and fresh, holding the reader in suspense. (12+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 2000)
Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 193
Kunnas, Kirsi (text)
Louhi, Kristiina (illus.)
(The purse of Tiitiäinen)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2000. 105 p.
Alphabet - Nature - Travelling
Kirsi Kunnas has started the children's nursery ryhme tradition in Finland. She is a popular poet ever since her first title »Tiitiäisen satupuu« (The fairy tale tree of Tiitiäinen), which started the series of children lyrics, published in 1956. Kunnas has received several prizes for her life's work. First and foremost, she is a virtuoso of children's lyrics, but she has also written for adults. In this title, the poems go hand in hand with the alphabet. In the fantastic world of the poems, life and nature are present as well as joy and sadness. Motifs ranging from the fable tradition, the circus, travelling to surfing on the internet make the book both traditional and fresh. The illustrator, inspired by the poems, has added her own humorous touch. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 194
Hugo Simbergs värld : 1873 Fredrikshamn - 1917 Etseri
(Hugo Simberg's world)
[Helsinki] : Statens Konstmuseum, 2000. 39 p.
(Valtion Taidemuseo <Helsinki>: Museopedagogisen yksikön julkaisuja ; 16)
Simberg, Hugo - Finland - Visual Arts
This volume was conceived as a companion to the big retrospective exhibition of Hugo Simberg's work (1873-1917) in spring 2000 at the Atheneum in Helsinki. It features some of his naive, grotesque miniatures. The selection will certainly raise the interest of children: »The Sleeping King of Dwarfs«, »The Old Woman and the She-Devil with Twins«, »Devil with Cauldron« and others, amongst them the most famous and mysterious painting: »The Wounded Angel«. Each painting comes along with short, explanatory annotations. Children are at leisure to contemplate the paintings in the book. They will be drawn in by their peculiar atmosphere so excitingly different from today's common everyday surroundings. This little book familiarises children with Simberg's œuvre in an especially welcoming way. Furthermore, it will give the opportunity to get acquainted with one of the most remarkable artists from the productive period of Finnish painting between 1850-1920. (8+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 195
Majaluoma, Markus (text/illus.)
Sairaan siisti kipsi
(The sick and tidy plaster cast)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2000.  p.
Hospital - Fear - Adventure
This picture book is based on children's experiences in hospital. The aim of the story is to familiarise children with the strange and often frightening atmosphere of hospitals by letting them follow a cat's first visit to hospital. The poor cat had broken his foot in a bike accident. He has to cope with the fears and pains all by himself. Finally, he overcomes his fears by going on adventures in his dreams. Markus Majaluoma has told and illustrated this story about the powers of the imagination with skill and humour. The illustrations feature a light and harmonious palette of colours. His grotesque caricatures of cats and of the hopital staff are graphically fascinating – not only in comparison with Finnish children's book. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2001 - 196
Surojegin, Pirkko-Liisa (ed./illus.)
Suomen lasten hölmöläissadut
(Finnish children's folktales of foolish people)
Helsingissä : Otava, 2000. 138 p.
Finland/Folktales Finland/Folklore - Foolish people
This collection of Finnish folktales offers a new perspective on the tradition of folklore. Pirkko- Liisa Surojegin's caricaturesque illustrations succeed in rendering the life of the peasantry. The poor are represented as a somewhat stupid, but happy, warm-hearted and hardworking lot. The humorous tales come from the tradition of oral storytelling. They stage the peasants' attempts to improve their working skills. Of course, they fail most of the time, but the peasants are endowed with an innate ability to make the best of things – even unfortunate events are turned into positive experiences. The illustrator has created characters of old Finnish peasants, animals and rural life with great skill. (12+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 184
Helakisa, Kaarina (text)
Hieta, Heli (illus.)
Mies joka halusi nähdä koko maailman
(The man who wanted to see the whole world)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001.  p.
Life – Dream – World trip
With this interpretation of a story from Kaarina Helakisa's fairtyale collection »Lasilinna« (»The castle of glass«, 1986), young illustrator Heli Hieta gives a new view of travelling. A very curious man dreams of seeing the whole world. He finds out all schedules and makes plans, but after a while he worries that he might never have enough time to visit all the places he wants to go to. At first, the globe he sees in his dreams seems huge, but little by little it gets smaller. And so do his dreams. In the end, he realises that he does not need to travel to all the places to notice that there is a difference between his dreams and reality. Hieta's surrealistic and harmonious colour illustrations leave room for the imagination. They also entice readers to think about life and time. (7+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 185
Juvonen, Riikka (text/illus.)
(The singing wolf)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2001.  p.
Outsider – Tolerance
Author and illustrator Riikka Juvonen has a long career in children's literature. Her new picture book tells the story of the wolf cub Kultasilmä (Golden Eye), who tries hard to learn to howl like the other wolves. Yet, to everybody's astonishment and dismay, he sings like a bird. This extraordinary quality makes him an outsider. He is driven away to the cold forest where he learns to perform magical tricks. Very soon, he is accepted back to the pack and becomes the hero of the forest. Juvonen deals with problematic topics, such as difference and tolerance, and shows how everybody's life may be enriched and full of happiness. The accompanying illustrations are sensitive and show a lot of sympathy for the lively characters who have strong personalities. (4+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 186
Kokko, Yrjö (text)
Segercrantz, Kristina (illus.)
Pessi ja Illusia : satu
(Pessi and Illusia <Proper names>)
Porvoo : Söderström, 2001. 240 p.
The Good – The Evil – Friendship – Love – Tolerance
This fantasy novel, which describes the friendship and love between a troll and an elf, was written while the author was on the frontline in 1944. It can be read as an allegory of war. War problems are mirrored in the relationship between pessimis- tic troll Pessi and optimistic elf Illusia, who comes from the land of the rainbow. The central topic is the relationship between nature and humans, as well as that between children and the war. This newly-illustrated edition raises the problem of the dialectic of Good and Evil, of weak and strong, by resorting to the law of nature, where the stronger beings always dominate the weak ones. This problem is still of importance today and will continue to be so. Illustrator Kristina Segercrantz lends a personal touch and spirit to the story and its characters. (10+) ☆
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 187
(The adventurer of the desert)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2001. 100 p.
Wallin, Georg August – Arabia/1843 – Expedition
In this youth novel, children read about the voyage of Finnish explorer Georg August Wallin (1811- 1853), who was world-famous for his expeditions to the Arab countries. Wallin, an anthropologist and scientist, collected the knowledge of the Arabic life, language, and culture. This novel employs a mixture of facts and fiction to recall the first dangerous voyage Wallin embarked on in 1843. Mikkanen's exotic and exciting story describes the valuable hand-made old book that Wallin searches for and wants to bring home with him. To carry out his plan, he joins a caravan and rides through the desert. During the hard and dangerous voyage the explorer suffers under the heat and survives several robberies. (8+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 188
Poutanen, Kira (text)
(The wonderful sea)
Helsinki : Otava, 2001. 185 p.
This first book by Kira Poutanen, a young Finnish actress and translator living in Paris, deals with the difficult topic of anorexia. Julia, an anorectic teenager, simply wants to be perfect. She competes with her classmates for the greatest success at school and hides her femininity inside a painfully skinny body. Exhausting exercises and gymnastics are part of her everyday routine. By meticulously observing her own body and closely controlling the amount of food she eats, Julia is inevitably drawn into the dangerous spheres of her illness. Poutanen describes Julia's inner world and thoughts in the form of a diary written in a deeply metaphorical language. (13+)
(Finland Junior Prize ; 2001)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2002 - 189
Timonen, Eija (text)
Kurkinen, Maileena (illus.)
Riimurasia : tarinoita noidista, peikoista ja muista oudista olioista
(The box of stories : tales about witches, trolls, and other strange creatures)
Helsinki : Suomalaisen Kirjallisuuden Seura, 2001. 111 p.
(Totta ja tarua)
Eija Timonen has collected and rewritten a number of Finnish folktales, in particular tales concerning popular beliefs. This box of tales contains exciting stories about strange creatures, such as trolls, treasure- seekers, ghosts, witches, and giants. These characters are typical stereotypes appearing in many Finnish tales of belief. A particularly common motif among these tales is that of the »switched baby« when a child is stolen by a troll, who in return leaves his own child with the human family. The colourful illlustrations by Maileena Kurkinen are filled with warmth and grotesque humour. (7+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 186
(The chain of the feather)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2002. 240 p.
Girl – Hawk – Adventure
Hannele Huovi has had a great career as a writer for children and young adults. In this teenage novel, which was awarded the Topelius Prize and is also interesting for adults, Huovi tells a mythical adventure in which shamanism plays an important role. A young girl possesses some strange power over birds. One day, she touches a hawk who gets extremely angry with her. The bird pecks the girl’s eyes out and she turns blind. As punishment, the two are tied together with the »chain of the feather«. Their adventures start when they set out to find a witch who will be able to break the chain. This exciting and adventurous tale is written in a highly symbolical and touching language. (14+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 187
Kunnas, Mauri (text/illus.)
Kunnas, Tarja (text/illus.)
Seitsemän koira veljestä : koiramainen versio Aleksis Kiven romaanista »Seitsemän veljestä«
(Seven dog brothers)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 93 p.
Kivi, Aleksis / Seitsemän veljestä – Parody – Siblings – Escape from civilisation – Character development
Mauri Kunnas is one of the most inventive caricaturists in Finland; his picture stories for children are a treasure trove of ideas and, slowly but surely, they are also gaining popularity outside Finnish borders (in Germany and Japan, for example). His parodies of classic stories provide the illustrator with topics from which he can create new ideas. Moreover, the popularity of the classics also enables him to entertain child and adult readers alike with allusions and features they might recognise from the originals. Transferring Aleksis Kivi’s work Seitsemän veljestä (Seven brothers) into an anthropomorphised dog-world, yet maintaining the basic elements of the novel’s plot, he introduces his readers to this famous first work of Finnish national literature in an easily accessible but by no means superficial way. Moreover, paper and printing quality of this book are exquisite. (10+) ☼
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 188
Mäkinen, Kirsti (adapt.)
Surojegin, Pikko-Liisa (illus.)
Suomen lasten Kalevala
(The Kalevala [= Finnish national epic] for Finnish children)
Helsinki : Otava, 2002. 183 p.
Elias Lönnrot / Kalevala – Adaptation
With the prose retelling for children of the Finnish national epic, the publishers present a particularly generously and carefully printed book, which everybody will enjoy taking in their hands. Quotations from the original rhymed text by Elias Lönnrot are scattered among the chapters, so that the poetic style of the original epic can be recognised. The illustrations, some rendered as modest marginal drawings and others spread over two pages, are drawn in black and white or in subdued colours. They are close in style to naturalistic paintings and mainly underline the elegant aura of this book. (10+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 189
Ei ole minulle suvannot! : romaani Aino Kallaksen nuoruudesta
(There is no still water for me!)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2002. 269 p.
Kallas, Aino / Biography
This historico-cultural book tells about the youth of famous Finnish writer Aino Kallas (1878-1956) and the Finnish Golden Age during the 19century. Aino was brought up in a family with a lot of books, so that she always knew she wanted to become a well-known writer. This biography focuses on topics such as Aino’s education, her first love, or her graduation party. Since the story is narrated from the point of view of Aino’s nurse, issues of social class seep into the story. Moreover, Mikkanen deals with the ancient questions of whether women have to choose between career and marriage, and whether they are allowed to have a desire for love. The fascinating book is based on Aino Kallas’ diaries and her other works such as her memoirs and letters. (13+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 2002)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 190
Savolainen, Salla (text/illus.)
Kuudennen kerroksen Maikki
(Maikki from the sixth floor)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2002.  p.
Child – Moving house
One of the latest talents on the Finnish illustration scene is Salla Savolainen, whose style strongly resembles the Swedish tradition of humorous illustration. Her funny texts are complemented by equally amusing pictures, and readers can easily identify with the caricatures drawn by the artist. In her latest book, Savolainen tells the story of a little girl, Maikki, who just moved to a new flat. In the new, modern surroundings, life seems suddenly quite different and scary. The characters are depicted in both a realistic and a very humorous way. For this picture book, the artist, who frequently changes her style and techniques, uses watercolours on wood. She admirably succeeds in animating the shades and in creating a sense of harmony and pleasure. (4+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2003 - 191
Vuoristo, Teppo (text)
Mildeberg, Jüri (illus.)
Hemppa ja Eläinten Unioni
(Hemppa and the Animals’ Union)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2002.  p.
ISBN 951-627-415-3. – 951-96773-6-4
Animals / Humans – Friendship – European Union
This artistic picture book for teenagers deals with motifs such as friendship and the relationship between animals and human beings. The animals at the zoo have founded a union and Hemppa, the gorilla, is its newest member. He is very flexible and can easily change his identity if necessary. Since the zoo is currently being renovated, the union members want to achieve an improvement of the animals’ living conditions. Vuoristo tells an allegoric story about the European Union set in an animal community. Estonian artist Mildeberg’s illustrations are drawn in a surrealistic and naïve style in harmonious colours. The illustrator’s simple human characters bear a close resemblance to traditional Russian works of art. (13+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 176
Luostarin Piritta : Nuortenromaani vuoden 1462 Naantalista
(The nun Piritta)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2003. 205 p.
Bridget of Sweden <Saint> – Mystic – Middle Ages – Convent – Faithfulness – Friendship
Maijaliisa Dieckmann has a long career as a writer of historical fiction for children and young adults. This book is published on the occasion of Saint Bridget of Sweden’s 700birthday and describes the Middle Ages and the life in a Brigittine convent from two people’s points of view: Saint Bridget, the patron saint, and the young nun-to-be Piritta who was named after the paragon. In the 15century, living in a convent was the only possibility for a young girl to learn how to read and write. Piritta becomes friends with Katariina who is hiding in the convent and comes from a tragic background. The book, written with great sensitivity and an aesthetic touch, deals with motifs such as moral, honour, and a sense of duty. (12+)
(Topelius Award; 2003)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 177
Havukeinen, Aino (text/illus.)
Toivonen, Sami (text/illus.)
Tatu ja Patu Helsingissä
(Tatu and Patu in Helsinki)
Helsinki : Otava, 2003.  p.
Helsinki – Guided tour
Together, Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen have written and illustrated several books for children. Their literary heroes Tatu and Patu, two boisterous brothers, are familiar to many Finnish children. Since they usually behave in fairly unexpected ways and act differently from other people, the boys’ home is called »Outola« (a place for strangers). In this volume, Tatu and Patu visit their cousin Jori in Helsinki. The visit is full of funny events and at the same time, the book is a guide to all the famous places in Helsinki that might interest children. The colourful, cartoon-like illustrations, with plenty of funny details to discover, perfectly complement the vibrant text. Text and illustrations work well together to form a very amusing picture book. (8+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 178
Huovi, Hannele (text)
Neuvonen, Kirsi (illus.)
Gepardi katsoo peiliin : faabeleita
(The cheetah looking at the mirror : fables)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2003. 110 p.
Hannele Huovi, a great writer for children and young adults, is internationally renowned. Her latest book was on the shortlist for the Finlandia Junior Award. Huovi presents fabulous modern adaptations of fables with a wise and humorous touch. The animals live their lives just like human beings do and deal with the same (postmodern) questions such as: »Who am I?« or: »Where do I come from?« Huovi handles the protagonists’ search for identity and the relationship between animals and human beings very carefully. Kirsi Neuvonen’s etchings add an exotic touch to the stories. These tales are a wonderful read for young adults. (14+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 179
Kallio, Lisa (text/illus.)
(A flying house)
Helsinki : Lasten Parhaat Kirjat, 2003. 28 p.
Multiculturality – Friendship – Adventure
This picture book tells the story of Riku, whose family moves into a new house. The boy’s deep sadness about losing his best friend results in an unusual ability: He can make the house fly all the way back to his former home where he meets a boy who is in a same situation: Hamid desperately misses his home village in a far-away country. Consequently, the two boys combine their powers and travel to the moon with the flying house. The book sensitively describes a child’s grief about leaving his best friend and his familiar surroundings behind but also shows how children can cope with these problems. The warm, colourful illustrations aptly interpret the text and radiate with a tender atmosphere created by the play with lights and shadows. (6+) ☆
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 180
Laajarinne, Jukka (text)
Ruokonen, Martti (illus.)
Madonluvut : matemaattisia seikkailuja sekoiluja
(Maths from the far side : fun with mathematics)
Helsinki : Werner Söderström OY, 2003. 153 p.
This non-fiction book about maths is brimming with funny examples and crazy ideas. Instead of tackling mathematical problems in a conventional way, the author turns them into entertaining stories that are full of witty humour and contain frequent allusions to classical children’s literature. Illustrator Martti Ruokonen offers bold and brightly coloured anarchistic interpretations of the text. His illustrations perfectly match Jukka Laajarinne’s wild humour and support her modern, innovative way of dealing with mathematical problems. This book provides ample proof that learning mathematics and solving tricky problems can be a lot of fun. (9+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 181
Parland, Stella (text)
Bondestam, Linda (illus.)
Katastrofer och strofer om slummer och stoj
(Catastrophes and verses about slumber and noise)
[Helsingfors] : Söderström, 2003.  p.
In Finland, only very few books can be published for the small Swedish-speaking minority of roughly 300,000 people. Most of the books in Swedish, therefore, are imported from Sweden. This book, one of the few exceptions, creates a crazy graphical spectacle with minimum ado in two colours (red and black against a white background), resorting back to design concepts of the 1950s. The poems presented here offer whimsical elements that have their origin in English children’s rhymes and Lennart Hellsing’s comic style; nevertheless, they are original enough to exist on their own – and lend themselves particularly well to reading aloud. (5+)
Special Mention - Finland (Finnish) - 2004 - 182
Syväjärvi, Annastiina (text/illus.)
Siipirikko ei voi lentää
(A broken wing cannot fly)
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2003.  p.
Tampere – Cathedral – Simberg, Hugo / Haavoittunut enkeli – Mural – Angel
In this book, probably the most famous Finnish painting »Haavoittunut enkeli« (The wounded angel) by Hugo Simberg serves as the setting for an adventure. A girl enters the cathedral in Tampere, an Art Nouveau building, discovers the painting, and climbs into it. After a short ‘excursion’ together with the angel, the girl leads the angel back into the painting and leaves the snow-covered cathedral. In her pictures, the artist fulfils the dream of many a child who wishes to overcome the unapproachability inherent in many works of art. When the protagonist touches the angel-girl, who usually looks down with an absent-minded and sad expression, the wounded creature immediately turns into a friendly, cheerful, and attentive child, while the wounds on her wings and the head dressing fade into the background as insignificant accessories. This touching story, which reconciles readers with the inaccessibility of art, is told in picturesque illustrations reminiscent of Finnish paintings around 1900. (5+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2005 - 180
Frangén, Silja (text)
Yrjölä, Leena (illus.)
Isä Jumalan uni
Helsinki : Lasten Keskus, 2003.  p.
Grandfather – Sculptor – Storyteller – Grandson – God – Creation
This picture book presents the story of the creation of the world in an original way. The storyteller is a grandfather – and sculptor – who tells the story to his grandchild. According to the old man, God took a lump of clay and formed it like a sculptor in order to build the unique creature he had imagined in his dreams: a human being. After many unsuccessful attempts during which a lot of other beings are created, God is finally satisfied. In this book, several levels are brought together in a sensitive way: dream and reality, past and present, religion and fiction. They are perfectly complemented by the illustrations rendered in harmonious colours. The fine marks of the illustrator’s pen are often visible in the pictures, an effect that highlights the creation process. (6+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2005 - 181
Jalonen, Riitta (text)
Louhi, Kristiina (illus.)
Tyttö ja naakkapuu
(The girl and the crow tree)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2004. 45 p.
Father – Death – Daughter – Coping with grief
For the little first-person narrator, crows symbolise death. She watches them fly, wondering what might happen to them should they die during their flight. Through the crows’ disappearance, the girl comes to realise what loss means – in her case, the loss of her father. She recalls individual scenes with him and firmly believes that he is protecting her from the heavens above. Although it is very painful, she also tries to get over the loss of objects and habits that used to play an important part in her life, such as the excursions she went on with her father or the family boat they have to sell now. For the girl, trees embody the constant aspects of life, crows the fleeting ones. The thought-provoking text and the subdued chalk drawings may help children cope with death. (8+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2005 - 182
Haloo, kuuleeko kaupunki
(Hello, is the city listening?)
Helsingissä : Otava, 2003. 175 p.
Holidays – Countryside – Friendship – Bullying – Family
In this youth novel, Arja Puikkonen fluently describes the life of 10-year-old Anna. During the holidays, Anna’s parents fly to Italy and dump her daughter at some relatives’ place in the countryside. Therefore, the girl is forced to spend two weeks with her cousin whom she doesn’t like at all – and the rest of this family isn’t exactly very likeable either: The father, for example, considers his son to be terribly weak and is disappointed that he always escapes into a fantasy world. This adventurous and exciting story carefully examines the relationship between a bully and his victim. Written in a smooth and easy-going style, it will certainly whet young children’s appetite for reading. (10+)
(Finlandia Junior Award; 2003)
Finland (Finnish) - 2005 - 183
Rönns, Christel (text/illus.)
Den lilla farbrorn med det långa skägget
(The little uncle with the long beard)
[Helsingfors] : Söderström, 2003.  p.
Swedish text Man – Beard – Adventure
In town, the little man with his long beard is a huge attraction – not so much for his wife though ... He really enjoys his popularity. Yet, when more and more objects vanish in his beard, last of all the cat, his wife finally loses her patience and brutally cuts off his beard. Suddenly, no one in the streets casts a second glance at the old man. But in the end, his wife relents: She takes the cut-off hair, dyes it, spins it, and knits a long cap for him that immediately wins back people’s attention. This unpretentious tale is told in a lovely voice and is illustrated in a modern, witty, caricature-like style with pleasing colours. Once more, this small Finland-based publisher of Swedish literature has proven its outstanding publishing skill. (4+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2006 - 181
Huovi, Hannele (text)
Louhi, Kristiina (illus.)
Maailman paras napa : satuja sinusta
(The best navel in the world : stories about you)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2005. 91 S.
Body parts Anthology
Each of these 20 short tales by the well-known Finnish author is about one particular body part. Still, they are by no means non-fiction accounts but rather fairy-tale-like stories. Thus, a princess is granted new »music-ears« by the ear-maker because her »city-ears« can bear a lot of noise but are hardly able to perceive more delicate sounds such as language or music. A hen that sets off to discover the »navel of the world« is happy to explore its owner’s navel and contentedly returns to laying eggs. These sometimes absurd tales are accompanied by equally fantastic illustrations. The picturesque paintings, depicting people in a slightly child-like style, are a delight to look at, also thanks to the wonderful high-quality print. (8+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2006 - 182
Kivelä, Malin (text)
Bondestam, Linda (illus.)
Den förträfflige herr Glad
(The excellent Mr. Glad)
[Helsinki] : Söderström, 2004.  p.
ISBN 951-52-2202-8 (Swedish text)
Mr. Glad, who is single and a star-enthusiast, is extremely friendly and polite. Even his new neighbour, a truly abominable old bag, does not manage to smother his efforts of spreading harmony even if she does her best to drive him from her door. Thanks to his unremitting eagerness to help and, in particular, because of an invitation to coffee and cake, she eventually gives in. When he bids her good night, Mr. Glad hears nothing but a peaceful snoring from her side of the bed. This book is a truly delighting read, not (only) because it deals with the way in which psychological obstacles can be overcome, but rather because of its extraordinary, vivid graphical interpretation. (6+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2006 - 183
Lindman, Mervi (text/illus.)
Urhea pikku Memmuli
(Brave little Memmuli)
Helsinki : Tammi, 2005.  p.
Child Fear – Nightmare – Shrinking
Little Memmuli wants to be a big girl who is never afraid of anything, but things like jelly, bath foam, or the toilet simply frighten her. One night, the girl has a nightmare: Chased by shadow monsters, she shrinks and stumbles through the city traffic and through a field that seems like a huge jungle to the tiny girl. When she finally wakes from this terrible dream, she confesses that she is afraid. Her mother tries to comfort her daughter by saying that it takes a lot of courage to admit to oneself and to others that you are scared. The caricature-like illustrations keep a perfect balance between a grotesque and a child-like style. The artist’s witty ideas invite readers to study the detailed pictures very carefully. (5+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2006 - 184
Nevanlinna, Tuomas (text)
Melasniemi, Joel (illus.)
Antero joutuu luontoon
(Antero explores nature)
Helsinki : TEOS, 2004. 296 p.
Boy School holidays – Village – Animals – Filming – Friendship
During the school holidays, ten-year-old Antero is sent to the countryside to improve his inadequate knowledge of animals and plants. Despite the culture shock (fish heads in the soup!), the »townie« soon settles in. On his expeditions with his host parents’ daughter, he meets a rabbit, a hedgehog, and a fox who can speak. This idyll is disturbed by a film crew who catch and torture the animals for a nature documentary. When the rabbit is taken to the natural museum, the children embark on an adventurous rescue trip. With a lot of humour, the author presents Antero’s development from an ignorant brat into a curious boy eager to help. Antero’s difficulties to understand people and animals in the countryside because of his city jargon paint a vivid picture of the different ways of life. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2007 - 181
Kunnas, Mauri (text/illus.)
Kunnas, Tarja (text)
(The Vikings are coming!)
Helsingissä : Otava, 2006. 51 p.
This introduction to the culture and history of the Vikings, loosely based on reports from old sagas, is presented in Mauri Kunnas’s characteristic, witty style. Once again, the author chooses dogs as his main protagonists. This time, they pillage an English monastery, cut runes into stones, and discover Greenland and America. To illustrate the term »berserkergang« (incontrollable fury in battle) however, a pig serves as the »victim«. Unlike some other non-fictional comic book adaptations, Kunnas’s books never pretend to offer comprehensive knowledge about a topic. On the contrary, just like the famous Finnish caricaturist’s books about literary classics or historical topics, his new work again whets the readers’ appetite to search for more information elsewhere. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2007 - 182
Pispa, Kaija (text)
Warsta, Elina (illus.)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2006. 111 p.
This collection of poems presents the world from an animal perspective. Imbued with a dose of bizarre humour and funny puns, the book tackles mainly human problems with the help of various animals. A bug, for example, that is fed up with its country life, leaves its family and moves to the city, while a city bug that longs to dwell in the countryside, meets the family left behind by its cousin and lives with them happily ever after. A French cow who feels devastated because of her messy hairstyle is comforted when a Finnish bull simply puts a flower into her hair. The black-andwhite illustrations surrounding the texts in a witty and graphically attractive way perfectly complement the poems’ style. The brightly coloured book cover serves as a wonderful visual contrast. (10+)
Finland (Finnish) - 2007 - 183
Vuori, Suna (text)
Kirkkopelto, Katri (illus.)
Hirmuista koulupäivää, hirviö
(Have a terrible school day, monster!)
Helsinki : Söderström, 2006. 55 p.
Monster – School – First day at school – Fear – Friendship
Little Monster needs to learn how to roar, bare his teeth, and bite. Yet he is terribly afraid of his first day at school because he fears he might get the worst mark in all subjects and not find any friends. In the end, however, it’s no big deal. True, the local monster children are utterly surprised to see that one of their new classmates has neither claws nor horns, but they immediately stop teasing him when they realise he can breathe fire instead. Little Monster befriends this stranger and finally even turns vegetarian like him. The large format of the amusing picture book and the generous design allow the illustrator’s fantastic creatures to spread out and confidently hover above the text. (6+)