|Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen has talked to author Maria
Vuorio (1954-), who was awarded the Ministry of Education Finland Prize
this autumn. The previous children’s writer to win the award was Tove Jansson
in 1993. Maria Vuorio has written 20 books for children and young adults
including novels, fairy tales, picture books, short stories and poems.
According to Heikkilä-Halttunen, Vuorio questions platitudes and captures
the feelings of children and teenagers movingly and impressionistically.
Irma Rissanen writes about the new Winnie-the-Pooh –book called Return to the Hundred Acre Wood written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess. In the article, Benedictus explains the origins of the sequel and Rissanen reviews the book as ”almost Milne. Almost.”
Lately, when there is less room for traditional culture journalism in the daily press, the critical discussion and reviewing of literature has moved onto the internet. Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen takes a closer look at blogs, home pages, columns and forums for reviews that target literature for children and young adults.
Noora Miettinen explores picture books that visually impaired children experience through touch rather than sight. Such books have been produced in Finland for about 25 years. Irmeli Holstein, who is a librarian at the specialist library Celia, says that: ”these books are as important for the visually impaired as regular picture books are for children who can see”. Yet, there is a constant lack of these kinds of books.
Mari Taneli investigates easy reader books and especially easy reader adaptations. Although Finns do well in literacy tests, 4-7 % needs books that are easy to read. The first Finnish easy reader textbooks were published in 1979, whereas the publication of easy reader fiction took off in the mid 1980s. There at, at present, about 250 easy reader books for children and adults, but in Taneli’s opinion the books adapted seem to be chosen rather randomly.
Susanna Ylönen writes about Heinrich Hoffmann’s Shock-Headed Peter (Der Struwwelpeter, 1844), which is not only a book about unruly children but also an “unruly book”. Its moral, tragic and cruel stories are presented humorously and cheerfully. The naughtiness and hyperbolic jokes concern both child and adult characters and the work is deliberately satirical. Hoffmann was dissatisfied with the children’s books available at the time and created his own stories in opposition to the prevailing tradition.
Marja Salonen explores Raul Roine’s and Rudolf Koivu’s cartoon Esko ja Osku, which was published in the magazine Säästäjä in 1939. The comic strip features dream adventures travelling to e.g. Italy, Japan, Africa and the moon. Salonen studies the illustrations from a psychoanalytical angle. She also identifies influences from Japonism at the turn of the century, as well as from films Koivu saw and impressions he got from his trips to Italy.
Award news: Lauri Törhönen has received the Topelius-award
for his young adult novel Sello ja pallo (Tammi 2009) and Anna-Mari
Kaskinen the Lydecken-award for her children’s book Tuulihattu ja tuhat
tarinaa (Kirjapaja 2009). Päivi Alasalmi has received the Kaarlen
päivän-award for her collection of fairy tales Turhamainen
aasi (Gummerus 2009) and Jukka Itkonen the Savonia-award for his collection
of poetry Laululinnun saarella (Kirjapaja 2009).
Translation: Maria Lassén-Seger