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Piret Raud (1971) is the most successful contemporary Estonian children’s writer and illustrator. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in graphic art, and initially set off on the same path. After trying her hand at writing, Raud has since become the most renowned and widely-translated children’s author in Estonia. She has written 18 titles (five of which were first published in Japan and France), has been translated into 12 different languages, and has illustrated more than 40 titles. Her writing has received spectacular recognition both at home and abroad: the author was included on the 2012 IBBY Honour List, in the 2013 White Ravens catalogue, and was awarded the Estonian Order of the White Star, IV Class in 2016.
I was born in the month of July in 1971 to a family of children’s literature authors in Tallinn, the capital of Estonia. I have spent my entire life in Tallinn. As a child, I played with friends on the narrow streets of Old Town and in the courtyards of its romantic old buildings. I loitered on crumbling stone walls and skulked around dark attics. Later, during my studies at the Estonian Academy of Arts, I went around town with a drawing pad under my arm. I studied printmaking at the Academy. My master’s thesis was done in an old-style copper engraving technique rarely used today. I’ve always been fascinated by the world of black-and-white graphics, by small format and fine details. The connection between graphics and book illustration is so dense that it is no wonder I ultimately became an illustrator.
I illustrated other authors’ books for ten years, until one moment, I decided to try my own hand at writing. I took part in a children’s manuscript competition, and won. The manuscript became a book, which unexpectedly received very good reception. The path towards writing was opened. As of today, I have illustrated somewhere near 40 children’s books and written fifteen. I truly enjoy my work. Room for goodness, for humor and happy endings can be found in children’s books. It is immensely revitalizing and pleasant to spend a little bit of time every day in a friendly world of my own creation.
Piret Raud (1971) is one of the most outstanding authors of modern-day Estonian children’s literature, both in terms of diversity and recognition. The author originates from a highly cultural background, which explains a thing or two: her mother Aino Pervik and father Eno Raud are some of the most renowned and loved fairy-tale authors in Estonian children’s literature. Taking account of Piret’s success foremost in book illustration, one is also reminded of her aunt on her father’s side – Anu Raud, who is a highly esteemed textile artist.
As such, several great talents hovered above Piret’s crib when she was born into this world in 1971. Studies at the Estonian Academy of Art gave her a master’s degree in graphic design. Piret appeared on the Estonian children’s literature scene in 1994 with illustrations for her mother’s Aino’s book Keeruline lugu (A Complicated Story), and her father Eno’s 1997 work Kala kõnnib jala (A Fish Takes a Walk).
By now, we can speak of Piret as a graphic designer for books, a writer, a journalist (she was an editor for children’s magazine Täheke for some time), as well as an art teacher.
As an illustrator, Piret has received an enormous amount of praise both in Estonia and abroad. She has received awards such as certificates for the 25 Best Designed Estonian Books and 5 Best Designed Estonian Children’s Books; has participated in international exhibitions and competitions such as the Baltic States’ Book Art Competition, the Tallinn Illustration Triennial, and the Bologna Book Fair; has been awarded the Estonian National Library’s Golden Book Award, as well as the Estonian Children’s Literature Center’s title of “Raisin of the Year” for Most Interesting Children’s Publication (Härra Linnu lugu, Mr. Bird’s Story, 2009). As Piret has been both a writer and an artist for several of her books, both of those aspects are also blended in a number of the honors she has received.
As a writer, Piret Raud has received the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia on three occasions: for her books Sanna ja salakütid (Sanna and the Poachers, 2005), Printsess Luluu ja härra Kere (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones, 2008) and Lugu Sandrist, Murist, tillukesest emmest ja nähtamatust Akslist (The Story of Sander, Muri, Eensy Mum, and the Invisible Aksel, 2015). Piret Raud has been put onto the IBBY Honour List as the writer of Princess Lulu and Mr. Boney”.
In illustration work, Piret Raud’s style can be characterized via three types: while her earlier works were full-design picture surfaces, a picturesque and occasionally surreal background (A Complicated Story) supporting on carefully-drawn details, the artist has moved forward in a laconic direction. A large number of children’s books have been published with only black-and-white illustrations, such as Ellen Niit’s poetry collection and her mother Aino Pervik’s series “Paula’s Life”. At the same time, those sometimes extremely small black-and-white pictures are drawn with an extremely sharp mind, masterfully, so that every detail is rich in meaning. The synergy of picture and text in the “Paula’s Life” series is characterized as a graphic mini-short-story, so significantly does the picture support and amplify the message of the text. In her current creative phase, Piret prefers to leave color pictures on a white background, allowing the drawing’s playfulness, humor, and fine grotesques to be brought out.
We see a dominance of fairy-tale-type stories in Piret’s writing, yet the true story Tobias ja teine B (Tobias, Second Grade) is also very important alongside that tendency. The miniature multimedia work Emma roosad asjad (Emma Loves Pink) is an utterly unique achievement. Piret Raud’s fantasy deals very clearly with contemporary real-life issues in fairy-tale form: with unemployment, homelessness, uncertainty, the power of money and corruption, etc. Why? The writer has replied: “I suppose that I think about those things myself, and they’re reflected in my books. But I do believe that one can talk to children about such things already at an early age. All of the news and life in the whole world reaches them in the same way as it does adults. So, it’s good if the side of goodness and justice is supported in a book somewhere.”
Even the miniscule fairy tale about Emma’s love for pink things is quite true to life: no matter that Emma only enjoys pink things – a green cabbage brought by her green frog friend changes her outlook!
|The Story of the Little House Who Wanted to Be a Home
Deep in the countryside lives an empty little house. She is lonely and sad, and would dearly like to be someone’s home. One day, she decides to find someone who would like to live in her. Who could it be? A dog? Or a fish? Or a bird? Or maybe even the homeless man Jim? Or will it be someone entirely different?
|All My Relatives
One day, Adam’s teacher gives him an assignment to draw his family tree. The boy starts writing down his relatives and finds that they certainly won’t all fit on the tree – he’ll have to make a hundred-legged octopus with one relative for each leg! He can’t fail to include his Aunt Mari, who treasures curiosities, his Uncle Kaupo, who just won’t give up smoking ...
|Trööömmmpffff, or Eli’s Voice
A little bird named Eli lives on the sandy shore of a big sea. Eli has no voice. When she hears the rustling of tree leaves, the crashing of sea waves, and the pattering of rain, Eli is so sad that she wants to cry. One morning, Eli finds a horn on the beach. When she blows into one end of it, it makes a fantastic loud noise that goes: “Trööömmmpffff!”
|The Story of Sander, Muri, Eensy Mum and the Invisible Aksel
Sander is an ordinary boy who lives with his mother on the first storey of an apartment building near a big park. Like most other boys his age, Sander loves football, chocolate ice cream, and sleeping in on Sundays. Sander’s mum is also as normal as can be – at least up until the day she shrinks to the size of a little Lego-man.
|Emma Loves Pink
This book is dedicated to all little girls who love the colour pink. Emma is a little hare who loves only pink things. She has lots of them: a pink cup, pink hair bands, pink slippers, a pink toothbrush... even a pink mobile phone and an aquarium filled with pink fish. But this is not enough for her.
|Emily and a Whole Bunch of Things
Emily the fish-girl loves odds and ends more than anything else. Every morning after she brushes her teeth, she goes for a stroll across the seabed and looks for things. But one day, Emily finds a letter written by the most important thing of all. It is lost and asks the fish-girl to come and find it. What could be the most important thing of all, and how can she locate it?
|Rosie Wants to Fly
Rosie is an ordinary horse who would like to be like her famous ancestor – Pegasus, who lived in Ancient Greece and could fly. Rosie flaps her legs, jumps off of a chair and a ladder, and ultimately even goes parachuting, but still cannot fly. Mongrel – the kind descendent of the three-headed Greek hellhound Cerberus – comforts Rosie, telling her it isn’t worth taking that ancestor thing so seriously!
|Me, Mum, and Our Friends of all Sorts
Taavi and his mother live alone on the fourth storey of a big apartment building. In addition to his mother, Taavi has a lively sense of imagination, a strong grandmother, and an impressive collection of friends. Take for example Uku, who wants to be a dog when he grows up, and Mia, who has a fly fly into her head...
|Princesses with a Twist
In this book of short stories, Piret Raud has taken on the dream of many little girls: princesses. However, these are no ordinary princesses that live in ordinary castles. Instead, one finds a backwards-princess who does everything the wrong way around, a barking princess who gets bitten by a flea...
This is the story of a married couple living a quarrelsome and lazy life. There is something to argue about every day. One day, a mysterious old man turns up. He gives them three days to come up with three wishes. What to wish for? A cow that gives sweet milk? A tree that bears all the fruits of the world?
|Slightly Silly Stories
The book contains 32 slightly silly stories about all sorts of occurrences. There is a girl who fibs and fibs; a princess who loves killing dragons more than anything else; an obedient soldier who does everything his general commands (until he ultimately ends up on the Moon!); and a carrot that has a strange dream about being a cabbage...
Reading example: English, French
|Tobias, Second Grade
Tobias is in the second grade. Everyone in his class is special. Uku owns a pig named Piggly, and his parents have long hair. Linda practices ballet and knows the meaning of the word “autograph”. Gregor is smart, but he likes to quarrel. Kiril is from Belarus and Pekka is from Finland. Otto loves food and Robert likes cars.
|Mister Bird’s Story
Mister Bird lives in a large forest along with his hardworking friends, who are happy and content with him building nests and singing in the choir. However, Mister Bird finds this kind of life too boring and ordinary, and leaves the forest in order to experience something different.
|Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones
Princess Lulu lives in the royal palace with her mother and father, the Queen and King. One evening, she discovers Mr. Bones – a living skeleton, who lives in the king’s closet and guards a chest containing his secrets. The skeleton dons some of the princess’ clothes and they leave the castle.
|Sanna and the Poachers
Little elephant Sanna lives in Africa. Her father works at a car wash and her mother in a pottery, where she paints wonderful elephants around the rims of plates. Sanna takes ballet and karaoke lessons, learns woodcarving and plays the trumpet. She has too many activities going on and needs to be taken to the countryside to rest.
Ernesto, an unemployed magician, finds work at a rabbit farm. He raises seven rabbits: reading them bedtime stories, performing tricks and dancing. When he finds out that his pets will be used for making coats, he runs away and takes the seven rabbits with him. The rabbits have many things in common with the seven dwarfs.
2014–2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award candidate
2016 Order of the White Star, IV Class
2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award nominee
2015 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (The Story of Sander, Muri, Eensy Mum, and the Invisible Aksel)
2015 Good Children’s Book (The Story of Sander, Muri, Eensy Mum, and the Invisible Aksel)
2015 Lire ici et là (Slightly Silly Stories)
2014 “Järje Hoidja” Award of the Tallinn Central Library (Princesses with a Twist)
2013 The White Ravens (Three Wishes)
2012 IBBY Honour List (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones)
2012 Good Children’s Book (Slightly Silly Stories)
2011 Children and Young Adult Jury (Bērnu un jauniešu žūrija), Latvia, 1st place (Grades 3-4) (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones)
2010 The White Ravens (Mister Bird’s Story)
2010 Good Children’s Book (Tobias, Second Grade)
2009 Estonian Children’s Literature Centre Raisin of the Year Award (Mister Bird’s Story)
2009 Good Children’s Book (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones)
2008 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones)
2005 Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Sanna and the Poachers)
2004 Children’s Story competition “My First Book”, 1st place (Ernesto’s Rabbits)
All My Relatives
French: Une drôle de famille, Rouergue 2018
Emily and a Whole Load of Other Stuff
French: Emily et tout un tas de choses, Rouergue 2015
Emma Loves Pink
Italian: Voglio tutto rosa, Sinnos 2014
Japanese: Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers, 2014
Russian in Estonia: Эрнесто и его кролики, Aleksandra 2012
Me, Mum, and Our Friends of all Sorts
French: Voisins zinzins et autres histoires de mon immeuble, Rouergue 2015
Mister Bird’s Story
Lithuanian: Pono Paukščio istorija, Sofoklis 2013
French: Monsieur Oiseau veut changer de peau, Éditions Le Pommier 2012
Spanish: La curiosa historia del senor Pajaro, Libros del Zorro Rojo 2011
German: Die Geschichte vom Herrn Vogel, Leiv 2010
English in Estonia: Mister Bird’s Story, Tammerraamat 2009
Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones
Italian: La principessa e lo scheletro, Sinnos 2015
Lithuanian: Princesė Lulu ir ponas Skeletonas, Dominicus Lituanus 2015
French: Princesse Lulu et Monsieur Nonosse, Rouergue 2014
Latvian: Princess Skella un Leta kungs, Liels un mazs 2011
Princesses with a Twist
Latvian: Princese pa pastu, Liels un mazs 2016
Albanian: Princeshat e Estonisë, Shkupi 2015
Polish: Księżniczki nieco zakręcone, Finebooks 2015
French: Sa majesté Ver-de-Terre et autres folles princesses, Rouergue 2013
Slightly Silly Stories
Polish: Historie trochę szalone, Finebooks 2015
Russian in Estonia: Чудные истории, Aleksandra 2014
French: Le thé des poisons et autres histoires, Rouergue 2013
The Story of the Little House Who Wanted to Be a Home
French: L’histoire de la petite maison qui recherchait des habitants, Rouergue 2017
The Story of Sander, Muri, Eensy Mum, and the Invisible Aksel
Italian: Micromamma, Sinnos 2018
French: Au secours! Maman rétrécit, Rouergue 2017
Japanese: みっつのねがい, Fukuinkan Shoten Publishers 2012
Tobias, Second Grade
Hungarian: Tóbiás és a 2/b, Pongrác Kiadó 2014
Latvian: Berts un otrā B, Liels un mazs 2013
Trööömmmpffff, or Eli’s Voice
French: Trööömmmpffff ou la voix d’Elie, Rouergue 2016
French: L’histoire de la petite maison qui recherchait des habitants, Rouergue 2017
Kõik minu sugulased (All My Relatives), Tänapäev 2017, illustrated by the author, 116 pp
L’histoire de la petite maison qui recherchait des habitants, Rouergue 2017, illustrated by the author, 32 pp
Trööömmmpffff ehk Eli hääl (Trööömmmpffff, or Eli’s Voice), Tänapäev 2016 / Trööömmmpffff ou la voix d’Elie, Rouergue 2016, illustrated by the author, 36 pp
Emili ja oi kui palju asju (Emily and a Whole Bunch of Things), Tänapäev 2015 / Emily et tout un tas de choses , Rouergue 2015, illustrated by the author, 40 pp
Kõik võiks olla roosa! (Everything Could Be Pink!), revised edition of “Emma Loves Pink”, Tammerraamat 2015, illustrated by the author, 48 pp
Lugu Sandrist, Murist, tillukesest emmest ja nähtamatust Akslist (The Story of Sander, Muri, the Eensy Mum, and the Invisible Aksel), Tänapäev 2015, illustrated by the author, 100 pp
Mina, emme ja meie igasugused sõbrad (Me, Mum, and Our Friends of All Sorts), Tänapäev 2014, illustrated by the author, 99 pp
Roosi tahab lennata (Rosie Wants to Fly), Mustvalge Kirjastus 2013, illustrated by the author, 30 pp
Teistmoodi printsessilood (Princesses with a Twist), Tänapäev 2013, 2015, illustrated by the author, 106 pp
Three Wishes, Fukuinkan Shoten 2012 / Kolm soovi, Tänapäev 2012, illustrated by the author, 32 pp
Natuke napakad lood (Slightly Silly Stories), Tänapäev 2012, 2016, illustrated by the author, 100 pp
Emma roosad asjad (Emma Loves Pink), Tammerraamat 2010, illustrated by the author, 56 pp, + digital book in English, Japanese and Estonian for iPad, iPhone and iPod Touch, WingedChariot, 2010
Tobias ja teine B (Tobias, Second Grade), Mustvalge 2010, illustrated by Hillar Mets, 109 pp
Härra Linnu lugu (Mister Bird’s Story), Tammerraamat 2009, illustrated by the author, 39 pp
Printsess Luluu ja härra Kere (Princess Lulu and Mr. Bones), Tänapäev 2008, 2011, 2014, illustrated by the author, 208 pp
Sanna ja salakütid (Sanna and the Poachers), Tänapäev 2005, 2017, illustrated by the author, 205 pp
Ernesto küülikud (Ernesto’s Rabbits), Tänapäev 2004, rev. ed. 2010, 2012, 2017, illustrated by the author, 158 pp
Kataleena isemoodi juuksed (Kataleena’s Peculiar Hair), Sinisukk, 1995