The Rasin of the year Award Goes to Juhani Püttsepp and Gundega Muzikante

Written by Kadri Naanu on . Posted in News, News of Centre

Estonian Children’s Literature Centre announced the Raisin of the Year award for the most remarkable children’s book of the year. The jury that consisted of all of the employees of the centre honored Juhani Püttsepp’s book The Moon is Like a Golden Boat (“On kuu kui kuldne laev”). The book is illustrated by the Latvian illustrator Gundega Muzikante and published by Tänapäev. 

The book concentrates on Estonians escaping to Sweden on the autumn of 1944 and the publisher Tauno Vahter says it fills a gap in our children’s literature. “It is an artistic book on a topic that is not yet covered in our children’s literature.” The book caught the jury’s eye with it’s masterful depiction of events that are not often discussed in our children’s books but are important in our history.

The literary researcher and a member of the jury, Jaanika Palm, said that despite the heavy topic, the author always takes it’s young readers into consideration: “Püttsepp has done a lot of research but he never forgets the addressee – a child who lacks in life experience and needs some excitement to drive the plot. This is exactly what makes the book the most remarkable book of the year – the cherry on top,” Palm added.

The author said that the book was inspired by his family story and he wished to write a story commemorating the children who lost their lives on their way to Sweden. “Three of  my great aunts from Mulgimaa (sisters of my grandfather Johannes) attempted to escape to Sweden with their families in 1944. Only one of them, the teacher and writer Keete Aniver, made it, others perished. Reet, Rein, Villu and Riina, the children of my great aunts, also died. The story began with the wish to commemorate their life.”

The author conducted a lot of research before writing. He visited Gotland as a journalist for the newspaper Postimees to look for traces of these historic events. “I saw those beaches and the local islanders that welcomed the Estonian and Latvian refugees. I also looked for boat refugees through the Swedish Estonian newspaper and met a number of people who were kids in 1944.” The author added that he is happy that the award will help to highlight these complicated topics.

The book was illustrated by the beloved Latvian book artist Gundega Muzikante. Her delicate and sensitive drawings make the book a masterpiece. The illustrator’s family also has a connection to boat refugees. Her grandfather Žanis Valdmanis was a sailor that helped refugees from Latvia escape to Sweden in the autumn of 1944. Žanis also escaped with the last voyage he organised leaving behind his wife and kids, one of whom was Gundega’s mother. 

Since 2004, the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre has annually given the Raisin of the Year Award to the most unique or surprising Estonian children’s book published that year. Assessed are the author’s or artist’s work and the book as a whole.

The White Raven kataloogi raamatu

Estonian Children’s Books Among the Best in the World

Written by Kadri Naanu on . Posted in News, News of Centre

The White Raven kataloogi raamatuThe International Youth Library released The White Ravens 2020 catalogue that contains information about the 200 best children’s books in the world. This year the selection includes books from three Estonian authors: Aidi Vallik, Jaanus Vaiksoo, and Piret Jaaks.

The catalogue is published by the International Youth Library in Munich, Germany. This year it lists books from 56 countries written in 36 languages. From Estonia the selection includes Soapy’s World by Aidi Vallik (illustrated by Lumimari, NPO Lugu-Loo 2019); Mommy’s Dragon by Piret Jaaks (illustrated by Marju Tammik, Päike ja Pilv 2019), and Shoe no 39 by Jaanus Vaiksoo (illustrated by Katrin Kaev, Ärkel). The catalogue helps publishers with trading publishing and translation rights, as well as librarians and other professionals with keeping up to date with most recent international book releases.

Mommy’s Dragon is a heartfelt story about a dragon that lives inside mommy and can be awaken by a cup of cocoa spilled on bedsheets, or a hole cut into mommy’s favourite dress. The author says that the international recognition was a real surprise for her, since it was only her second children’s book. “When I started writing it, I didn’t imagine there are so many dragons that live inside mommies and that so many kids try to understand them. Half of the recognition belongs to the illustrator Marju Tammik who made the mommy, the dragon, and the child come to life,” the author said.

According to the catalogue publishers, the secret to the success of Jaanus Vaiksoo’s Shoe no 39 lies in its multi-layered text full of inexplicable elements and in the relatable protagonist. The author said he carried the idea of the book (a man buys one pair of shoes every single day from a tiny shoe store in Nõmme) with him for a long time. He tried to write a story that is adventurous and fun, and would be nice to read for a 10 to 12-year-olds. He liked working with the characters of the book a lot and they will continue their adventures in the sequel. The recognition by The White Ravens catalogue will definitely add to his writing enthusiasm. “I would like to thank the illustrator Katrin Kaev who put her heart into the visual side of the book,” the writer added.

Soapy’s World by Aidi Vallik deals with a rough topic with elegance. The story is about a girl whose world crumbles with her parents’ divorce but she is able to rebuild it with the help of dreams. “It is the most serious book that I have ever written for kids. It is unique, personal, and dreamy. It really made me wonder how it was going to be received.” This makes the international recognition by “The White Ravens 2020” catalogue all the more important for the author. “I am very grateful for Lumimari who understood the atmosphere of the book very deeply and personally, and created extraordinary illustrations for the book.”

The International Youth Library hopes to display all the books in the catalogue in the Bologna International Children’s Book Fair in 2021.

Access The White Ravens database here: 


Illustration exhibition “The Stroll” by Viive Noor

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The exhibition The Stroll by the illustrator Viive Noor will be open in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre until October 31st, 2020. 

Viive Noor, the curator of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and the internationally renowned illustrator, opened an exhibition in the centre featuring her most recent work. Visitors will see pictures from books published both in Estonia and abroad. Like the title of the exhibition hints, it offers a stroll between works of the last decade that represent different stages of her works. You can view earlier watercolors from Milvi Pangas’s book Where Are You, Santa’s Elf?, as well as prints inspired by fiction. The main focus of the exhibition is on pictures in mixed media that represent the latest creative style of the illustrator. This style is evident in illustrations for Tiia Toomets’s book May Lily and Anemone, for Bianca Maria Tricarico’s Tamburopoli (Drum City) published in Italy, and for Tiziana Bruno’s silent book Princess Lara. 

Ulla Saar, an illustrator and the director of foreign relations in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, said that Noor’s exhibition is as polished as a diamond: “At points it creates a rainbow across the sky, at points the textures and patterns will make your head spin, then again it seems like the crisp Nordic ice that is intersected by darker, deeper, and nocturnal tones. One cannot stop looking at the exhibition. There is something new and exciting to discover each time. It is a celebration within the artist herself.”

Noor has studied fashion design in the State Art Institute of the Estonian SSR (Estonian Academy of Arts). She has said that she started studying art quite naturally even though she dreamed of becoming an explorer as a child. Her dissertation was in graphic art regarding the design and illustration of children’s books. Since university times Noor has persistently illustrated children’s books and her works has been noticed both in Estonia and abroad. She has also tirelessly promoted the art of illustration. She is the organizer of the Tallinn Illustration Triennial (TIT) Power of Pictures and the initiator, organizer and curator of several international traveling exhibitions. 

 Illustration by Viive Noor.

Exhibition “Clay” in the attic gallery of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre

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Exhibition Clay by Studio 14 will be open in the attic gallery of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre until October 24th.  

The exhibition features pottery and ceramics from both Estonian and Russian ceramicist that explore the possibilities provided by the plasticity and versatility of clay as material. Visitors can enjoy original ceramic works from Olga Afonina, Maria Aprasidi, Tiina Kaljuste, Natalya Lapteva, Natalya Lepihhina, Anna Malchenko, Liza Melnik, Aleksandra Shalashova and Dmitri Turbasov.

Dimitri Turbasov describes his relationship with the material on different stages of the creative process: „All of my works represent a dialogue with the material, no matter which one. If you listen to the material the dialogue will run smoothly. When you don’t show it enough respect, it will let you know soon.”

Studio 14 is an International studio that creates puppet art, ceramics, sculpture and graphics and operates in Estonia. The manager of the studio is the curator and art scholar Tatjana Mohryakova.

Estonian illustrators successful at an international competition

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Estonian illustrators were successful at the Annual Contest for Book Illustration and Design “Image of the Book”. The jury recognised the works of Ulla Saar, Kadi Kuremaa, and Kertu Sillaste. The diplomas will be awarded during the Bologna International Book Fair 2021.

Estonian illustrator Ulla Saar was honoured in the laureates list in the category of Illustrations for the Works for Children and Youth. Kadi Kurema and Kertu Sillaste were honoured as laureates in the Original Picture Book category.

The “Image of the Book” contest was founded in 2008 by the Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communications of Russia and the Association of Book Illustrators and Designers of Moscow. In 2017 the competition became international. Since the beginning more than 1000 artists have been acknowledged.

The international jury comprised of publishing experts and illustrators evaluates both published and unpublished illustrations. Laureate titles and diplomas are awarded in nine categories: illustrations or fiction; illustrations for children and youth literature; illustrations for non-fiction; book design; illustrator’s book; new names; electronic book; artist’s book; and “Phenomenon” /Grand Prix. Illustrations to the competition are submitted by professional illustrators, publishers, editorial offices of specialised newspapers and magazines and artistic associations. This year, Viive Noor from the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre participated in the jury work as one of four invited jury members.

Read more from the competition web-page.

Illustration by Ulla Saar. Kairi Look, Pia Biscuit Moves In, 2015, water colour, collage 

Jacqueline Woodsoni raamat The Other Side

The winners of Hans Christian Andersen award announced

Written by Kadri Naanu on . Posted in News, News of Centre, News of IBBY Estonia

Jacqueline Woodsoni raamat The Other SideInternational Board on Books for Young People announced the winners of Hans Christian Andersen award during the virtual Bologna Book Fair. The awards are presented to an author and an illustrator to recognise their lifelong achievement and important contribution to children’s literature.

This year the winners of the award are the children’s writer Jacquelin Woodson of the USA and the Swiss illustrator Albertine.

According to the jury Jacquelin Woodson’s prolific body of writing includes both picture books and young adult literature „all of which feature lyrical language, powerful characters, and an abiding sense of hope“. Illustrator Albertine caught the jury’s eye because she „creates books with multiple levels of interpretation, with drawings made with infinite precision that are lively and full of humour“.

Nominations for the awards are submitted by the national sections of IBBY. This year the jury deliberated the creative bodies of 34 writers and 36 illustrators from 36 countries. IBBY Estonia nominated the illustrator and children’s writer Piret Raud for the award. The winners were chosen by a 10-member jury comprised of experts from all over the world.

The jury also created a list of outstanding books from the 2020 nominees that they felt were important enough to merit translation everywhere.

The Hans Christian Andersen Award is the highest international distinction given to authors and illustrators of children’s books. Given every other year by IBBY, the Hans Christian Andersen Awards recognise lifelong achievement and are given to an author and an illustrator whose complete works have made an important, lasting contribution to children’s literature.

More information on the IBBY web-page.

Bologna Children’s Book Fair launched a virtual edition

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International Bologna Book Fair launched a virtual fair due to global corona virus lock-downs. The four-day virtual fair includes, illustration exhibitions, webinars, book trailers, conferences, award ceremonies and a new blog. 

Bologna Children’s Book Fair is a meeting place for professionals engaged in children’s literature. They meet to trade publishing licenses, find the best new books, network, and exchange ideas about the new trends in the field. This year the fair is hosted online due to world-wide corona virus lock-downs. Registered guests and visitors will get access to an online trading hub BCBF Global Rights Exchange

for publishing rights. Additionally, the fair web-page and social media channels will publish articles, interviews, book trailers etc.

Estonia is represented in the virtual fair by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and the Estonian Publisher’s Association.

The fair was opened by an online conference discussing children’s publishing during the worldwide lockdown and the industry’s prospects in a world marked by the experience of the virus.

See the program on the web-page of the International Bologna Chilren’s Book Fair.

The next fair will be held in Bologna from 12 to 15 April 2021.

Online readings of Estonian children’s books in Finnish

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Many libraries have started to provide online reading out loud sessions for children during the corona virus crisis lock-downs. Our neighbours in Finland can enjoy many stories from Estonian authors translated to Finnish.

Spirited and humorous stories in the book Piia Biscuit Moves In by Kairi Look are available on the Kuopio City Library Youtube channel.

Also the fairy tale lessons of Kallio Library continue online during the virus. And in one of the lessons the beloved Estonian-Finnish author Sofi Oksanen reads and Estonian classic The Egg by Julius Oro

Additionally, the reading of Andrus Kivirähk’s jolly collection of short stories Poo and Spring is available at the theatre lovers Facebook-page Rakastajat-teatteri. And the beloved children’s story by Silvi Väljal called Jussike’s Seven Friends is available for viewers and listeners in part one and part two at the same Facebook-page as well.






Children’s literature centre temporarily closed

Written by Kadri Naanu on . Posted in News, News of Centre

The Estonian Children’s Literature Centre is temporarily closed starting March 16th due to the emergency situation announced by the Estonian government to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Readers will not be able to check out or return books. The return deadline of borrowed books will be extended until the centre is reopened.

Be healthy!

Indrek Koff at the Brussels Book Fair

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Indrek Koff participated in the Brussels Book Fair and conducted a workshop titled From Sound to Image, from Image to a Story on March 8th, 2020.

The author introduced his children’s book Ten Little Butterflies in the workshop. The book was created in an unconventional way. The author wrote his stories based on the drawings of the illustrator Marion Undusk. Therefore, it could be said that these stories illustrate the pictures and not the other way around.

Children could test during the work shop how sounds, pictures, and stories are related to one another. they heard different sounds, draw pictures based on those sounds, and wrote stories to accompany the pictures.

Brussels Book Fair was held from March 5th–8th, 2020. It concentrates on French-speaking expression and brings together publishers from France, Switzerland, Luxembourg, Quebec and Belgium. It also welcomes guests from all over the world.

Photograph: Dimitri Kotjuh