Kairi Look at the literature night in Paris

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

The children’s author Kairi Look took part of the literature festival La nuit de la littérature on May 25th 2019. The author introduced the French translation of her book The Airport Bugs Fight On that was published this spring. 

The literature night was held in Paris for the 7th time. Visitors were able to meet many foreign authors who presented their writing in several locations in the Montmartre district. All the foreign authors were accompanied by a comic or a translator and together they read passages from the author’s books on every hour.

Kairi Look performed in the book store Librairie Les Trois Soeurs and read passages from her book with the translator Vincent Dautancourt. They read texts both in French and Estonian. The French translation of the book The Airport Bugs Fight On was published on the spring of 2019 by the publishing house Éditions le Verger des Hespérides.

Read more: Les Punaises de l’aéroport font de la résistance

Estonian illustrators at the Pop Up festival (UK)

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

Estonian illustrators Ulla Saar and Kertu Sillaste will participate in the children’s literature festival Pop Up in the UK in June 10–11. Artists and illustrators will conduct workshops for students from 3rd to the 6th grade. 

Kertu Sillaste will introduce her book I am an Artist. The book caught the eye of the festival organizers who liked the concept. Sillaste will conduct workshops based on the Estonian version of the book, as it has not been published in English. The festival will provide all the participating classes with 15 copies of the book.

The workshops will be held in the Waddesdon manor in Buckinghamshire on June 11th at 10:00–11:30 and 12:30–2:00. It is an ideal environment for making art as the manor also hosts an art collection. Additionally, the festival artists will be featured in the Pop Up Magazine. The target audience of the magazine is school children and libraries and it has more that 12 000 readers.

Ulla Saar will hold two workshops for 60 students from 3rd to 6th grade on June 10th, 2019. The workshops will be held in the St Andrew’s Church of England Primary School. Saar will introduce the book Everyone is the Smartest written by the poet Contra and featuring her illustrations. The book was published in English last year by the Emma Press. The festival will provide workshop participants with copies of the book.

Pop Up festival is a celebration that inspires children across the UK to read for pleasure and engage in creative writing and visual storytelling. Students from primary, secondary and SEND schools will meet many authors and illustrators. Young readers will read books by more than a hundred writers and illustrators. In June, they will participate in workshops by those authors and illustrators delivered in many in local libraries, museums and galleries.

Participation in the Pop Up festival is a continuation to the international illustrator exchange project Pop Up Baltic Exchange held during 2017–2018.

Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh and private collection

Literature festival HeadRead 2019 at the children’s literature centre

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Tallinn Literature Festival HeadRead 2019 will take place May 22–26. The children’s program of the festival will be held at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre.

Thursday, May 23

10.00–11.00 Kertu Sillaste (hall)
10.00–11.00 Kristi Kangilaski and Els Heinsalu (attic)
12.00–13.00 Andrus Kivirähk, the author will be interviewed by Anne Kõrge (hall)
14.00–15.00 Jaanus Vaiksoo and Wimberg (hall)
16.00–17.00 Briti story teller Nikky Smedley (in English; attic)

Friday, May 24

10.00–11.00 Axel Scheffler, the German illustrator will be interviewed by Leelo Märjamaa (in English; hall)
12.00–13.00 Toon Tellegen, the Dutch children’s author will be interviewed by Kadri Naanu (in English; hall)

Saturday, May 25
Children’s books exchange fair

12.00–13.00 story teller Polina Cherkassova, who mixes stories from different cultures with her music.
13.30–14.00 violin group Mosaiik comprising of children that have learned the instrument via the Suzuki method.
14.00–15.00 workshop by the children’s book illustrator Katrin Ehrlichi

Kids can play, sing and have fun with Pippi Longstocking.

Additional information from the web-page of the HeadRead festival.


Axel Scheffler’s solo exhibition in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre

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The solo exhibition of the German illustrator Axel Scheffler is open in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre from May 8th until June 7th 2019. The illustrator will also attend the literature festival HeadRead 2019 and perform in the literature center’s balcony hall on May 24th.

Axel Scheffler’s is unique style as well as his warm and funny pictures are known across the world. The illustrator was born in 1957 in Hamburg, Germany where he spent his childhood. In 1982 he moved to Great Britain and started art studies in the Bath Academy of Art in Corsham. After graduating he became a freelance illustrator and started working for various newspapers. First book with Axel’s illustrations – Helen Cresswell’s The Piemakers – was published in 1988.

The artist’s long time partnership with the author and poet Julia Donaldson started in 1992 when their first picture book A Squash and a Squeeze was published. Since then they have published more than twenty picture books together. Most famous of them is The Gruffalo that celebrates the 20th anniversary since its publication this year. The Gruffalo won Nestlé Smarties Book Prize the same year it was first published, it has been translated to 76 languages and sold more than 13.5 million copies. There have been seven picture books and four paper books for toddlers from the authors’ duo published in Estonian.

Axel has illustrated more than a 100 books and collaborated with British, German and Dutch authors including Jon Blake, Paul Shipton, David Henry Wilson, Uwe Timm, Paul van Loon and Toon Tellegen. Additionally, he has designed British post marks and taken part in many charity projects (The Gruffalo also marched in the demonstration against Brexit). His Works have been showcased in international exhibitions, he has won many prizes and been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award.

Axel and his family live in London.


Additional information:

Viive Noor
Art Expert of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
+372 5557 9930

Viive Noor received an honorary mention in the Sharjah Illustrations Exhibition

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The Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival was held in the United Arab Emirates on 17–27 April. The festival hosted an international illustration exhibition that honored the best artists and the Estonian illustrator Viive Noor received an honorary mention.

The Sharjah Children’s Reading Festival was held for the 11th time and it holds the art of illustration in high regard. The festival hosts the international Sharjah Children’s Book Illustrations Exhibition since 2012. This year the exhibition featured works of 320 artists from 55 countries.

The winners of the exhibition were honored by His Highness Sheikh Dr Sultan bin Muhammad Al Qasimi. The 8th edition’s winners include Yan Frankel from Argentina, Masanobu Sato from Japan, and Mohammad Barrangi from the UK/Iran, who won the first, second and third prizes, respectively. Honorable mention were offered to Viive Noor from Estonia, and Fatima Kawtharani from Lebanon.

The festival is organised by Sharjah Book Authority and it aims to make reading more appealing for children, young adults and their parents. Last year the festival received more than 306 000 visitors.

The theme of this year’s the festival was ‘Explore Knowledge’. It hosted 198 guests from 56 countries, who lead thousands of cultural and fun activities to inspire kids to spend time with books. Visitors also had the change to participate in illustrations workshops conducted by Viive Noor.

Nino Chakvetadze’s exhibition in the Children’s Literature Centre

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An exhibition of an internationally known Georgian painter and illustrator Nino Chakvetadze was opened in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre on April 10th, 2019. The opening was attended by the artist and her family, as well as the Ambassador of Georgia in Estonia. The exhibition is open until May 10th, 2019.

Nino Chakvetadze’s style is warm and emotional and the subjects of her paintings are often children. She draws inspiration from everyday moments and her paintings depict love, friendship, human relationships, and peace. According to the artist, she found her particular style in 2010 and her nostalgic paintings are based on memories that are relatable for many viewers.

The artist describes her paintings on the web-page Georgian Journal as follows: “I think my paintings are easy to understand in comparison with abstract drawings. I draw inspiration from ordinary moments of life. They may remind many people of some events and moments from their past, that’s why the audience perceives it with such emotion. I always try to put some deep meaning in my works.“

Viive Noor, the curator of the exhibition and the art expert of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre has said that people sometimes ask her why the children in Chakvetadze’s work look so sad: “I find it an odd question that shows the lack of empathy from the people who cannot see below the surface. A child does not have to grin on the picture like they would in a toothpaste commercial. And a person that does not laugh is not always sad. A child can look at the world and think about life in depth. A child can have a complex inner life. In my opinion, that’s what the children in Chakvetadze’s paintings are like  – thoughtful, preoccupied, sensitive, and attempting to understand the world.” Noor finds that the artist’s paintings touch people perhaps for the reason that they depict a deeper wisdom, and nuanced emotions, that may go unrecognized in everyday life, but are still within all of us.

Chakvetadze’s work is popular in her native land of Georgia where she has had more than 18 exhibitions. Additionally, her work has been exhibited in Lithuania and Germany. The artist visited Estonia last in 2017. She held a street exhibition of her work in Löwenruh park and performed in Rahva Raamat book store.

Nino Chakvetadze was born in Tbilisi. She has studied in the Nikoladze Art Institute and (1986–1990) and Tbilisi National Art Academy (1990–1996). She is the member of Georgian Painters Union since 1997. Chakvetadze’s art has been used by therapists and teachers who let children tell stories based on her pictures.

The exhibition is organized by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and Georgian Embassy in Estonia.

Viive Noor
Curator, the art expert of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
+372 5557 9930

Estonians featured in the Clarivoyants 2018 exhibition

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An exhibition featuring the most exciting works from the international childrens’s books projects competition Crairvoyants 2018 will open in the Galery Milano in Warsaw. The selection includes works from Estonian based Liis Sein, Eike-Ülesoo-Tikman and Julia Valtanen. The exhibition is open from May 23rd until June 3rd, 2019.

Clairvoyants is an international competition for an illustrated children’s book project in Polish or in English language. The competition is held by the Dwie Siostry publishing house and it aims to creat beautiful and valuable books for children and to discover talented artists. The competition work must include a plan or a script of the book accompanied by a summary in English and example illustrations. The competition gives the participants a chance to become known on the Polish and international book market.

530 projects were submitted to the competition and the jury selected the main prize and 3 honorary mentions. Additionally, they pointed out 40 most interesting works that will be featured in an exhibition that opens at the end of May in Warsaw. 35 countries were represented in the competition and the jury selected two projects from Estonia to the exhibition.

The exhibition features the project “Paper Boat” written by Liis Sein, illustrated by Eike Ülesoo-Tikman, and translated by Sławomira Borowska-Peterson, as well as the project “Vilo and the Music Tree” by Julia Valtanen.

The international jury included Rotraut Susanne Berner, Bernardo P. Carvalho, Anna Maria Czernow and Piotr Karski.

See also the list of the projects chosen for the exhibition and photographs of the jury work.

Illustration: Eike Ülesoo-Tikman

Exhibition “Once upon a time” opened in Opole City Library

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On 2nd April the exhibition “Once upon a time” was opened in the Opole City Library in Poland. The exhibition is a part of the 16th Children and Youth Literature Days “Power of Fairy Tales” (Moc baśni) and it features illustrations of Grimm brothers’ fairy tales by 20 Estonian artists

Viive Noor, the art expert of the Estonian Children’s Literature Center said that the artists have chosen to illustrate fairy tales that are most dear to them and everyone will find something interesting at the exhibition: “There are works that are addressed to kids and works addressed to adults. As with fairy tales in general, everyone will find something to their liking.”

Featured artists: Sveta Aleksejeva, Anu Kalm, Kristi Kangilaski, Kadi Kurema, Anne Linnamägi, Regina Lukk-Toompere, Ülle Meister, Tiia Mets, Jüri Mildeberg, Piret Mildeberg, Gerda Märtens, Viive Noor, Juss Piho, Anne Pikkov, Ulla Saar, Kertu Sillaste, Catherine Zarip, Tiina Mariam Reinsalu, Maarja Vannas-Raid and Urmas Viik.

The exhibition has previously been shown in Estonia, Belarus and Italy where it was exceptionally well received. Since 2018 the exhibition has traveled around in Poland.

The exhibition is organized by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and Estonian Embassy in Warsaw.

Illustration: Kristi Kangilaski

Andrus Kivirähk receives the “Järje hoidja” award

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Tallinn Central Library awarded the “Järje hoidja” prize to Andrus Kivirähk for his book Tilda and the Dust Angel on the International Children’s Book Day, April 2nd. 

The award is given to the author of the Estonian children’s or young-adult book that has been checked out most from the Tallinn Central Library over the past year. The author receives an art work based on his book and created by the students of the Pelgulinna Gymnasium of Tallinn. Previously, the author has received the prize in 2004 for his book Limpa and the Pirates.

Driving forces of Tilda and the Dust Angel are the past, memory and remembering. The main character of the book is dust. In Kivirähk’s writing dust is grand, enticing, and beautiful. Soft, fluffy, light, and fast – this is how something that is a nuisance to most of us is described in the book. The events concentrate on Tilda, a 9-year old girl who does not remember her deceased father. When Tilda is cleaning her room, she is visited by a Dust Angel. Now memories of her father start flowing back: his green eyes and reddish beard, visits to the zoo and fun play times. Due to the father who has become dust, the girl will also learn new things about her  mother.

It is already the fourteenth time since 2004 the Tallinn Central Library awards the “Järje Hoidja” price. The award recognizes writers for consistently providing children and youth with worthy reading material. The award is presented prior to the International Children’s Book Day on 2 April. Previous winners include Anti Saar for “Pärt can’t do a backflip“ (2018), Reeli Reinaus for “The Verikambi Mill“ (2017), Ilmar Tomusk for “The Criminal Bank President: The Forensics Kids are Back” (2016), Aino Pervik „Mister Tee and Misses Coffee“ (2015). All of the previous winners may be found on the children’s page of the Tallinn Central Library.

The International Children’s Book Day is celebrated since 1967 on April 2nd, the birthday of the beloved fairy tale writer Hans Christian Andersen. Every year one section of IBBY (The International Board on Books for Young People) will prepare an international message and poster for the day. In 2019 the message „Book Help Us Slow Down” was prepared by the Lithuanian section of IBBY.

Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh

Small Werewolf exhibition opens in St Petersburg on March 26th

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On the 26th of March 2019 the small werewolf exhibition Running with the Wolves. Werewolf will open in the Arka Art Gallery of the Russian Academy of Arts in Saint Petersburg. The exhibition features Estonian artists. 

A werewolf is a popular motive in European art that offers versatile material form many artists. This is showcased by the fact that currently there is also a big werewolf exhibition with the same title travelling in Europe. In addition to Estonian artists, the big werewolf exhibition also features works from their Latvian and Lithuanian colleagues.

The exhibition opening in Saint Petersburg will display a selection of works from Estonian artists only.

The exhibition has previously been showcased in Viljandi, Karksi-Nuia and Pihkva.

Giulia Landonio, Lucija Mrzljak, Viive Noor, Jüri Mildeberg, Made Balbat, Elina Sildre, Regina Lukk-Toompere, Urmas Viik, Gerda Märtens, Priit Rea, Lembe Keskpaik

More info:
Viive Noor
curator, art expert of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre
+372 5557 9930

illustration Lucija Mrzljak