Exhibition It’s Always Tea-Time opens in Moscow on March 19th

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

A grand international illustration exhibition It’s Always Tea-Time, that showcases the works of 72 artists from 19 countries, opens in the Russian National Children’s Library on 19th of March.  

The exhibition was initially opened in the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre in 2015 to celebrate the 150th anniversary of the publication of Lewis Carroll’s enduringly popular book Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (1865). Since then, the exhibition has traveled from Estonia to Latvia, Finland, Germany, Poland, Hungary, and the United Kingdom.

„The majority of the artists exhibited are the cream of the crop of the world’s illustrators. All of their works are original illustrations made especially for this exhibition”, says Viive Noor, the curator of the exhibition.

The exhibition was organized by the Estonian Children’s Literature Center and it is supported by the Estonian Graphic Designers’ Association, Estonian Cultural Endowment and the Estonian Embassy in Moscow.

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

Illustration: Sari Airola 

NEW Catalogue Children’s Books From Estonia 2019

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

The brand new catalogue Children’s Books From Estonia 2019 is used to introduce Estonian children’s and young-adult literature. The catalogue includes information about new popular and critically acclaimed books.

The books have been grouped based on the age groups of prospective readers and the selection includes works that have a potential to be of interest to foreign publishers. In addition to a short summary of the works, the catalogue also includes short informative introductions of the authors and illustrators. Also, the pages of the catalogue are designed with illustrations from the books introduced. Longer works are introduced with reading samples.

The catalogue was created by Helena Koch, Jaanika Palm, Anu Kehman and Ülle Väljataga.

Texts are translated into English by Adam Cullen and Susan Wilson. Cover photo is by Anne Pikkov and design by Katrin Kaev.
Printed in Estonia by Printon.

DOWNLOAD PDF: Children’s Books From Estonia

Kertu Sillaste will perform in Leipzig and Berlin in March

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

An Estonian picture book author and illustrator Kertu Sillaste will introduce her book Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way to the German audience in Spring 2019. Interested parties can read the book and take part in Sillaste’s Paper Sculpture Workshop on March 21 in Leipzig during the Leipzig Book Fair and on March 22-23 in Berlin.

Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way is a book that is fun to look at and fun to read. But I am convinced that it also harbors a lot of ideas on how to create and talk about art with children. By being present at the fair as an author, I can provide children with the experience of creating art, as well as offer ideas to teachers and the fair audience on how to use the book independently“, Sillaste adds.

Sillaste will introduce her book in the Leipzig Book Fair and Pablo Neruda Elementary School on March 21st. She will also speak in Berlin and appear on March 22nd in the OstPost bookstore and on March 23rd in the Krumulus bookstore that was voted the best bookstore in Germany in 2018. Book lovers can also participate in Sillaste’s workshops in both locations.

Sillaste will participate in the Leipzig Book Fair as a part of the fair program of the Estonian Publishers’ Union and the Estonian Children’s Literature Center.

Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way is the second Sillaste’s book that has been translated to German. First introduction to her work was provided to the German audience in 2017 when the book No, It Isn’t So! was published.

Sillaste’s performances in Berlin have been organized in cooperation with the publishing house Kullerkupp. The moderator of the events in Leipzig and in Berlin is Carsten Wilms, the translaator and publisher of the books.

See also


Andrus Kivirähk received the Annual Children’s Literature Award

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

The Estonian Cultural Endowment announced its Annual Literary Awards on the national language day, the 14th of March. The laureate title in the children’s literature category was awarded to the beloved author Andrus Kivirähk who received the honour for his novel Tilda and the Dust Angel.

The laureate was selected by a jury named by the literature endowment. Members of the jury included children’s author Jaanus Vaiksoo (head of the jury), literary scholar Mari Niitra and the head of the Estonian Children’s Literature Center Triin Soone. The jury made their selection from children’s books published last year. Vaiksoo noted that Tilda and the Dust Angel showcased its author’s versatility and great sense of style.

Kivirähk has noted in pre-publication interviews that this book had a different origin story than the rest of his works. First he saw pictures of a rather peculiar creature made by the artist Takinada (Irina Šabarova). She was the one who approached Kivirähk and suggested that this character could provide a basis for a story or a book.

That peculiar creature became the special lead character of the book – the dust angel. For so many people dust represents just a domestic nuisance. In this book, however, it brings the topics of past, memory and remembering to the foreground. “Kivirähk compares dust to soft moss, to kittens and to a swarm of bees. Dust can dance effortlessly and float in a sun spot. Dust is something that contains memories and the past. If there was no dust, people would have no memories”, says children’s literature researcher Jaanika Palm.

Other nominees in the children’s literature category included Aino Pervik for From BonnyHead and Beyond, Priit Põhjala for Uncle Mati, Veterinarian, Anti Saar for The Pärt Series, and Kerttu Sillaste for I am an Artist.

The Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia is one of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s annual literary awards, which continues the tradition of recognizing outstanding Estonian writing that began in 1970 (the Cultural Endowment has given out these awards since 1995). Each year on Estonian Language Day (14 March), authors of the best original works in a number of different literary categories receive monetary prizes.

Former laureates are named here.

Info about laureates in other categories can be found here.

Piret Raud at the Leipzig Book Fair on the 22nd of March

Written by Helena Koch on . Posted in News, News of Centre

On the 22nd of March 2019 Piret Raud presents her new Picture Book published by Thames & Hudson at the Leipzig Book Fair. The event takes place at 11am in Kinderforum (Lesebude 1: Halle 2, Stand 410/G411).  

One morning, the Ear wakes up. Something is completely out of the ordinary: she’s all alone. Where is the head on whom she’s lived her entire life? How should she carry on? The world is so big and I’m so alone, she mourns, confused and utterly headless! What good is an ear without a head? she sobs. Without a head, I’m no one! But then, the Ear hears a croak. Is it someone who might need her?

Piret Raud’s picture book The Ear is inspired by the life of Vincent van Gogh.

Piret Raud (1971) is the most successful contemporary Estonian children’s writer and illustrator. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in graphic arts, 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 (six of which were commissioned by Japanese, French, and British publishers), has been translated into 13 different languages, and has illustrated more than 50 titles. Her writing has received spectacular recognition both at home and abroad. She was included on the 2012 IBBY Honour List as writer and in 2018 as illustrator, in the 2010 and 2013 White Ravens catalogue, and was awarded the Estonian Order of the White Star, IV Class in 2016.

See also:
The Ear (Thames & Hudson)
Leipzig Book Fair 

Poet Contra will visit the UK this March

Written by Helena Koch on . Posted in News, News of Centre

The beloved poet Contra will introduce his newly translated children’s poetry collection Everyone’s the Smartest to the audience in the UK at the end of March. The book was published in English by The Emma Press.

The Author will introduce his book on the 23rd of March during the Bournville BookFest, which is a book festival dedicated to children’s literature. The performance will be bilingual and his poems will be recited both in English and in Estonian. On March 24th Contra will also visit the Estonian School Keelekindlus and on March 25th and 26th he will meet the students of Anglesey Primary School and Somerville Primary School. Additionally, the author will perform in the Burton Library and in the Macdonald Burlington Hotel.

Everyone’s the Smartest is the first book by Contra that has been translated into a foreign language. The poems were translated into English by Charlotte Geater, Kätlin Kaldmaa and Richard O’Brien. Illustrations are made by Ulla Saar. In 2020 the book will also be published by the Latvian publishing house Liels Un Mazs.

Contra’s performances in the UK are supported by the Estonian Cultural Endowment.

Photo: Dmitri Kotjuh

Happy Miia received an Award in Latvia

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Tiia Selli’s and Katrin Ehrlich‘s children’s book “Rõõmus Miia” (Happy Miia) received an award in the reading program Children, Young Adults and Parents Jury 2018. The program is organized by the Latvian Children’s Literature Center and it involves young readers from all across the country. 

Readers judge books (incl. translated literature) selected by a group of experts. Judges are divided into 5 age categories: children’s jury of 5+ year olds; children’s jury of 9+ year olds; youth jury of 11+ year olds;  youth jury of 15+ year olds and parents jury. The jury of every age group reads and judges 6 books selected by specialists of children’s literature. Young Latvian readers enjoyed Happy Miia and the book’s wonderful illustrations a lot and kids in the age category 5+ awarded it with the 3rd prize.

The results of the program were announced on the 9th of March 2019 during The Great Reading Festival held in the Latvian National Library in Riga. The festival was attended by writers, librarians, publishers, translators, illustrators and active readers.

The book Happy Miia was published in 2012 by the Estonian publishing house Dolce Press and in 2017 by the Latvian publisher Jāņa Rozes apgāds. The book was translated into Latvian by Maima Grīnberga. In 2018 it was awarded the most prestigious children’s literature award in Latvia, the Jānis Baltvilks’ award.

Ulla Saar at the London Book Fair on the 12th of March

Written by Helena Koch on . Posted in News, News of Centre

On the 12th of March 2019 at 11.30-12.30, illustrator Ulla Saar participates in the seminar „Rising Stars: Children‘s Authors and Illustrators from the Baltics“ with Monika Vaicenavičienė (Lithuania) and Elīna Brasliņa (Latvia). The event, moderated by Dylan Calder, takes place in Children’s Hub.

Following the successful Baltic Countries Market Focus programme in 2018, the Baltic countries continue to introduce exciting new children‘s authors and illustrators to the UK children‘s publishing market. This panel discussion aims to celebrate three rising stars from the Baltics, who have recently been published and awarded in the United Kingdom. They are: Monika Vaicenavičienė (Lithuania), winner of the Best Picture Book – New Talent and Overall New Talent at the World Illustration Awards 2018 for her book What is a River?; Elīna Brasliņa (Latvia), with two illustrated books – Moon Juice by Kate Wakeling and The Dog Who Found Sorrow by Rūta Briede; and Ulla Saar (Estonia), with her book Everyone’s the Smartest (written by Contra).

Ulla Saar (1975) is one of the most celebrated Estonian illustrators today. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in product design and is currently working as a designer. Her first illustrated book, Lift (2013), won several awards in Estonia and was listed in the 2014 White Ravens catalogue. Since then, her work has won yearly awards from the Best Designed Estonian (Children’s) Books competitions and received widespread international recognition. She has participated in several international literary festivals and her books have been published in English, German, Italian, and Lithuanian. In 2018 and 2019, the illustrator was nominated for the 2018 and 2019 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. This autumn, British readers can enjoy a piece of Saar’s illustration work in Huw Lewis-Jones’s book The Writer’s Map by Thames & Hudson (2019).

Monika Vaicenavičienė is an award-winning illustrator and picture book author.In Monika’s picture books, personal memories, legends, and real stories meet, creating poetic documentary narratives about interconnectedness and wonders of our world. Illustrations from her picture books have been shortlisted at Bologna and Shanghai children’s book fairs as well as other international illustration competitions. In 2018, Monika won Children’s Books and Overall New Talent categories at the World Illustrations Awards and Publisher’s Choice Award at China International Book Fair in Shanghai with her newest book “What Is a River?”, which is to appear in 2019 with editions around the world in different languages. After completing her studies at Vilnius Academy of Arts and Stockholm Konstfack University of Arts, Crafts and Design, Monika now lives and works in Vilnius, Lithuania.

Elīna Brasliņa (1988) is an illustrator from Latvia. She has illustrated about twenty titles so far, most of them children’s books and young adult novels by Latvian authors. She is best known for her collaboration with Luīze Pastore on the “Art Detectives” series. Elīna’s work has been nominated for local awards, and she has twice received the Zelta Ābele Award for Book Design (2014, 2015), as well as the Jānis Baltvilks Baltic Sea Region Award (2017). She made her international debut by illustrating Kate Wakeling’s collection of poems, “Moon Juice”, published by “The Emma Press” (UK). Books illustrated by Elīna have been published in the UK, Ireland, France, Spain, Belgium, Croatia and the Czech Republic. She was also the production designer for a feature length animation film with the Latvian studio “Atom Art”, entitled “Jacob, Mimmi and the Talking Dogs” that came out in February 2019.

See also: The London Book Fair 

Leelo Tungal Awarded for her Lifetime Achievement

Written by Helena Koch on . Posted in News, News of Centre

On Thursday, the 7th of February 2019 the Estonian government approved the recipients of the National Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture. The award for her long-term distinguished activity as a children’s writer and poet was given to Leelo Tungal.

Leelo Tungal (1947) is a beloved poet, children’s writer and translator. She has written more than 80 books of prose and poetry for children and young adults. Tungal has received a multitude of honours and awards, including the IBBY Honour List in 2010, the Cultural Endowment of Estonia’s Award for Children’s Literature in 1997, the Karl Eduard Sööt Children’s Poetry Award in 1995, 2000 and 2007, and the Nukits Competition in 1992, 1994 and 2006. Her works feature optimism, direct communication with the reader, fluid storytelling, and witty storytelling.

The National Lifetime Achievement Award for Culture is presented for outstanding long-term creative activity. Three lifetime achievement awards for culture are presented each year. The awards will be given out on the 24th of February.

The Best Designed Estonian Books Chosen

Written by Helena Koch on . Posted in News, News of Centre

On Wednesday, the 6th of February 2019, the best designed Estonian children’s books of 2018 were announced at the National Library of Estonia. The jury valued high quality illustrations, as well as design, typography, and the appropriate choice of material.

The chosen books can be seen until the 26th of February in the National Library of Estonia. The books will also be exhibited at the Bologna Book Fair 2019.

The competition of the best designed Estonian books has taken place since 1998. It is organised by the Estonian Graphic Designers Association, the Estonian Publishers’ Association, the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, the National Library of Estonia, and the Association of Estonian Printing Industry.


A Little Love Story by Tia Navi. Illustrated by Kadi Kurema
Milda, Master Michel, and I by Anti Saar. Illustrated by Urmas Viik
Wolf’s Friends by Ilmar Tomusk. Illustrated by Catherine Zarip
Everything Exists: Stories of the Squirrel, the Ant, and Other Animals by Toon Tellegen. Illustrated by Regina Lukk-Toompere
I Am an Artist by Kertu Sillaste. Illustrated by the author. Special prize of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre


The Story of the Little House Who Wanted to Be a Home by Piret Raud. Illustrated by the author. Special prize of the Estonian Graphic Designers’ Union
The Great Wish of the Rain Cloud by Liis Sein. Illustrated by Anne Linnamägi
A Matsalu Morning Concert by Kaja Lotman. Illustrated by Marju Tammik


What Letters Say by Helvi Jürisson. Illustrated by Ulla Saar
From BonnyHead and Beyond
by Aino Pervik. Illustrated by Olga Pärn