Kadri Hinrikus

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Kadri Hinrikus (1970) is a children’s writer and journalist. She graduated from Tallinn University in theatre direction, worked as an editor and news anchor on Estonian national television and currently works as an editor of the children’s magazine Täheke. Hinrikus has penned fairy tales and memoir-like books about her family. She is also a skilful teller of warm and humorous stories about kids’ everyday life. Her works were featured in the White Ravens catalogue in 2013 and 2016.

Kadri Hinrikus (1970) is a writer that Estonians are able to see almost every day – she works as a news anchor on Estonian national television and a TV journalist. Hinrikus graduated from Tallinn Pedagogical University as a theatre director. Her first children’s book was published in 2008 and since then, she has had a firm place in Estonian children’s literature.

Hinrikus is a writer who unites today with the past in her books, bringing distant times closer to children in a literary form, and thereby giving them an interest in the history of their country and their own family. This is illustrated especially clearly in her first book, Miia ja Friida (Miia and Friida, 2008), where two times run parallel – that distant past, in which the writer’s father and mother and aunt lived as children, and that somewhat closer past, in which the writer herself grew up. The link between the two is the family’s farm on a riverbank on the edge of a forest: every Estonian family’s dream. Stories from Friida’s childhood accompany the day-to-day of Miia growing-up, and through Friida’s younger years, different facets of the part of Estonia’s past that was forbidden to talk about just twenty years ago unfold before the children of today. Characters in this past include prisoners of war and forest partisans, raids are carried out frequently, and people aren’t allowed to plant flowers in their gardens – otherwise, they could be labeled a kulak. Miia’s childhood in turn coincides with the childhood of parents nowadays, and as such, the book is a dual excursion into an adventurous past for children of today. The illustrations of Urmas Viik, which enrich both worlds, add an abundance of true-to-life detail.

Kui emad olid väikesed (When Mothers were Little, 2009) is Hinrikus’ second book, in which she also returns to mothers’ childhood. These mothers, who were born in a free Republic of Estonia, went to school during World War II and graduated in the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. Eeva and Ingi live through those important years – a time of great upheaval for Estonians – while going through school; from the ages of six until eighteen, their lives run parallel. While at the beginning, they are still fleeing bombings and slipping little packages of food to prisoners of war, the erection of Soviet socialism in the spirit of Stalin’s challenges is already in full swing. Hinrikus depicts the conditions and changing moods of the time truthfully and without giving her own judgment – what was, was; one just had to make do with it. As fathers had disappeared during the war – some imprisoned, some perished – something that sticks out is how a community composed primarily of women was left handling affairs around children after the war. The fact that Eeva and Ingli study at a school for girls, which was customary at the time, deepens this feeling. Kui emad olid väikesed gives a very good overview of life in Estonia during the 1950’s wrapped up in literary form, and in addition to reading for fun, the work suits fantastically as extra material for younger school-aged children acquainting with Estonian history. Faithful to the time, materials left from that era are also used in the book’s design – pages from children’s rhyme books, postcards, pioneer handbooks, school textbooks, and other sources.

In her latest book, May the Good Fairies Watch Over You (2012), Hinrikus addresses the problems of children growing up motherless. In this story somewhat similar to Cinderella, eight-year-old twins Tuule and Uku are growing up with their father: their mother has passed away, and in the children’s minds, has become a good fairy. Life just with their father is not easy. Their father must work for two, and when he is even home, he is simply too tired to do anything with the children. Meeting the children’s’ teacher brings joy back into their father’s life, however, and life starts becoming ever more exciting for the twins. Their relationships with their peers improve, they find friends in the most unexpected of places, and even a rescued kitten can stay and live with them.

In the book, Hinrikus illustrates graphically, but without excessive didacticism, the importance the role that family plays in children’s’ lives, and the importance of the help that people seemingly not involved in a situation can offer a family that ends up in rough times. Take for example Tuule’s so-called adopted grandmother, whose own grandchild lives abroad, but whose soul still yearns for fantastic little people. It’s great when there is someone to bake apple pie for, and whose activities one can follow. Thanks to the cautious care of people surrounding a family that has ended up in a state of loneliness and sorrow, the motherless twins feel support and the warmth of home again, and their father has the strength to pull himself together.

Hinrikus is able to view a child’s life in a broader sense not only within a modern framework, but also outside of it – in historical perspective. Thanks to background information she received from home, Hinrikus has the ability to find what is characteristic of youth from every age, and to give childhood a form suited for that particular time. While doing this, she also brings forth overall human values that are important to give a child for taking along in life, no matter in what time they may happen to be living.

Kätlin Kaldmaa


Johan wakes up feeling well-rested and ready to take on the world one morning. But where are his mom and dad? Why can’t he smell a mouthwatering breakfast wafting from the kitchen? The boy discovers his mother making a crown in her bedroom and his father sailing paper boats in the bathtub. They’re both behaving bizarrely and seem to have no recollection of who Johan is. What is he to do?
Reading sample
What Do You Dream About?
Kids’ lives are nowhere as easy as grown-ups might think! For example, Eve’s father works far away in the capital, so the girl misses him all the time. Andreas, on the other hand, is worried that his parents are in over their heads with taking care of his baby sister – all it’s been since she was born is nothing but work and caring for her, with hardly any time left over for chatting and having fun.
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Don’t Worry About Me
Wordyhag lives in Southslope with her seven daughters. Anna and Berta, Cita and Dora, the twins Eve and Frida, and little Gerda do whatever crosses their minds. Their mother certainly guides and teaches them as they discover the world, but isn’t in the habit of forbidding them from doing anything. Deep in the shady brush of Northslope lives Worryhag with her one and only daughter, Poppy.
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Catherine and the Peas
Lately, it’s been rough going for Catherine. Her dad found a new partner and moved out, and her mom only has time and attention to spare for her job. Now that summer break has arrived, busy little Catherine feels truly alone. But then the girl meets Martin from her dad’s new family and also befriends a fun old woman named Alice who moves into the neighbouring house.
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Kadri Hinrikus. „Sandra 12 kuud”. Tammerraamat, 2016, illustreerinud Ulla SaarSandra’s 12 Months
Little Sandra lives in a pink house together with her mother, father, grandmother, and older brother Sten. The girl doesn’t know exactly how the months and seasons show up one after another, but they do all the same. Quite a lot of exciting things happen with her family over the course of a year: they play with water guns and cause a minor flood; celebrate Mother’s Day and walk through a muddy park...
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Kadri Hinrikus. „Taaniel Teine”. Tammerraamat, 2015, illustreerinud Anu KalmDaniel the Second
Daniel the Second is an ordinary schoolboy. He hates playing dodgeball, longs to have his very own pet, and is secretly in love with the tallest girl in the class. Since the boy’s parents work in Sweden, he lives with his jolly grandpa Daniel the First, who is a big nature-lover and a birdwatcher. Daniel the Second’s life with his grandpa is fun, thrilling, and full of adventure, but even so, he can’t wait for his parents to come back home.
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The Frogs' Revolt
Once there was an old lady Kaie. She lived in an old wooden house and her apartment was filled with frogs. She had frogs in the kitchen, in the living room, in the corridor and in the toilet. To be honest, there was hardly a place that wasn’t filled with frogs. While auntie Kaie is all happy with her frogs, the frogs are not. They need water. Or they die.
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May the Good Fairies Watch Over You
Tuule and Uku are eight-year-old twins. They only have a father, because their mother has gone to be with the good fairies. That's what Tuule believes. In fall, the children go to second grade in a new school, where new knowledge and new little adventures await them. Uku loves to read more than anything, and all Tuule wants is to get some kind of a pet.
When Mothers Were Little
These stories are about the childhood of two mothers. They were born in the 1930's in the Republic of Estonia, went to school during World War II, and graduated from high school when their homeland had become the Estonian Soviet Socialist Republic. It was a time of upheaval. In the course of the five years of war, they saw how the communists first came to power, then the fascists, and then the communists again.
Reading sample
Miia and Friida
This book arose from stories that the author's mother, father, and aunt told during her childhood. The writer began to record them, and in her great writing enthusiasm, added a tiny shard of fantasy as well as a few stories from her own memories. And so, the beautiful, warm, and sometimes also problematic childhood of two little girls – Miia and Friida – came together in the book.

2018 Tartu Prize for Children’s Literature (Childhood Prize) (Catherine and the Peas)
2017 Good Children’s Book (Catherine and the Peas)
2017 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (Catherine and the Peas)
2016 The White Ravens (Daniel the Second)
2013 The White Ravens (May the Good Fairies Watch Over You)
2012 Good Children’s Book (May the Good Fairies Watch Over You)
2012 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (May the Good Fairies Watch Over You)
2009 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (When Mothers Were Little)

Daniel the Second
Russian in Estonia: Даниил Второй, Tallinn: Aleksandra 2017

May the Good Fairies Watch Over You
Russian in Estonia: Чтобы добрые феи хранили тебя, Tallinn: Aleksandra 2019

Millest sa unistad? (What Do You Dream About?) Tammerraamat 2019, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 72 pp
Tohuvabohu (Pandemonium), Tallinna Keskraamatukogu 2019, illustrated by Anne Pikkov, 48 pp
Ära muretse mu pärast (Don’t Worry About Me), Tammerraamat 2018, illustrated by Katrin Ehrlich, 68 pp
Katariina ja herned (Catherine and the Peas), Tammerraamat 2017, illustrated by Anne Pikkov, 72 pp
Sandra 12 kuud (Sandra’s 12 Months), Tammerraamat 2016, illustrated by Ulla Saar, 53 pp
Suur maailmareis (Big World Trip), Tammerraamat 2015, illustrated by Regina Lukk-Toompere, 64 pp
Taaniel Teine (Daniel the Second), Tammerraamat 2015, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 110 pp
Konnade mäss (The Frog’s Revolt), Tammerraamat 2014, illustrated by Catherine Zarip, 25 pp
Et head haldjad sind hoiaksid (May the Good Fairies Watch Over You), Tammerraamat 2012, illustrated by Anu Kalm, 104 pp
Põmmu, Podsu ja teised sõbrad (Põmmu, Podsu and Other Friends). Eesti Ajalehed 2010, illustrated by Priit Rea, 48 pp
Kui emad olid väikesed (When Mothers Were Little), Eesti Ekspress 2009, designed by Inga Heamägi, 96 pp
Miia ja Friida (Miia and Friida), Eesti Ekspress 2008, illustrated by Urmas Viik, 160 pp