Kertu Sillaste

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Kertu Sillaste (1973) is an illustrator, art teacher, and picture book author. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in textile design, studied tapestry at the École Supérieure des Arts Appliqués Duperré in Paris, and received a master’s degree in art education at Tallinn University. Sillaste has worked as a graphic designer at the Tallinn Central Library, and currently teaches art at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre. She has written five books, illustrated 16 works, and is a long-time collaborator with the children’s magazine Täheke. Sillaste was listed in the 2016 White Ravens catalogue and was a candidate for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Her signature style includes thick, vibrant India-ink brush strokes combined with acrylics or collage.

I’ve authored texts for picture books. The writing in my books is very concise – what matters is that it always fits with the pictures. I usually write a story and illustrate it simultaneously, and therefore I might not tell everything in the story itself: the pictures tell part of the tale, too. When I write, I keep in mind that a book meant for small children should have short words and sentences, but also a little bit of excitement and great characters.

The Prettiest Skirt
More than one hundred years ago, there lived a little girl in western Estonia named Marie, who had very able hands and unique thoughts. Just like other girls her age, Marie learned how to spin yarn, knit socks, stitch, and sew. Above all, Marie loved to embroider. It didn’t take long for her to become an expert at crafting quilts with unearthly colors and dreamy summer elements.
The Animals Went to Town
Once upon a time, there was a group of little animals that decided to go to town. However, Andy the cat hadn’t finished drawing. The animals were so excited that they don’t notice they left Andy behind. There are so many exciting things to do in town! They can dance wild dervishes with the city dogs, ride the carousel, eat cotton candy, and listen to music.
I Am an Artist
Jaan is an artist. He imagines and draws and paints and pastes and sketches and moulds and photographs and films and thinks and builds and assembles. Jaan believes that having a good idea is the most important part of making art. There are all kinds of ideas, just like there are all kinds of art. Sometimes, art can be a game or a riddle or finding and recognizing.
kaas.indd Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way
Astrid, John, Mary, Martin, Rosie, August, Lily, and little Linda all have parents who are artists. They paint and draw, make installations and performance art, and are sculptors, photographers, and illustrators. Mary’s mom, however, is an art expert. She knows a great deal about art and helps other people to understand it.
Sillaste-Ei-ole-nii! No, It Isn't So!
A scared little bunny doesn’t want it to be winter. He refuses to believe that he has gotten lost amidst the white mounds of snow, or that he really is cold and afraid. The bunny sings a song of courage until he reaches a little house. There, he hibernates like a bear, and when he wakes up it’s already springtime. He has survived the winter and is much braver than before.
Reading sample
Sillaste-PannkoogiraamatIt’s Pancake Time!
A colorful and jolly book for little pancake lovers. Led by cheerful animals, children are acquainted with the art of pancake making. And when the pancakes run out, no worries – new ones can be made tomorrow. On the book’s back cover is also a pancake recipe for whoever grows out of the picture-book age. Bon appétit!

2018 Good Children’s Book (I Am an Artist)
2016 The White Ravens (No, It Isn’t So!)
2015 Raisin of the Year Award (No, It Isn’t So!)
2015 Nominee of the Annual Children’s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (No, It Isn’t So!)
2015 Good Children’s Book (No, It Isn’t So!)
2015 The Knee-High Book Competition, winner (Astrid and Ott)
2011 The Knee-High Book Competition, 3rd place (It’s Pancake Time!)

Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way
German: Jeder macht Kunst auf seine Weise, Kullerkupp Kinderbuch Verlag 2017

No, It Isn’t So!
German: Nein, so ist es nicht!, Kullerkupp Kinderbuch Verlag 2017

It’s Pancake Time!
English: Ginger Books 2015

Kõige ilusam seelik (The Prettiest Skirt), Koolibri 2019, illustrated by the author, 24 pp
Loomakesed läksid linna (The Animals Went to Town), Hea Lugu 2019, illustrated by the author, 32 pp
Mina olen kunstnik (I Am an Artist), Koolibri 2018, illustrated by the author, 36 pp
Igaüks teeb isemoodi kunsti (Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way), Päike ja Pilv 2016, illustrated by the author, 36 pp
Ei ole nii! (No, It Isn’t So!), Päike ja Pilv 2015, illustrated by the author, 48 pp
Pannkoogiraamat (It’s Pancake Time!), Päike ja Pilv  2012, illustrated by the author