For the last few months I’ve been collaborating with Rovio Entertainment, the makers of the Angry Birds games, on a series of picture books based on the game characters. More details to come soon on when you can get a little more anger for bedtime with your kids!
Pompom and the Happy Year
By Nina Pirhonen
Coming soon as a smart device app!
The cover pretty much says it all. Or take a look at the author’s website. Pompom is a delightfully whimsical picture book series with a fascinating aesthetic connection to the author/illustrator’s fashion design sensibilities (Google her work for Nanso and Marimekko).
There are four books in the Pompom series. Contact the Otava Group Agency for rights information.
by Camilla Mickwitz
A full translation is available for review from the Ahlback agency, translated by me.
While I didn’t grow up with Finnish children’s books myself, Jason seemed familiar the first time I read it this year. To me it has the feel of a Leo Lionni or Shel Silverstein–the sort of timeless simplicity that in this case completely transcends borders between nations and cultures. Mickwitz has a particular gift for injecting seemingly straightforward stories with glimpses of the serious struggles of adult life as seen through the lens of childhood.
From the Elina Ahlback Literary Agency:
Everyday life can be an adventure!
Children have loved Jason since 1975, when the first Jason book was published. The books recount the joys and troubles of Jason and his mother’s everyday life in an insightful and entertaining way. Karen, Jason’s mother, is always busy. She can’t be late for work and must first take Jason to daycare…
Camilla Mickwitz (1937–1989) won the Finnish Award for Illustrated Books in 1982 for her Emily series. The books are based on series of animated films that received the Finnish State Film Award in 1979.
Strange Things Aftoot — The Animals’ World II
by Marsa Pihlaja
Environmentally-friendly poems & facts for children and adults
Strange things are happening in the animals’ world!
In this second volume of The Animals’ World, curious things occur: frogs rain from the sky, a blackbird is sporting Ray Bans, a hippo runs out of potamus, chickens take to the streets for a freedom march, a dragon mother urges a dragon father to give up smoking, an elephant does a good turn for the environment, and much more!
While the poems are about animals, they offer surprising points of contact with human life. Colorful illustrations and amusing speech bubbles add spice to each hilarious page.
In the DID YOU KNOW? fact sections, an astute mole reports interesting, sometimes surprising things about the animals in the poems and the environment we share.
The first volume of the Animals’ World and its accompanying exhibition were nominated for the 2009 City of Helsinki Environmental Award. A dynamic exhibition based on this second volume is also on tour.
Come along for another wild adventure in the Animals’ World!
Also from Annexus Publishing:
Mother // Äiti
By Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen
From the Otava Rights Catalog:
An indispensable book for anyone who sleeps! This book has everything, from instructions for choosing a bedtime toy to a troubleshooting chart for insomniacs. As a bonus, the book includes the world’s most boring bedtime story. When goddaughter Satu is coming to spend the night at Tatu and Patu’s house, the boys go all out in preparation. Since they’ll have to put her to bed, they’ve composed a new treatise entitled On Dreams, Drowsiness, Bedtime, and Lovely Lullabies or O.D.D.B.A.L.L.
The book explains how to choose the perfect bedtime toy to achieve the optimum stuffed-toy density. There is a troubleshooting diagram for when sleep just won’t come. The boys also figure out how the length of fingernails affects back-scratching and how the soulfulness quotient of a lullaby affects the sleeper’s ability to achieve drowsiness.
The book also tells what really happens when you sleep and leads Tatu and Patu on a wild adventure in dreamland. The true meaning of sleep is made clear, and the terrifying consequences of prolonged night-owling are only too clearly revealed.
(A full English translation is available upon request.)
Previously published: This is Finland. Also see Tatu and Patu in Helsinki, Tatu and Patu’s Adventures in Outer Space, Tatu and Patu: Superheroes!, and Tatu and Patu’s Amazing Alphabet.
Otava Publishing. 2007. 48 pages. In 5th printing.
This is a children’s book written and illustrated by Aino Havukainen and Sami Toivonen (2007). It was awarded the 2007 Finlandia Prize for Children’s Literature. The artwork is pure genius–it captures contemporary Finnishness like few things I’ve seen. Even visiting Finland probably won’t give you nearly as intimate a look into what is important to Finns both in terms of where they’ve come from historically and what modern life is about. And it’s hilarious.
Finnish oddities, Part 1: Sauna
Finnish oddities, Part 2: Rye bread
Tatu as Santa Claus
Article in Books from Finland (see links at left).
My article on the work of translating This is Finland.
Suomalainen.com bookstore listing.
Written by Riitta Jalonen and illustrated by Kristiina Louhi.
From Tammi foreign rights brochure:
A memory never ends
The Girl and the Jackdaw Tree describes a turning point in a little girl’s life, the unavoidable changes caused by her father’s death. Her thoughts and feelings relate a sensitive story – with the child pondering the happenings of her life under a tall tree. The tree is known as a Jackdaw tree as a flock of these big birds frequently nest in the safety of its branches. The girl knows how the tree must feel when the jackdaws suddenly take flight and disappear into the distance, leaving the tree on its own, missing the birds. Memories of her father arise as pictures before her eyes.
In Kristiina Louhi’s illustrations these memories fly. The images manage to convey such a scale of emotions and feelings that they can almost be tasted. They glow with the same intensity as Riitta Jalonen’s story: from descriptions of brief moments to greater ones, revealing a unique and wholesome story – a child’s magic world in which joy and sorrow are both present.
Riitta Jalonen — The Girl and the Jackdaw Tree — Translation Sample — Extract (PDF)
(A full-length illustrated translation sample is available upon request)
Nominated for the Finlandia Junior Prize!
Written by Tove Appelgren and illustrated by Salla Savolainen
From Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Vesta-Linnea feels like her mother always takes her little sister’s side over hers, and she is suddenly very certain that no one in the family really loves her. Will anything disperse her darkest thoughts?
Tove Appelgren & Salla Savolainen — Vesta-Linnea’s Darkest Thought — Sample Translation (PDF)
(A full-length translation with images is available upon request)
Blurb at Books from Finland
Written by Tuula Korolainen. Illustrated by Christel Rönns.
From Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Kitten’s mum is upset feeling she has to clean up after everyone else in the
family. And as if that wasn’t enough. Sloppy jumps out of the mirror – a little,
sloppy cat who looks just like Kitten. And boy, can Sloppy make a mess! He storms
from room to room putting everything in disarray, even pasting the walls with jam.
Kitten gets carried away with the mess-making, fi nding how much fun it can be.
But when Sloppy transforms the vacuum cleaner into a blower, and breaks Kitten’s
Rat Castle, little Kitten gets anxious. His old friend Brownie has to come help keep
the peace with his magic.
Tuula Korolainen — Kitten and Sloppy — Sample Translation
Sample Excerpt with Images
Tammi/Ahlbäck Agency rights guide
Annexus Oy 2010
Written and illustrated by Marsa Pihlaja.
Translated by Owen F. Witesman
Environment-themed poems with eye-popping illustrations.
Sample from Annexus Publishing
Forthcoming. Annexus Oy.
This is a book of mother-themed children’s poetry. More info when it goes to press!
Written by Riitta Jalonen and illustrated by Kristiina Louhi.
From the Tammi/Elina Ahlbäck Agency foreign rights guide:
Aidan and Sophie are 8- and 9-year-old friends. This book
is a sweet story of summer, closeness, games, adventures
– and of first love, from a boy’s perspective.
Through small, delicate details Riitta Jalonen communicates
the strong emotions of childhood. Kristiina Louhi’s warm and
inventive illustrations bring the magical realm of childhood
Riitta Jalonen — Aidan and Sophie — Translation Sample PDF