In the editorial, Kaisa Laaksonen presents the Lukemo portal that opens this summer. The portal gathers all new children’s and YA books added to the Institute’s library catalogue from 2018 onwards. In the portal, you can look for material via a variety of search functions. The portal also comprises material, such as exercises, events and tips related to books and reading.
Heidi Juopperi and Kaisa Laaksonen gives an overview of last year’s Finnish children’s and YA books. In 2018, strong and brave girls, climate change, humankind’s relations to nature, and rainbow teens were trendy themes. The Institute’s Kirjakori-exhibition and the statistical survey for 2018 covers 1190 titles. The amount of titles published has not changed significantly since 2017. For the second year in a row, the number of Finnish titles were slightly higher (52%) than the translated ones. The article authors conclude that there is a lack of a broader range of books for fluent 11 to 12-year-old readers.
Timo Kalevi Forss and Aiju Salminen’s non-fiction picturebook Mitä on punk? (What is punk?) has received the Institute’s Punni prize. The book is an example of the current trend in children’s books to address societal issues. Three honourable mentions were also distributed.
Riitta Oittinen has received the Children’s Literature Association’s distinguished Anne Devereaux Jordan Life Award for her achievements in translation studies and as an advocate of children’s literature. Oittinen is pleased that children’s literature research today is more open to new fields than before.
Ville Hänninen’s article presents the work of the somewhat unknown illustrator and cartoonist Usko Laukkanen (1930–2000). Laukkanen’s heirs have donated the artist’s archives to The Finnish Comics Museum. During his versatile and interesting career from the 1940s into the 1990s, Laukkanen produced e.g. illustrations for newspapers and magazines, cartoons, animations, adverts, ABC-books, reading books and children’s books.
Kaisa Lange has talked to Veera Salmi about her preteen- and YA novel Saari (The Island). In her article, Lange presents Salmi’s intentions behind the book alongside her own reading. The novel refers to a range of classical novels about islands. Previous reading experiences always influence readers’ interpretation of a book. Lange stresses how important it is to provide young readers with the possibility to verbalise their reading experience and talk to others about them.
Tuula Korolainen presents the diverse career of Swedish children’s author Lennart Hellsing (1919–2015). Hellsing contributed to the birth of modernism in Nordic children’s literature in 1945. In addition to his poetry for children, he renewed the tradition of illustrated books and songs for children. Hellsing expanded the landscape in children’s books to include the countryside, the city, exotic foreign countries and fantasy worlds.
In Kuopio, the legacy of celebrated author Minna Canth (1844–1897) lives on. Terhi Laitinen presents the range of workshops arranged in Kuopio to introduce young people of various ages to Canth’s work and ideas about society.
In the column Lukutikku, Juli-Anna Aerila and Merja Kauppinen presents communal reading and the Iltasatukirjahylly (Bedtime story) project. Marita Rajalin discusses, in her article, different kinds of openings in Anni Swan’s novels for young people.
Translation: Maria Lassén-Seger