Summary: Onnimanni 3/2021

Onnimanni 3/2021 cover

This fall issue of Onnimanni covers a range of intriguing youth literature phenomena. 

Jaana Ristimäki’s article considers possible reasons for young people’s growing interest in books by popular YouTubers. Social media allows YouTuber-authors and their fans to engage in virtual book clubs, where fans can share their reading experiences with both writer and peers. Hence, books by YouTubers back the latest national reading strategy, which endorses participatory and communal reading as a means to enhance the reading experience.   

Professor Markus Brummer-Korvenkontio relates in an interview by Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen his almost 50-year-long interest in collecting books for children and young people. The Brummeriana Collection, which includes 26 000 Finnish and foreign books, is housed by the National Library of Finland. In addition, Brummer-Korvenkontio offers advice to beginning bibliophiles and collectors. 

In her article on recent Finnish horror fiction for young people, Rimma Erkko raises the need for more genre-related research, such as the influence of classic gothic horror or folktales. Horror fiction for children often builds suspense by contrasting fear and childhood innocence. In order to increase a young protagonist’s sense of insecurity, adults are typically absent or incapable of caring for the well-being of the young. 

An article co-written by students and researchers of logopedics at Tampere University presents compelling children’s books about children with special needs, who face challenges in terms of speech, language or interaction. During the past twenty years, these topics have diversified. Whereas children’s books used to set out to fix and remove such challenges, difference is now depicted as a natural part of children’s everyday lives. However, given the number of books for young people published annually, books featuring children with special needs and disabilities are still too few. The article authors stress that books of this kind speak to, not only special needs children themselves, but also to their families, caregivers and educators. 

Johanna Venho’s latest novel Syyskirja (WSOY) is a biofictive novel for adults about Tove Jansson (1914–2001). It is set on the islet Klovharun during a few summer days in 1991 depicting Tove Jansson and Tuulikki Pietilä’s final summer stay on the islet. In the interview, Johanna Venho reveals that she was not able to visit Klovharun in the Porvoo archipelago until at the very last stages of finishing the novel. However, experiencing first-hand the unique atmosphere on the small island made her rewrite the entire novel. 

In the Lukutikku column, Lotta Luukila presents ”Oma ääni”, which is the latest addition to the Institute’s Lukemo-site. ”Oma ääni” is a platform where children and young adults can voice their own opinions about books they have read, and post e.g. their own texts, videos or fan art. 

Translation: Maria Lassén-Seger