Summary: Onnimanni 3/2018

Onnimanni 3/2018.

In the editorial, Onnimanni’s new editor-in-chief Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen plead for more visibility for children’s and YA literature. Lately, many Finnish literature and culture magazines that used to cover children’s and YA books, regularly or occasionally, have been closed down.

Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen has interviewed Anne Muhonen, who is among the few in Finland that make comics for children. Muhonen thinks that comics could be used much more often in school for teaching reading skills and raising literary awareness.

Päivi Antila’s article presents the range of books for children and young adults published in Finland in 2017 based on the Institute’s Kirjakori-exhibition. Topical themes during 2017 were Finland’s centenary of independence, climate change, environmental protection, equality, and minorities. The statistics show that, for the first time in almost 20 years, Finnish books (51%) outnumbered translations.

Hanna Järvenpää’s article presents the Institute’s versatile special collections that include over 65 000 children’s and YA books, as well as 5500 research studies and reference books in the field, theses, and an extensive selection of journals specializing in children’s and YA literature research.

Kaisa Laaksonen’s column comments on the National Literacy Forum appointed by the Minister of Education and Culture Sanni Grahn-Laasonen last year. The Forum’s task was to draft guidelines for advancing the reading skills and reading habits of young people. A million euros have been set aside for measures needed to be undertaken. As a member of the National Literacy Forum, Laaksonen hopes that the new reading campaign to be launched this autumn will engage active and notable agents ready to further the cause.

Jouko Grönholm’s article presents the Estonian writer Silvia Rannamaa’s classic girls’ book Kadri from 1959, which is still the most widely read and beloved girls’ book in Estonia. Estonian literature scholar Piret Peiker defended her dissertation on Rannamaa’s work at The University of Turku earlier this year.

Leena Laakso’s article looks at a children’s play from 1856 by Zacharias Topelius from an interesting perspective. Topelius, who was remarkably influential in his day, celebrates his 200th anniversary this year. In the play, Laakso finds many points of resemblance to how the disadvantaged, immigrants and other marginalized groups in society are treated in Finnish public discussion today.

Translation: Maria Lassén-Seger