Summary: Onnimanni 4/2022

Onnimanni 4/22 -lehden kansikuva, jossa tyttö istuu pöydän ääressä ja kirjoittaa mustekynällä.

Literature for children represents and gives voice to all kinds of young people, also those who may have come to Finland via adoption, immigration or as fugitives. Every one of us has a unique cultural ancestry that may be invisible to others and, therefore, essential to express in words. In children’s and young adult literature, every story matters.

Illustrator Maria Sann has written an essay on what it feels like to be Russian, Finnish and Finland-Swedish – all at the same time. Sann highlights how children’s books can tell personal stories that help young readers better understand the world they live in. “For me, the power of children’s books lies in their ability to portray humanity and tell unique and singular stories”, Sann concludes.

Since 2021, the Finnish publishing house Kustannus Z provides young people with a publishing platform of their own. The publisher’s name alludes to generation Z, which refers to those born in the 2000s. Within the past two years, Kustannus Z has already published six titles. Päivi Heikkilä-Halttunen has interviewed founder Lea Pennanen, who says that getting young people involved can, at best, increase their overall interest in books and reading.

After a very long break, the popular Finnish crime novelist Leena Lehtolainen has written another YA novel. The book is called Vihreän lohikäärmeen risteys (Tammi) and features well-known minor characters from her Maria Kallio -series. Tuula Korolainen has interviewed Lehtolainen, who made her debut as a writer as a teenager with two YA novels in the 1970s and 1980s. Her new YA crime novel addresses painful societal issues and family dynamics.

In response to the rising number of fairy tale books published, Jaana Ristimäki has taken a closer look at the latest titles. Many of them enter into dialogue with the classic fairy tales. However, the new fairy tales aspire to renew and update the tradition in order to better suit today’s values and views of life. The characters are infused with rainbow colours and a vast majority of the books encourage readers, more or less overtly, to believe in themselves and accept others unconditionally.

On 25th October 2022, the institute’s first director, Riitta Kuivasmäki, passed away at the age of 88. Kuivasmäki ran the institute for almost twenty years, 1980-1999. Her life’s work was to create a home base for present-day, versatile Finnish research into literature for the young. In her obituary, the institute’s staff members and long-term friends and colleagues remember Riitta with great fondness.

Translation by Maria Lassén-Seger