Thursday, January 16, 2020

Children's travel guide to Finland

Tittamari Marttinen: Lasten Matkaopas Suomeen 2019

From Helsinki to Lapland, there is so much to see. Visit the forts, which we call castles, the  museums, the playgrounds and many more.

This book introduces 19 cities all around Finland. Some destination can be reached by bike, canoe, train, subway and to Marienham you have to take the ferry.

You don't have to be a kid to get excited about these destinations. We Finns are too modest to see all the wonderful places that we have.

Dunes in Western Finland

Monday, December 23, 2019

24 days till Christmas

Carlos Da Cruz 2019: 24 päivää jouluun

24 stories about Christmas traditions: making gingerbreadhouses, elfs, having candels burning by the window.

Many of our traditions have come from abroad: mostly Sweden and Germany.

Himmeli, decoration made of straws (hay).

Carelian cuckoo made of one peace of wood.

The scary Nuuti buck that takes christmas away on January 13th.

Candelabra by the window, nowadays electric.

Tuesday, December 17, 2019

Christmas dog

Henna Ryynänen 2019: Jouluinen Myry

Myry is Santa's loyal dog, who helps Santa in his work.
On Christmas eve Santa is off to deliver presents. All of a sudden a present falls off the sleigh. Myry is on it and an adventure starts.
Myry finds a new friend, a magpie, and together they start following Santa's trail.

A story of resilience and courage. When duty calls, nothing is too difficult.

Do they dare go through the dark forrest?

Santa's "office" shirt is a traditional Ostrobotnian pullover. Cute.

Tuesday, December 10, 2019

Christmas at Moomin Valley

Based on tove Jansson's story of Christmastree in the book Invisible Child.
Written by Alex Haridi and Cecilia Davidsson 2018
Illustrated by  Filippa Widlund.

Usually Moomins sleep through winter, but this time they are awakened by Hemulen making noise. They see all neighbors waiting for Christmas. Must be a very important visitor with all the fuzzing and buzzing. At first they are a little bit scared, but then they start waiting for Christmas, too, making all kinds of preparations.

The Moomins are practical and dressing up the tree confuses Moomin Mamma for awhile, since she does not have such big clothing.

The Moomins desire to give joy to others shine through. As always they are generous even to strangers.  Story of Christmas spirit.

Moomins get a Christmas tree.

Monday, December 2, 2019

Small big story about Christmas

Réka Király 2019: Pieni suuri tarina joulusta

Hedgehog, Mouse, Bunny and Fox are preparing for Christmas. Two days before Christmas they realize that they do not have a Christmas tree.  The best trees are at the Bear's house. But none of them has met the Bear. They have only heard he is big and scary.

Together they take the challenge on and begin their journey to the Bear's house. Soon Fox remembers that he left soup on the stone and runs back home.  Mouse and Bunny also invent an excuse and Hedgehog is left alone to fetch the tree. Hedgehog meets the Bear, which is not that scary after all.

In the end all animals celebrate Christmas together. Bear must have been pretty lonely, when everyone has been afraid of him

Wednesday, November 27, 2019

Cardbord games

Vuokko Hurme & Suvi-Tuuli Junttila 2019: Leikkimään, pahvi!

Recycling is very much in. This book shows, all kinds of things you can do from cardboard: chairs, planes even a city.
Leila is a bit bored, luckily there is cardboard, so she lets her imagination run wild and creates new worlds.

The book also includes instrunctions on how to make all these lovely things.

I think its wonderful, how kids are encouraged to use all kinds of materials. In my experience that is what they do in preschool and even in lower grades in school. At least I have been asked to bring milk carton, toilet paper shells and other materials for the boys to do crafts.

This is fabulous!

Wednesday, November 6, 2019

Stones in pocket

Salla Saarni 2019: Kiviä taskussa, koko perheen kivikirja

The history of our bedrock. Fachinating book about stones. Granite is the most common stone in Finland, but there is more: we all know about Scandinavian mountains, which also spread to the north of Finland, but Finland once had own mountain region (1800 million years ago) Svekofennids.

All kinds of other interesting facts about the surface of earth and the history of our planet.  I thought the Finnish bedrock is boring, since we do not have any volcanoes, but that is not the case.  We had ice age,  we might have dinosaurs, but there is a reason why we do not have any fossils: basically it has all been erased by ice.

The book also gives advice on how to start your own stone collection, which I do not encourage my boys to do.  It also suggests  locations for interesting stone related sights. And I agree, even some of the bedrock that was blown away to build roads is very impressive.

Finland traveled even in the equator
My younger son actually read the whole book.  And he is a very picky reader. I'd like to think that the steady bedrock that we live on has some part of us being reliable Finns. We are solid as a rock, no drama (well for most of us).

Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Small book about emotions

Anne-Maria Kuusela 2019: Pieni kirja tunteista
Illustrations by Matias Teittinen

I previously wrote about Rounders, which teach kids about emotions.

This small book collects all the animals we read about before.  The Angry Crab, frightened penguin, nice giraffe. My personal favourite: zen flamingos.

As I so many times repeat myself: all humans need to word the emotions, so they can understand themselves and others. For example: if you encounter an angry person, do not let them suck you into their anger. Recognize their anger and realize there might be other reasons than you, which make them angry.  Fear is another important emotion to be recognized. Many time fear creates anger. 

I heard that the Finnish hockey team won the world championship, because the learned how to talk about their emotions.  Now we need to teach the parents by the hockey rink to do the same and not to rage to the referees and opponents.

Wednesday, October 9, 2019

The handbook of a young archaeologist

Ilari Aalto 2019: Jatulintarhoja ja hiidenkiukaita : nuoren arkeologin käsikirja
Illustrated by Elina Helkala

This book is fascinating! I even learned a few new Finnish words. All the things you learn, when you read. And  I couldn't decide, which picture to have here, so I took several.

The book is a guide in seeing things under our feet. Why is the medieval outhouse a treasure trove to the archaeologists?  The Egyptians weren't the only to use the shape of the pyramid. Of course, ours is much smaller and modest, but the burial of the dead was a ritual here in the  North as well. And they were not called pyramids, but hiidenkiuas (the stove in sauna). Very interesting. The book goes backward in time all the way to the stone age. Just keep digging.

Nature is very much present in the diggings, the Ukonkivi island in Lapland was a sacred place for Sami people.  And many other natural formations were important to people in the past. And they should be in the present.

Medieval Cities in Finland (as a province of Sweden)
One thing that bothers me is that as Finland was part of Sweden for hundreds of years, the name of the country is Sweden-Finland in all the study books. Why? There never was such a country: there was only Sweden and Finland was only its province, like Skåne. We never hear about a country called Sweden-Skåne.  Are we so petty that we need to exaggerate our importance?

Pyramids of the North

Stone of Ukko

Tuesday, October 1, 2019

Monster Tournament

Pasi Pitkänen: Hirviöturnajaiset 2019

Princess Rola has a monster tournament every year. Eren is big fan of the monsters and tournaments.
One day Eren finds an egg on the beach. Eren hopes it will be the most horrific monster ever.  But the creature is nothing like that.
Princess Rolan challenges Eren to the tournament against her Storm Snail. Eren and Pomelo (the creature) start practising.

In my family is raging a huge Pokemon Go fever and this book is very much in the spirit of the game. I enjoyed the illustrations, but I couldn't stop wondering, why would Eren want the princess, she seemed like a bully and very competitive person. But maybe the status of marrying a princess is important and maybe I did not understand the true nature of Rola. Cute book any way.