Author: Leena Kirstinä

Earth, tree, wind

30 September 2005 | Authors, Reviews

Kirsi KunnasLeena Kirstinä on the iconoclastic and pioneering poet – for children and adults – Kirsi Kunnas

Fifty years ago the poet Kirsi Kunnas liberated Finnish children’s poetry from its boring didacticism: she revived ancient nursery rhymes, fables and epigrams that can parody human frailties and fabricate fairy-tale social criticism. Her hilarity, brilliance and linguistic virtuosity have charmed readers of all ages.

A post-war Finnish modernist, Kunnas (born 1924) published her début volume, Villiomenapuu (‘Crabapple tree’, WSOY), in 1947. In the 1950s her children’s volume, Tiitiäisen satupuu (‘The Tumpkin’s wonder tree’, 1956), rejuvenated children’s poetry. Her translations of the classical English nursery-rhymes in Old Mother Goose helped her to enhance the ways of writing fantasy, humour and nonsense. More…

Journeys to friendship

Issue 4/1983 | Archives online, Authors

Hannu Mäkelä

Hannu Mäkelä. Photo: Hannes Heikura

Hannu Mäkelä (born 1943) is known primarily in Finland as a noteworthy prose-writer, poet and dramatist; he also works as a department head for Otava, one of the leading publising houses. When, in 1973, Hannu Mäkelä published his first children’s book, Herra Huu (‘Mr Boo’), it came as a surprise to many people.

Luckily for Finnish children’s literature that was only the start; the book had two sequels. In 1974 Herra Huu saa naapurin (‘Mr Boo gets a neighbour’) appeared, followed in 1975 by Herra Huu muuttaa (‘Mr Boo moves house’). After that Mr Boo left his new flat to go on a long journey with a witch called Ernestiina, and hasn’t been heard of since. Hannu Mäkelä’s next books for children were Hevonen joka hukkasi silmälasinsa (‘The horse who lost his glasses’, 1977), Kalle-Juhani ja kaverit (‘Kalle-Juhani and the gang’, 1981) and Pekka Peloton (‘Pekka the brave’, 1982). With these six books, Hannu Mäkelä has come to be regarded as a classic children’s writer.