Dazzling reviews for Maresi and Freya, and the latest new deals

As the days draw in and the festive season begins, December has started off exceptionally well for our children’s and YA authors: a starred pre-publication review for the US edition of Maria Turtschaninoff’s feminist fantasy Maresi; a starred Kirkus review for Matthew Laurence’s YA novel, Freya; a raft of reviews for Salla Simukka’s middle-grade Sisterland; the fifteenth foreign deal for Monster Nanny in Bosnia & Herzegovina; and Riikka Jäntti’s adorable Little Mouse’s Christmas will be entertaining little ones (and parents alike) in the UK, Australia & New Zealand.

Riding the wave of Film4’s recent film newsMaresi’January release in the US has garnered two new pre-publication reviews from Publisher’s Weekly (starred) and YA blog, The Books Buzz:

“Ground-breaking. Heartbreaking. A story about sisterhood, feminism, and inner-strength. Maresi will capture reader’s hearts, both male and female alike. I think every gender can learn something from this book. From the world-building, magic, to the emergence of a strong female voice, this book was definitely a 5/5 star read for me.” – TheBooksBuzz

Click to request reading material for Maresi

Freya, the first instalment of Matthew Laurence’s exciting YA trilogy about an ancient goddess in a modern world is already wowing the critics in advance of its March 2017 publication with a glowing, starred review:

“Like a Rick Riordan-Terry Pratchett mashup, this series debut blends philosophy (free will, destiny, faith), humor, multidimensional characters, and a fast-moving, well-constructed plot into a compulsively entertaining read.”  Kirkus, starred review
Read the full review here

Click to request reading material for the Freya trilogy

SisterlandSalla Simukka’s magical middle-grade story of friendship and adventure has enchanted critics in Finland; here’s a round-up of the latest praise:

“The plot flows effortlessly and the language of the story is beautiful. The powers of imagination and friendship are at the core of the novel. Especially magnificent is the way Simukka writes about girls, friendship and strength.” – Ibby Finland blog

“It’s uniqueness lies in Sisterland’s imaginary folk, dream weavers, wind fairies, asking-flowers and many others.” – Keskisuomalainen newspaper, Finland

“Sisterland, the children’s novel written by Salla Simukka and illustrated by Saku Heinänen, is amazing. In the wonderland of the book there are talking flowers, wind fairies who act according to wind directions and a wolvenfly, who shifts shape from a dragonfly to a wolf. The book refers to The Snow Queen, Frozen and of course to Alice in Wonderland, but is quite in a class of its own. ” – Suomen Kuvalehti magazine

Click to request reading material for Sisterland


  • Monster Nanny by Tuutikki Tolonen to Šahinpašić (Bosnia & Herzegovina) Request 
  • Little Mouse’s Christmas by Riikka Jäntti to Scribble/Scribe (UK & ANZ)

Maria Turtschaninoff


Maria Turtschaninoff is known for crafting lyrical, historically inspired fantasy stories starring strong female protagonists. In addition to J.R.R. Tolkien, she counts Philip Pullman, Ursula K. Le Guin and C.S. Lewis among her favorite authors. She is a two-time winner of the Society of Swedish Literature Prize, a nominee for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, and winner of the 2014 Finlandia Junior Prize. Maria has a Master of Arts in human ecology and works full-time as a writer.

Matthew Laurence

Matthew Laurence has been a writer and game designer for more than eight years. He is consistently delighted that he actually gets paid to make games. His career has taken him from Orlando to San Francisco, Helsinki and Munich. In addition to playing games of all kinds, Matthew writes and cooks, travels with his wife whenever (and wherever) possible, and maintains an unhealthy relationship with Netflix.

The Freya YA series is produced in collaboration with Kaiken Publishing, an affiliate company of Rovio Entertainment. It continues and builds on Rovio’s publishing programs while also developing new stories, worlds and characters.

Riikka Jäntti

Riikka Jäntti, a 2003 graduate of Helsinki’s School of Art and Design, now part of Aalto University, is a Helsinki-based illustrator and author who has created art for both nonfiction and fairy tale books for children. Her first children’s book was published in 2005. Jäntti is best known for the adorable Little Mouse series that has been sold to 13 territories, including Australia, Nepal, and China !

In her illustrations she uses pen and ink as well as watercolor and gouache. In 2009 Jäntti won the first ever Tieto-Lauri, an award for children’s and juvenile non-fiction, for her illustrations in Viidakkotanssi (Jungle Dance). The book was written by Markku Löytönen about the explorer Rafael Karsten in Ecuador.

Author photo by Veikko Somerpuro.

Salla Simukka

Salla Simukka is the author of the international success story The Snow White Trilogy: rights are sold in 52 territories and in Hollywood. She has written several novels for young readers and her accolades include the Topelius Prize 2013 and the Finland Prize 2013.

Previously Simukka has written book reviews for the newspapers, translated all kinds of texts into Finnish, worked an editor at a literary magazine and as a screenwriter for a popular TV show for young audiences. These days she writes books for young adults and children, and travels the world talking about them.