Midsummer children’s news: prizes and reviews for Leinonen, Parkkinen, Pitkänen and Simukka

With Midsummer upon us, we are thrilled to see more good news and reviews rolling in for our authors’ latest books across picture book, middle-grade and YA.

Monster Nanny illustrator Pasi Pitkänen’s endearing jungle island adventure picture book, The Island of Lost Animals, recently sold in China, has been warmly reviewed by Finnish literary bloggers for its warm yet cautionary tale of wildlife species decline:

“Pasi Pitkänen has succeeded with his first solo publication, which gets my recommendation. The illustrations are truly excellent.”  Kirjavinkit blog, Finland

My expectations were rewarded with this book and its superb illustrations. It is thrilling, touching and yet humourous with its cartoon-like pictures.[…] Pitkänen’s action-packed adventure tackles an important and timely issue, that of conservation and protection of wildlife and the natural habitat.”  Luentaanko tämä blog, Finland

In other adventures, Leena Parkkinen and illustrator Jussi Karjalainen’s exotic backyard adventure, Little Brother’s Marvellous Expedition continues to garner praise from reviewers:

“Children’s literature might be the last territory where anarchy is order and the unconventional is wished for. Echoes of these can be found in abundance in the work of Leena Parkkinen and Jussi Karjalainen. – – A healthy phenomenon is that children’s literature can handle societal themes with the aid of allegories. What does not necessarily open up immediately, might simmer in the subconscious and become a life-changing revelation later on.” – Turun Sanomat newspaper, Finland

We are so thrilled that Salla Simukka’s middle-grade novel Sisterland won Finland’s LukuVarkaus prize last week. Established by the town of Varkaus and paper company Stora Enso, the LukuVarkaus prize is awarded to a children’s book published in the previous year by a jury of school-age children. Congratulations again to Salla!

And more reviews for Anne Leinonen’s YA fantasy, Bookwitch; the first volume of Anne’s recently-published YA duology received another review this week:

“There are nice pinches of romance and suspense, and a surprising twist in the end, as I thought there would be. The story is thought-out and well-presented to the reader, guaranteeing a pleasant read.” – Dysphoria blog, Finland 

Even with its fast-paced twists and turns, it’s a wonderfully relaxing comfort read.” — Helsingin Sanomat newspaper, Finland

Our warmest Midsummer greetings and good wishes to you, one and all!

About author

Anne Leinonen

Anne Leinonen (b.1973) is a multiple-award winning, key author, tutor and editor of Finnish science fiction and fantasy. Her most recent publication is the first volume of a YA urban fantasy duology, Bookwitch (Kirjanoita), which will be followed by Witchbook (Noitakirja) in 2018.

Leinonen’s short stories have been published in magazines and anthologies, earning her several Atorox awards (voted for by fans). Her science fiction novels, Viivamaalari and Ilottomien ihmisten kylä were published to positive reviews, as well as a trilogy, Routasisarukset, written in collaboration with Eija Lappalainen, In addition to writing YA and adult fiction, she has now started to work on audio and television dramas.

Anne Leinonen moves fluidly between science fiction and fantasy. Her texts deal with themes of otherness and unfamiliarity, as well as conflicts between the community and the individual. Nature plays an important part in her work, as a vehicle for the story, the stage of action and on a symbolic level. Leinonen’s prose is taut, with no superficial descriptions. Instead, she takes her readers right in to the middle of events and the lives of her characters. Her use of language shows talent and uniqueness, favouring experimentation with different styles and often works on several pieces at the same time. She is especially renowned for her collaborations with other writers.

About author

Leena Parkkinen

Leena Parkkinen has authored three prize-winning adults’ novels set in 20th century Europe, often about people living at the margins society. Her skillful use of detail is often imbued with an element of suspense. She has also written two children’s story books.

Parkkinen has received numerous literary awards, such as Helsingin Sanomat Literature Prize for the best debut (2009), Academic Bookshop’s Bestselling Debut Prize (2009), Laila Hirvisaari Award (2010) and the Kalevi Jäntti Prize (2013), in addition to being nominated for the Tulenkantaja Export Prize 2017. Her works have been translated into seven languages to date.

About author

Pasi Pitkänen

Pasi Pitkänen has become known for his richly detailed illustrative work on several children’s books such as the extremely popular Monster Nanny trilogy by Tuutikki Tolonen. He has also worked at Rovio Entertainment as an illustrator, character designer, and graphic designer. Pitkänen is the illustrator of the popular Kepler62 series and the author of two Children's titles Monster Tournament and The Island of Lost Animals.

Among Pitkänen’s hobbies are quantum physics, people-watching, B-movies, insects and baking.

About author

Salla Simukka

Salla Simukka is the author of the international success story The Snow White Trilogy: rights are sold in 53 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. Simukka has been nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award  every year 2021–2024. Where It All Begins, published in 2022, is her first novel for adults and in 2024 she started a collaboration with JP Ahonen on a middle grade novel.

Previously Simukka has written book reviews for the newspapers, translated all kinds of texts into Finnish, worked as an editor at a literary magazine and as a screenwriter for a popular TV show for young audiences.  She has also been working on the programme of Turku Book Fair in 2017–2020.