I Write for the Benefit of Children

Tuula Pere Author Interview

You Can Fly, Little Bird follows three sibling birds and how they are different from each other and that it is ok to be different. Why was this an important book for you to write?

There were three children in my own childhood home, each with a particular personality from the very beginning. The nest was everyone to share, but each child had their way of approaching the world around and testing one’s skills there. In the three little birds of the book, I recognize many traits from my own sibling series.

It is not always easy for parents to find a suitable way to encourage different children. First, they must know the children well enough; their skills must be valued and supported. You can help with choices, but it is not good to influence the direction too much.

As I wrote my book, it was interesting to experience the perspective of three different siblings leaving the nest – through birds’ eyes. One is longing for the top of the mountain, with its strong winds, and is not afraid of danger. The other one is an explorer by nature, and for the last sibling, the nearby forest is a suitably safe place.

I think this book is necessary for both children and their parents, who hopefully read it together. The story provides an opportunity for deep discussion about children’s needs and desires. At the same time, it reminds parents of the individuality of each child.

When you’re writing an emotional or difficult scene, how do you set the mood?

When I write a story, it takes me entirely with it. Actually, the whole story has already been born before this somewhere in my head. Writing is really just about putting a story into text. Its content and atmosphere already exist for me.

I hope and trust that my readers will sense the authenticity of the moods that I describe. I don’t strive and push any mood. I live a genuine atmosphere of the story myself. I don’t like pretending, not even in writing fairytales.

With my most difficult and sensitive stories, I have cried myself. While my own emotional turmoil can be intense, I want to filter it out so that the reading child finds the book safe and encouraging anyway. There is always at least a hopeful ending to my fairytales.

I have also shed tears of joy when writing stories. I rejoice at the family getting back home after the war. I am happy when Colin the Crab, who lives alone in his cozy house, finally finds his beloved spouse. There are many big and small moments of happiness in my fairy tales.

In real life, joys and sorrows are often present simultaneously, which is possible even in a story aimed at children. No reason to hide that! Children understand much more than adults will ever believe!

What book (or books) are you currently reading?

I recently bought a pile of books published by the Finnish Literature Society. I am now reading a travelogue from 1828, written by Elias Lönnrot. In English, the title would be “The Wanderer.” Lönnrot has many literary and linguistical accomplishments – the most famous being the Finnish national epic, Kalevala.

He wandered for months in remote areas, met ordinary people in the countryside, and gathered Finnish oral tradition. Many of the places described in this book are familiar to me.

It is touching to read the observations of Lönnrot, a wise and attentive person, about nature and people two hundred years ago. The world is changing, but some things remain the same. Fortunately, there are always people who love both poems and stories and the language in which they are told.

I could praise Lönnrot even more, but let it be enough to say that in this book, too, he shows his intelligence, attentiveness, and sense of humor as well.

Has writing and publishing a book changed the way you see yourself?

I have written and published over 50 original stories. Each of them means a lot to me in its own way. I have incorporated some of my thinking and heart into all of them. When I’m writing my stories, I also think very deeply about my life and everything I’ve experienced. I could claim to be having a discussion together with my text. At the same time, it influences and develops my own thinking.

Especially when writing about the most demanding topics, I go very deep into my thinking and morals, even if it may just be reflected in what I write on the lines. So, the writing process touches my heart. I need to be sure about and in balance with everything I write. I feel that it’s my responsibility to the young readers and their families. I demand a lot from myself in this regard.

Before becoming a children’s author and publisher, I had professionally done a lot in my life. Although my career in legal posts and corporate management was meaningful and rewarding, I feel I am fulfilling the most important calling of my life now, in children’s literature.

When I look back on my life, it feels natural that I have ended up as a children’s writer and publisher. It combines my love for children, writing, and social impact – in a gentle way. Even my background as a Ph.D. in Law can be put to good use in children’s literature as its moral backbone.

Becoming a children’s author has not made me see myself differently, as I feel always being the same person – just in different roles. But I genuinely feel the joy that I have gotten closer to myself.

The most important thing is to connect with my readers’ minds. Nothing coming from outside of this relationship affects how I see this task. I don’t try to please anybody; I just honestly write for the benefit of children. I’m not sure if this change is due to the new path I chose or is simply due to growing older. Either way, it feels good and natural.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

In a bird family’s nest, three baby birds hatch from their eggs. Cautious Serene is the last one born. The noises of the dense forest are frightening to the timid little bird. When it’s time to fly, unlike her siblings, she just can’t find the courage to take wing.
Finally, curiosity wins over fear, and Serene discovers that her wings can keep her aloft. Once she gets to know her surroundings, she finds joy in her skill. She also finds there’s plenty of space for all kinds of birds in the forest, including timid Serene.

Posted on June 1, 2022, in Interviews and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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