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The Fox’s Tower

The Fox’s Tower tells the story of one sly fox who thinks he knows better than everyone else. Francis, despite prior trouble, still wants to be the best at something. His latest plan is to build the tallest building in the city. His plan starts out well, following all the rules and listening to the experts, but quickly his desire for fame takes over, and his smart decision-making falls to the side. Instead of making his dreams come true, he returns to his sneaky ways and ends up with a pile of regrets.

Tuula Pere has written an entertaining cautionary story for children. This children’s book helps children understand that having big dreams is ok, but you must still follow the rules and do the right thing to achieve them. It also helps children understand that some dreams are unrealistic and cannot be done physically. For example, Fox’s tower was a big dream but could not be built safely or structurally. It is a hard lesson for children to learn that being told something can not be done is not an attack on them but just a fact of life. Francis learns this the hard way so that children can learn from his mistakes.

Another lesson in this beautiful picture book is that of forgiveness and second chances. The town council was worried about Francis and his past misdeeds, but they were willing to give him another opportunity to do the right thing. Of course, they were all cautious about helping Francis, but in the end, they did give him a chance and show that bad decisions do not mean someone is unworthy.

The Fox’s Tower is a beautifully written children’s book sharing life lessons with children and making them laugh along the way. This is a wonderful book for younger elementary children to learn about cause and effect and about how everyone deserves a second chance.

Pages: 44 | ISBN : 9523578375

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The Fox’s Palace

Francis the Fox is living in the city near the sea. He wants his family to be proud of him, and he sends them photos and letters saying how wonderful he is doing. The problem is, it is all a lie, so he doesn’t want his family to come to visit him. Francis, however, comes up with a plan to make all his lies the truth and build his dream of Fox’s Palace. He makes some poor choices and tricks people into trying and making his dream a reality, but in the end, he discovers it doesn’t pay to lie and cheat people.

Children’s author Tuula Pere has written yet another fantastic and meaningful children’s book. This story teaches kids about the value of being honest and how being untruthful will only cause more considerable trouble in the end. Francis learns this by ending up in jail. While the message is important, it is told gently so that kindergarten children and young elementary students can comprehend it.

I loved the artwork done by Andrea Alemanno, the seaside was beautiful, and the characters really came to life. The colorful images will draw in children and the detailed work will keep them engaged throughout the story. Despite Francis being a sneaky fox, he does not come across as scary or evil. This helps to show that even when people make bad choices, they are not bad people. Mayor William Wolf allows Francis to see what he did was wrong and forgives him while ensuring that the fox knows he can not treat people so poorly.

Tuula Pere has taken some challenging topics and presented them so that children can follow along and understand actions have consequences. This beautiful children’s book would make a great addition to a classroom or library with an important message on how people should treat one another and the value of honesty.

Pages: 44 | ISBN : 9523572865

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I Believe In The Power Of Words

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Fox’s City is the delightful tale of one fox’s plan to outwit a city and have his way. What was the inspiration for the setup to your story?

The adventures of Francis the Fox reflect social and political setups in many countries as well as in international contexts – unfortunately. Stories start to live in my head when I read or hear something absurd, annoying, or unreasonable in the news or public discussion.

My background as a Ph.D. in Law is sometimes reflected in my fox stories, where the appropriateness and legality are constantly tested, and the boundaries are sometimes crossed. Social justice and the rights of individuals are valuable to me, and I want to speak for them. As my tool to influence, I have chosen the one I feel most comfortable with, the use of words.

I believe in the power of words. I want to write about social and political problems in a way that works for children. I think children’s books can prepare them to meet certain realities they encounter in the world – at least as they grow up.

When reading “The Fox’s City” with adult eyes, we find some severe themes between the lines. It talks about the pursuit of power by any means, societal manipulation, and limitations on freedom of speech. Telling about the activities and wrongdoings of this power-hungry fox makes children think about justice and the effects and consequences of different actions. Nothing wrong with opening one’s eyes already at an early age!

All of your books are so artful and creative. What is your writing process like?

Thank you! Hearing this makes an author happy! As I write books, I try to give my best. I genuinely value children as a target group. I try to reach a level that is more than pure entertainment – though I understand it’s needed, too. I have been fortunate to find skilled and ambitious illustrators for my books. They add their spices to the stories and interpret them in a visually exciting way. I find this co-operation very stimulating.

In my stories, I want to combine child-like and free imagination and creativity with the knowledge and experience of life I have gathered. There is so much to remember and share!

Sometimes it feels like having an endless story library or warehouse in my head. I can adventure there alone and taste the content, or I can pick something out and write a story for others if I feel like that. I can honestly say that writing is like breathing for me—an equally important and equally natural way to live.

I write when I am happy, excited, sad, or irritable — whenever there is a lively movement in my mind and thoughts need to be expressed in words to others. But I also write when there is peace of mind and a calm feeling prevails. Emotional states affect what kind of things I want to write about and how I do it.

Often the stories are almost ready-made packages in my head. I can take them out whenever I need to. The stimulus can come from inside or outside of me. When writing starts, it’s a go! I enjoy the flow of the story, and I can’t stop in the middle. The time for a more detailed examination and corrections will come later. Before that, the intense feeling must calm down.

What do you find to be the hardest part of writing?

As a continuation of the previous answer, I could say that the most challenging stages in my work are placed on both sides of the actual writing stage.

Before the story gets on paper, the biggest dilemma is the overwhelming amount of ideas. I’m so excited about so many writing possibilities all the time that it’s hard to choose which one to tackle first. I would like to accomplice so much simultaneously that it exceeds the strength of one person. I have to limit and control my enthusiasm!

The congestion of ideas I described above is a positive dilemma that I actually enjoy. More problematic is the phase after creative writing, where you have to delve into grinding, editing, and proofreading the text. It would be wonderful if I could leave that later stage more in the hands of others, and I could just grab another inspiring story and write a new book about it.

Will readers be able to see Francis the Fox in any of your future books?

I have already published two books about this fox villain, “The Fox’s City” and “The Fox’s Palace,” and the following three books are in the process already.

Francis the Fox has become such a “friend” to me that I must continue with him! I completed the Finnish version of the third book in the series yesterday, and the next two are waiting for my “summer vacation.” The following subjects are also captured from the society and politics around, and the storylines are ready in my head for writing out.

Writing about society and politics in a child-appropriate way will be much fun again! I believe a suitable amount of satire also works in children’s books! Especially if the protagonist is a villain like my Francis the Fox. I have to admit, writing about villains and various bad guys is sometimes fun. I can bring up contradictions and create moral tests for the readers. But goodness and honesty always win at the end of my stories.

Interestingly, some of my readers have wished Francis the Fox “tougher penalties” in the end. In real life, it might have happened. But a fairy tale is a fairy tale, and Francis continues his journey into new attempts and mistakes. Just wait for the following three books to come! Very current subjects!

I think children need clever books about society, too. After all, we have to try to understand this strange world starting from our childhood.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Francis the Fox has great plans for the future. Leaving his den behind, he marches to the city in his shiny boots to meet the mayor, William the Wolf.
When the old wolf mayor goes on a fishing trip on a deserted island, Francis talks him into letting Francis serve as substitute mayor. But Francis’s greed for power and actions quickly make city residents uneasy. There’s something suspicious going on in the library attic, and the city’s carrier pigeons have disappeared mysteriously.
Will Francis ruin the upcoming soccer match with a rival team? And will it be a friendly match as always before?

Diplomacy Of The Heart

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Between the Walls follows a wondering traveler that comes across two towns that are divided by two walls and works to reunite them. What was the inspiration for this story?

In real life, there are many situations between both people and different groups in society where a mediator is needed. His role is not easy because it requires both sensitivity and strength.

The mediator must be a person that the parties to the dispute and conflict can rely on. Independent and fair in one’s actions. This diplomate needs to be able to listen, understand different points of view, and find compromises that can connect as many people as possible behind them. The solutions that are created must seem fair and justified to everyone. So the task is extremely demanding!

I chose this topic for my children’s book because it’s good to introduce this kind of thinking about resolving disagreements as early as possible. I call this approach “diplomacy of the heart.”

Of course, the use of the brain must not be forgotten, but it is often taken more for granted. In general, too little attention is paid to the human factors that guide our solutions, even at the highest levels of society and the world.

It would be helpful for adults to keep in mind the basics of a child’s way of looking at the world. The protagonist of my book represents such common sense and a natural way of treating people even when they live across borders and behind walls.

Did the personality for Leo’s character come from anyone you know in real life?

Fortunately, there are a lot of people like Leo in the world. They are everywhere and in all kinds of roles in society.

Many go unnoticed because they don’t make much noise about their activities. Nevertheless, they are essential for the whole community. They may have a bearing on the wellbeing of all the others, as they prevent problems from escalating and resolve them in case others are unable to do it alone. Their performance may be invisible, even though it is a crucial adhesive and lubricant for the entire “interplay machine.” We find these people in their homes, jobs, and hobbies.

I am also interested in the dynamics of high political life at the societies and the international level. Fortunately, there are active mediators and organizations – with Leo’s type of motivations, too. They work both nationally and globally, even at very high levels and positions. Their actions are not only guided by cold facts, but they are also able to understand situations through their human dimension. As those skills can also be used for evil purposes, the motive of such an organizer is crucial.

At their best, for example, heads of state and prominent representatives of peace organizations can do a lot of good and take the international debate toward the common good.

What is a significant way your book has changed since the first draft?

My stories don’t change much during the writing process. Often the whole story is intact and pretty finished in my head even before I sit at the computer. This same applies to Between the Walls. Of course, I still read it through many times, made minor refinements, and corrected the language.

I also do this finetuning when I participate in translations into English or Swedish. I speak those two languages myself. Interlingual “cultural interpretation” sometimes brings up interesting details.

Collaboration with illustrators is an exciting step, too. Sometimes I still grind some points even then to make the interaction between the illustration and the text as seamless and smooth as possible. This phase may require changing the name or color of the bird species or plant in the text. But like I said, the main lines in the book are strong and remain from the beginning.

If you could spend a day with another popular author, whom would you choose?

A natural choice for me to meet would be Zachris Topelius (1818-1898). We have a lot in common regarding our general interests and roles in society. True love for telling stories for children and improving their knowledge and wellbeing is something we share, too.

Although my work and influence as a writer are far more limited than Topelius’, I strongly connect to the idea of defending the weakest in society with various literary means. I respect his work for families and those who were less fortunate in the community. I consider myself working for the same purposes, so we certainly had a lot to discuss.

The power of rich imagination and a warm heart in stories is irresistible. Topelius combined facts and fiction in his vast children’s book production and kept his goals clear throughout his long career as an author, journalist, and respected scholar. Topelius used all his skills and positions in society to make a difference. In the same way, I think the weakest in life need the strongest defenders. The more fortunate should use their abilities to help others in whatever position there have.

If I could meet Topelius, I’d love to use the “time capsule” and meet him both in his time in 19th century Helsinki and today’s independent Finland. I would be happy to show him how the Finnish society has improved in social and educational aspects and become a genuine democracy to provide even better possibilities for everyone. I think he would be pleased and proud.

Like Topelius, I also love history and nature. We would undoubtedly ponder the changing societies and nature around us. We could take a long walk outside to admire forests and shores of lakes and the sea. I could take some photos and videos with my mobile and let him be surprised.

To end the day, I could repeat one of his thoughts that I like a lot – “… open the window and allow the air from the world to flow in!”

After that, I could concentrate on my favorite thing, writing stories for the world’s children – and use both my brain and heart!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

On his sailing trip, Leo the little wanderer arrives at a rocky bay and disembarks on a deserted pier. It belongs to two towns that are feuding furiously with one another.
The angry mayors won’t allow the traveler inside their stone walls. But luckily for Leo, between the two towns lies a piece of land that nobody owns. It is just big enough for his neat little cabin and garden, where many flowers bloom and the beautiful sounds of his violin fill the air.
On warm nights, people climb onto the walls together to admire the view and listen to the music and the sea.
“Would it be better, after all, to tear down the walls that separate us?” the townsfolk begin to wonder.

Between the Walls

Author Tuula Pere and illustrator Andrea Alemanno’s Between the Walls is a tale of two formerly friendly fishing towns estranged by a quarrel for the harbor space. As tensions rise due to boat mishaps, disputes for fishing grounds, and political divergence, the mayors decide to build two walls that leave only the harbor in a no-man’s-land strip between them. The people of the towns were devastated but had to do what the mayors wanted. The children, however, found ways to keep in touch with friends on the other side with kites, and paper plains to pass messages. When one day a kindhearted and resourceful stranger appeared on their shores. When both town mayors refused the stranger a home behind their walls, the stranger, Leo, decided to move into No-mans-land. From his small plot of land, he slowly brought change upon the towns.

The first thing that caught my attention in this captivating children’s book was the art. The illustrations done by Andrea Alemanno are beautifully drawn by hand and the color palettes change with the mood of the story, making for great ambiance and visual transitions.

The plot is built around a classic story setting of two cities divided. The town mayors that made the choices to divide the land hold onto their beliefs, while the towns’ children look for a way to make peace and change their world. The main character, Leo, a nonchalant boy who appears when the towns need guidance and sets sail on his small boat for places unknown when the dispute is solved, is a borderline mystic figure who leaves the reader wondering about where he could possibly have come from and wishing there was more to know about him.

Between the Walls is a thought-provoking picture book that will open up discussion with children about problem-solving and the building of communities. With so many hostilities in the world over resources and land borders, this children’s story is a great way for teachers and adults to explain world events in an age-appropriate manner.

Pages: 20 | ASIN: B07HXF1LQB

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