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It Also Requires Great Honesty

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Axel Washes the Rug follows a little boy that tries to hide his mistake and fix things himself, only to make things worse. What was the inspiration for your story?

This book about little Axel is part of a series where he invents this and that, mostly with her friend Ava. I like to write about initiatives where children’s willingness to experiment sometimes exceeds their skills and ability to handle different situations. It’s good to see that one can survive difficulties and understand that help is often needed and available.

This book focuses on Axel’s visit to Grandma and the problems caused by blueberries. Sounds harmless, but difficulties tend to pile up – especially if you start covering up mistakes. This series is for parents, too, because children learn to be independent and adventurous within reasonable limits with wise guidance.

Every adult is sure to remember similar events from their childhood. I’d like to share a memory from my early years. This case of mine also involves danger. I was five years old when my sister was baptized, and we had relatives visiting. Everyone enjoyed the coffee and cakes inside the house. But I slipped into a liter with wood to be sawn. I was very interested in trying a sharp tool, but it was more complicated than I thought. The result was a wound on my wrist. Luckily it was just on the surface but very sore! I didn’t dare tell anyone about the incident. I was ashamed, as I had taken a risk in secret and harmed myself.

Now, I wish I had talked to adults instead of keeping quiet. That alternative should always be open – even when the children feel they have been disobedient.

Do you think children’s books should have a message or lesson, or is it ok just to write something fun?

I appreciate the diversity of children’s literature. There is a need for very different books because, after all, children and their families have their particular needs and situations.

In my opinion, children’s literature is like nature, which I love. It should have a place for all possible creatures – big and small, tame and wild. For every kind of flower, berry, and tree. And it can adapt to all types of weather and all seasons.

The authors should have the opportunity to express what is important and natural to them. If the author has something serious or educational to say, perhaps that is the scene to focus on. If some writers are funny storytellers and like to make jokes and play with words, their pens will surely bring joy to many. In this way, the stores and libraries are filled with the best possible books, and readers have a lot to choose from.

I often choose even very challenging topics for my books – subjects that others rather avoid. I trust that I have something special to give on that side through my own life experience. Of course, I also write in a lighter style sometimes – about parenting, for example. But even then, there are relevant things between the lines.

What, to you, are the most important elements of good writing?

I want to emphasize the responsibility of the author in writing a manuscript. It also requires great honesty.

Good writing starts with a genuine desire to give something to your readers. The author must have something unique to offer. It may be a meaningful topic, verbally skillful or fun text, or something to boost the readers’ thinking or encourage them.

In addition, the author must seriously aim to ensure that the message is delivered as professionally as possible. No sloppy solutions or stories just for commercial purposes are acceptable. Children are morally a valuable target group, and they deserve the best building blocks for their lives.

How do you process and deal with negative book reviews?

To be honest, I am not such a well-known author that my works would be reviewed too often. I welcome all the feedback if sincere and profound enough. One always hopes that the critic has really read the book with an open mind and without prejudice.

Of course, I read each review very carefully. You must always be ready to develop your work. Not even a negative review hurts when I know I have given my best and try to get even better next time.

If you feel that you have been misunderstood or mistreated, it is always possible to kindly contact the reviewer. Few of us do so because that act would easily be interpreted as a mere sore mind and low self-esteem. Many years back, I got such a critic concerning my way of working as an independent publisher that I was annoyed. The writer of the critic had no understanding at all of how my small, independent publishing house worked and what was possible or not then. I felt offended but decided to prove my point by continuing my chosen path with good results!

Fortunately, the reviews I have got so far have been very encouraging.

One of the first book reviews that I still remember particularly well came from one respected literature professional. This critic said that my “Between the Walls” is a wise book. She had perfectly analyzed and understood my aims. I’ve been keeping this review in my mind as a driving force to write more.

I talked earlier about authors’ responsibility. The critics have a significant obligation, too, and they should never misuse their power. Professional and constructive evaluations are essential for the whole book business.

Just one last remark; the best evaluation of my books comes from the eyes of the children who are listening to my stories. I simply love the moments when I can witness the sparkle and interest there.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

By accident, Axel stains his grandmother’s rug with blueberries. During Granny’s afternoon nap, he tries to correct the mistake all by himself. The result is a surprise for both of them!

Axel Washes the Rug

Axel is a little boy visiting Granny for the afternoon. She decides today’s snack will be blueberries. Axel loves blueberries and can’t wait to eat them. Unfortunately, someone comes to the door, and Granny has to go talk to them. Axel, unable to wait, grabs the bowl of blueberries and spills them on the floor. He tries cleaning up the mess, but they have left blue splashes of color all over Granny’s light-colored rug. Feeling bad, he flips the rug over to hide the mess. During nap time, Axel sneaks to the kitchen and drags the rug into the bathroom to wash. He has the right idea but accidentally puts bleach into the tub with the rug. Now Axel has to tell Granny what happened.

Axel Washes the Rug, written by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Nyamdorj Lkhaasuren, is a heartwarming picture book about asking for help, taking responsibility for your actions, and forgiveness. Axel tries to do things on his own but, in the end, needs to ask for help. He tried to hide things when he stained the rug and while trying to fix it accidentally made things worse, so he admitted he had done something wrong to his Granny and feared the worst. However, Granny is more worried about Axel getting hurt with the bleach than her rug.

Children will see when reading this story that it is important to let adults know when there is an accident and let them help fix things. It also shows that just because they make mistakes does not mean they will not be loved. Granny showed compassion and love to Axel even though her rug was ruined. The message that people are more valuable than things comes through with the text and the illustrations.

The illustrations are fun and colorful. The style of the drawings is appealing to children, and the emotions are evident in the pictures. You can follow the story through just the illustrations as the details and expressions match what the author has written.

Axel Washes the Rug is an entertaining and meaningful picture book with important messages presented in a way that preschoolers and kindergarteners will be able to understand. Teachers and parents will love sharing this feel-good story with kids.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B09K49ZVVG

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