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Traveling Companions 

When a mountain village is destroyed by a mudslide, the villagers must relocate to the bottom of the mountain. A young boy is injured in the mudslide and has a broken leg. He can not walk with the rest of the villagers, so he remains in what is left of the village with the old village elder and the blind blacksmith. They face the choice of waiting there with little water and food or trying to reach the valley on their own. Together they form a plan to try and reach safety relying on one another.

Traveling Companions by Tuula Pere is a beautiful children’s book about working together and realizing each person’s strengths and values in life. While each of the three companions has a significant physical challenge, they can work together and put their skills to use to survive.

I love how the weakest and most vulnerable are brought into focus for this story. It teaches compassion to those that need it and shows that even when old, sick, or disabled, people still have value and can contribute. Children will learn that everyone has value, even if you can not see it immediately. Each member of the traveling group has an important job. The young boy had food and water that the other two did not, as well as good eyesight, the blacksmith had strength that hey other two lacked, and the elder had knowledge of how to safely get down to the valley.

Traveling Companions is a heartwarming picturebook for classrooms and families that teaches children about diversity and acceptance and that everyone has value in society. The message of teamwork and persistence shines, though, and kids will see that when they work together, they can accomplish things they would not be able to on their own.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B07HYXSPYV

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A Special Sweater 

Eddy is creative and enthusiastic about knitting. After making a pot holder decides he will knit a sweater. He starts by looking at designs in a magazine, then he draws up a plan. Unfortunately, he hits roadblocks towards his goal. His family thinks this project is too much for him and that he can’t get the right yarn and needles to make a project this large. Rather than giving up, Eddy finds ways around these problems and never gives up on his vision. Even when it takes him months to complete the project, he keeps going and finding solutions to every problem he encounters. In the end, Eddy is proud of his hard work and dedication; nothing anyone says will diminish his happiness.

A Special Sweater by children’s author Tuula Pere is a heartwarming children’s book about dedication and determination. Eddy learns to knit, and even when everyone around tells him making a sweater is too much work or trouble, he refuses to give up. Instead, he makes the best of the supplies he is given, even if they are not what he needs or wants for his vision. The ability to adapt to his situation and the make the best is a valuable lesson that children can learn from.

I love how Eddy keeps going, takes every obstacle, and finds a way around it. So many books have things work out easily. This one really showcases how important a good attitude is to turning something into a magical experience. When things don’t work out how he wants he adjusts his vision and perspective to see the project through.

A Special Sweater is an inspirational picture book that will show children that they can achieve their dreams even when there are obstacles in the way. They will learn that having a good attitude is key to finding a way through challenges in life. This is an excellent book for families and classrooms to have.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09K6M3CHL

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Not Just a Writer, an Author

Tuula Pere Author Interview

My Sunflowers follows a young girl that wants to grow sunflowers despite being told she is too young to do it herself. What was the inspiration for this story?

Often children have fun ideas that adults don’t support. The reasons are many; it’s dangerous, takes too much time or money, or disturbs the others. However, we must give space for the child’s natural curiosity and desire to experiment. They must be encouraged to try new things and trust their abilities.

Sometimes children make mistakes – as we all do, and their actions involve a certain amount of danger, but coping with risks is essential for the learning process. Once the children have received basic information and instructions from their parents, it’s gradually time to face the outside world more widely. I was lucky to live in the safe freedom of my childhood. It included many bike rides, forest exploration, and other outdoor activities.

I still remember how exciting it was to go out alone to try new things. Luckily, I never hurt myself worse, even though I climbed tall trees and steep cliffs. I learned to take a suitable number of risks and to survive with odd tasks, people, and places. All those skills have been beneficial later in my life. Without that kind of childhood, I wouldn’t be the person I’m today.

Why did you choose sunflowers for this story over another type of flower?

I have always loved sunflowers, even though I have not grown them myself. They have a lot of energy, both in terms of their name, color, appearance, and height. The sunflower is a positive and proud plant that can be used in many ways. In my story, the size of the sunflowers has its special meaning.

The girl has the challenge of getting the tall flowers to cope with two obstacles. First, large flowers are difficult to grow unnoticed by others. The more significant threat, however, is a storm rising overnight. Long stems and heavy flowers are in danger when a storm blows and rain hits the yard.

The help and advice of a friendly gardener are crucial for the child. With the support of some sticks, the plants withstand the storm and rain.

After My Sunflowers was already published, growing sunflowers and their intense yellow color under a blue sky have become a symbol of staying strong in difficult times. If my book helps somebody keep their head high and trust themselves, I appreciate that.

When did you first call yourself a writer?

First, I’d distinguish between calling myself a writer or an author. I have felt like a writer much earlier than I dared to call myself an author.

Writing has been an essential part of my legal studies and my work as a lawyer and the head of corporate communication in large companies. But that has been non-fiction writing of articles, contracts, and presentations.

I have always written a lot in my free time, too. Those texts have been only occasionally published in some local newspaper or taken part in some competition. The turning point was 2010 when I published my first children’s book Stella and the Magic Stone. At first, I was a little shy to call myself an author because I had started publishing independently through my company Wickwick Ltd. Becoming a member of The Finnish Youth Writers Association and The Association of Finnish Nonfiction Writers encouraged me nationally though my focus has always been mainly international.

Now, after twelve years of active publishing, I finally feel not just a writer but an author, too! I have written and published over 50 original children’s books in several languages and sold translation rights to many international publishers. I still have some connections to my previous professional past, e.g., I recently worked as a contributor to a “Research Handbook on Contract Design” by writing an article about contracts and the human factor.

To sum up. In a broader sense, I have been a writer – also professionally – for about forty years and an author for over a decade. As you can see from this answer, we, lawyers, often make simple things very complex. I may be a little too serious here, but writing is such an important and responsible task for me. I feel privileged because I have the opportunity to reach people through it and try to make a difference in their lives.

What advice would you give to help others create plotlines?

I don’t feel like advising other writers as storytellers. It’s best for everyone to find their individual style and way of telling stories. Of course, anyone can constantly improve their written expression in a linguistic sense. But as a storyteller, one must take responsibility for having enough to say and being able to do it properly.

Having a genuine voice is the key. I don’t think anyone should listen too much to the instructions of others about the story itself. It may result in trying to please the publisher or, at worst, mimicking the way others tell stories.

Of course, books often have their natural narrative rhythm. But a skilled writer can and should be brave enough to break these rules if needed. However, besides interesting stories and captivating plotlines, the readers deserve that the language has been used correctly.

It’s beneficial for children’s writers to test their way of telling stories in front of their actual audience. When you tell or read the stories face-to-face to the children, you immediately see and feel the reactions. It’s wonderful to see on their faces that the story also reaches the heart. It’s best if a compelling story leaves a profound impact and gives its listener or reader something helpful in growing as a person.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

The Tree House Night

Emma and Oliver are best friends that live next door to each other. They decide they are going to build a treehouse in the backyard between their homes. Oliver is apprehensive, but Emma encourages him to help her make it. At one point, Oliver decides he is uncomfortable with the treehouse and refuses to climb up and leaves Emma to finish the job herself. Once it is finished, she proudly shows her work off to her parents and tells them she wants to spend the night up in the tree. They tell her no, it is not safe. Later, Oliver climbs up the tree to talk to her and tells her he heard what she said and wants to support her plan. That night when Emma sneaks out to stay in the treehouse, Oliver watches over her from his bedroom window.

The Tree House Night, written by Tuula Pere, is another fantastic work by this author. This excellent picture book focuses on friendship. Two friends who do not always agree still find a way to remain friends and focus on what matters, supporting each other in their dreams and goals. Even though Oliver disagrees with Emma’s plan, he supports her in the only way he can, shining light and watching over her as she sleeps in the treehouse. Knowing her best friend is watching over her gives Emma the strength to overcome her fears of the dark and the noises she hears.

So many children’s books on friendship focus on the good times children have. I like that this book showed that friends do not have to always agree on the same things or have the same goals. Even with these differences, they can still support one another and help each other make their dreams come true. This is the beauty of people. They don’t all have to be the same or have the same ideas and goals to be kind and be friends. This excellent picture book shows children they can be friends with people different from themselves and support one another.

The artwork done by Catty Flores is genuinely superb. The characters have so much personality children who can’t read will still be able to feel Oliver’s mood as he is concerned about things happening. But, equally, Emma’s excitement and confidence radiate off the pages as she builds her dream treehouse. The bond they share shines through the pages, and children will relate to the images presented in this captivating story.

The Tree House Night is a beautifully written picture book with an inspirational message about friendship and supporting those you care for. Children, teachers, and parents will all enjoy reading this remarkable story and will be able to relate to the message that the author has presented.

Pages: 32 | ASIN : B09K6MNF52

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Heart, Brain, and Love

Author Interview Tuula Pere

The Wild Waves follows a young boy that is terrified of boats because of the noise and speed and how a patient Grandpa helps him overcome those fears. What was the inspiration for your story?

I lived my important childhood years in the lake district of Eastern Finland. I have spent a lot of time in the waters – swimming, fishing with my father, adventuring on a rowing boat along the nearby lakes – so this subject is familiar to me.

As for swimming, I was one of the bravest and loved diving, too! But I must admit, I was afraid of fast motorboats. Our family only had a small rowing boat that I could use whenever I wanted. But I hated situations when someone took us for a ride in a motorboat. I would have preferred to have escaped the whole situation, but I tried to be polite! The feelings of such experiences now flow into my stories for children and their families.

The Wild Waves story is part of my book series, The Little Fears. I have built the series on the importance of a child’s experience. All the stories draw attention to the role of the adult as a listener and supporter for the child.

The adults easily underestimate the importance of the child’s concern. My experience is that the little fear quickly grows too big if you don’t get help with it in time.

When I present my Little Fears Series at book fairs in different countries, I often hear very personal confessions and childhood memories from adults. The message is the same: If only someone had taken my worries seriously, I would have coped easier with my fears even as an adult!

What books did you grow up reading?

As a child, I enjoyed living next to a small village library for a decade. There was enough to read for the curious child. I gradually went through most of the library department by department and subject by subject. Of course, I liked fairy tales at first, but soon I started reading longer novels and nonfiction.

In fact, nonfiction was my passion. Whenever I wanted to find answers to questions that preoccupied my mind, I browsed various encyclopedias and books about nature, geography, or history. My passion for information was great, and we didn’t have such literature at home. So, I spent a lot of time in the library and borrowed loads of books to read at home.

In elementary school, I quickly did all the other tasks, so the teacher let me read any books freely for the rest of the lesson. There, I became acquainted with Finnish folk tales and the stories of the Thousand and One Nights – both of which are still my favorites.

If you had to describe yourself in just three words, what would those be and why?

This is a difficult question. Sometimes it feels like one person can hold so many things that an entire dictionary would be necessary to describe them. I would rather divide the question into two parts: the words that describe my most important roles in different areas of life and those that define me as a person.

But let me try to stick to the assignment and choose the words heart, brain, and love.

The three words I have chosen are significant to me. I try to combine them all into a harmonious entity because I think they reinforce each other’s influence.

The things I find most meaningful in my life always follow me in my heart. It represents the human factor in everything I do. I am a very family-oriented person, but I try to extend the same warmth of my heart beyond the close circle and influence the well-being of others, too. I’ve noticed that incorporating the warmth of the heart into everything you do opens surprising doors and creates unexpectedly rewarding connections with others. Writing books for the world’s children is very well suited for this purpose, too!

Good goals are easier to achieve if they involve not only the heart but also the brain. I greatly appreciate people’s ability to learn, acquire knowledge, and use their own brains to weigh things up. The brain, used wisely, also effectively promotes soft values. The use of the brain is also related to a person’s self-confidence. With the help of education, it is possible to develop both the knowledge base and the ability to use it for the common good. For this reason, I want to combine my work as a children’s author and publisher also to support children’s education.

When my father died, and I had to choose the text on his tombstone, the choice was easy. Now it reads freely translated: The greatest of all is love. I feel that love has incredible power everywhere, not just in the family. If I can sense that a person truly loves and respects other people – even strangers and distant ones – it is easier to find common ground to start cooperation. Love cannot be pretended. When it includes genuine respect and interest in life, it has irresistible power. We can transmit that power in many ways. It goes along with everything we say or write, sometimes in words and on lines, sometimes between them. Even silence can contain love.

I hope that all these words – heart, brain, and love – say something about me. At least, I value and need them in everything I do.

What would you say is your interesting writing quirk?

I hope I understood the question correctly. One of my special traits and skills in writing is remembering in detail very old experiences, feelings, and scenes from my childhood. I also bear in mind events told by others and their emotional states. I combine all of these with my books, which are thus authentic and vivid.

After more than sixty years of living, I have a vast collection of stories in my mind. Just give me a keyword, and I’ll tell you a story about it. Let me work with the illustrator, and we will have a children’s book ready. I don’t mean to brag; there’s no reason for that. The world is full of more advanced authors. But I’m honestly doing what I truly believe in. That’s the best guarantee for my writing, and it doesn’t need any tricks!

Author Links: Facebook | Website

“Little Fears” is a book series about the various concerns that children can have. Sometimes, minor harms may grow into big worries if they are ignored. Fortunately, there are fun ways and gentle tools to handle such situations, often through play.
“The Wild Waves” is a story about the fear of high speeds and waves.
Otto dreads his family’s boat trips. He’s afraid of speeding over the water in the motorboat. But Grandpa is a patient teacher, and in the end, Otto dares to go aboard Grandpa’s old boat as assistant captain.
The waves are splashing, and the wind is howling. Otto is sitting stiffly in the cabin while the rest of the family is enjoying the boat trip. “What if the motor dies during the storm, and we never get back to shore?” Otto worries.
With Grandpa, Otto tries to get used to fast speeds on a new carousel. Thumb signals are a great help! In the end, Otto boards Grandpa’s old boat as assistant captain.

The Wild Waves

The Wild Waves is a short picture book whose protagonist is Otto, a young boy who goes on a boating trip with his family during rough weather. Otto is taken aback by the loud motor roaring, the boat’s erratic movements, and the sheer size of the sea waves that crash against it. On the other hand, his family is having a terrific time encouraging the father to go faster and faster. Finally, they arrive at the island, and the rest of the family enjoys the peace and quiet of an island picnic after the exciting journey.

Completely scared off by the experience, Otto decides not to sail again. His Grandfather visits the following days, and they talk about the trip. Together they develop a system for Otto to tell him when he wants to go faster or slower on a carousel. Grandpa then suggests that Otto go out on his boat and use the system they just created to make sure Otto is comfortable.

Author Tuula Pere and illustrator Catty Flores’ encouraging book is about overcoming fears and respecting other people’s boundaries. The protagonist, Otto, had a poor experience sailing because his father was steering the boat at high speeds as they sailed through a storm. His fears, disregarded by his parents and sister, continued to grow and prompted him to avoid any future trips sailing. His Grandfather, however, listens to his fears and comes up with a plan to help him come to terms with his fear in a way that he feels safe and heard.

His compromise with his Grandfather, who volunteers to take him on a more tranquil trip, is a prime example of how consent from all involved parties is fundamental in any shared experience. This is a moral that any child should take with them.

The Wild Waves is a heartwarming picture book about overcoming fears, respecting boundaries, and problem-solving. Teachers and caregivers can use this to help younger children learn that it is ok to be afraid and give them steps to learn how to overcome fears.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 9523573047

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My Sunflowers

My Sunflowers is a book written by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Catty Flores. Targeted towards children, the story circles around headstrong Millie, a girl who enjoys gardening but is not fond of her parents’ preference towards growing vegetables for their own sustenance instead of cultivating flowers and other plants. She is particularly drawn to sunflowers and, after getting seedlings from a friendly vendor, takes on a secret endeavor to grow the flowers hidden from her parents, who do not believe she should be trusted with gardening activities by herself.

The beautifully written book My Sunflowers is a quick but meaningful read. Millie is an independent girl who does not stop at the hurdles imposed on her, and one whom young female readers will be able to look up to. Her strong personality and refusal to let others tell her what she is capable of will draw in the attention of children that often want to prove they can do things that adults feel they are still too young for. Millie doesn’t let the doubts of others stop her from doing what she knows she can do.

This is an illustrated children’s book about independence, problem-solving, and standing up for what you want in life. Millie’s determined attitude and dedication to her flowers, when her parents had no faith in her abilities, shows great inner strength for believing in herself. To add to the story’s emotional words, Flores’ artwork does not let its readers down; the drawings are remarkable, with cold and warm contrasting tones in a noteworthy palette. Together this is a story that will bring forth emotions of pride and perseverance.

My Sunflowers is an engaging picture book for children to learn about inner strength, problem-solving, and how hard work pays off. Teachers and families will find the message in this book positive and encouraging and children will enjoy the motivational story and artwork.

Pages: 36 | ASIN : B09K6KYPSW

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Diversity and Inclusion, Seeking Acceptance

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Only Blue Crow follows a lone blue crow that wants nothing more than to be included. What was the inspiration for your story?

I love birds! I often observe their lives, how they find a spouse, make a nest, and defend their space and their little ones. What intrigues me most are their songs! In this book, the blue crow misses many of these elements as he is too alone and feels miserable.

I’m a person with two opposite sides. I feel very happy and comfortable to be connected to other people and enjoy their company, but I also need a lot of private space and time. I have noticed that a balance of these spheres is vital to me.

Like many people, the crow in my book has too much loneliness. He has difficulties in finding his place and trusted friends. He also lacks the confidence of being what he is and compares himself to others to be accepted.

I have met many “lonely crows” in real life, and I’d like to encourage them! I would like to send my greetings to a special little boy whose mother I was talking to some years ago. She was worried about how her son would be accepted at school as he had a physical difference compared to the others. Until then, he had been happy with it, but now he was going to another environment with all new people and had already started to think more about it.

This discussion with that mother is still in my heart. With books like The Only Blue Crow, I try to make children and adults think about and express acceptance and empathy every day. It can make a big difference in many lives.

The art in this book is fantastic. What was the art collaboration process like with the illustrator Catty Flores?

Catty Flores is a wonderful artist and illustrator. We have been working together for many years. We communicate well, and we trust in each other’s professional skills. I am the author, and she wakes my stories alive in pictures!

Our first project together – ”The Survival Stories Series”– was published six years ago. She lived in New Zealand at that time, but the distance didn’t prevent us from working closely together. Modern technology and connections are amazing in connecting people!

Since then, we have made many other books – even series – together. It has always been smooth and positive. We have worked with many sensitive subjects like poverty, loneliness, illness. Welcome home, Pearl, from a series talking about the family life of a disabled child, was chosen even for to latest international IBBY collection of Outstanding Books for Young People with Disabilities, and they included the whole series in their exhibition.

We share a similar understanding with Catty about both the every day “tragedies” and the happy highlights. The message is: there is always a way, and there is always somebody to be by our side! There is a positive and fun way of encouraging children in our “Little Fears Series” and “I did it! Series”, which is important to both of us.

It’s always a pleasure for me to see Catty’s ideas for a new story and start developing the book together with her. I also admire her flexibility and ability to find new ways and styles for various stories.

What were some themes that were important for you to explore in this book?

The Only Blue Crow is a book of diversity and inclusion, seeking acceptance and connection to others. It’s also a book of finding the strength in yourself, trusting your own wings, and discovering the world!

I feel strongly connected to the lonely blue crow in his search for happiness. My crow is a symbol of many ways of being different from others. I hope it gives comfort and encouragement for children and adults who suffer from discrimination or are left out for any reason.

In real life, many significant issues in society can cause problems – poverty, culture, religion, gender, to name a few. But even more, minor everyday things can start the difficulties – such as differences in a person’s looks, thoughts, taste, and behavior. It’s essential to understand that these experiences of being included or left out are very individual and personal. They are often secrets, and the others do not notice that something is wrong. Still, they can affect a person’s whole life!

My message is simple. We are individuals, and we should be accepted as individuals! But we also need the others around us. Tolerance and acceptance are crucial to making life happier for everybody.

What is the next book that you are working on and when will it be available?

I’m always working simultaneously with several books. Stories are developing in my head, and texts are edited, translated, and illustrated by artists all the time. I love all the steps but working with the illustrator has a unique creative touch! ​

I just received the finished illustrations from Catty Flores for Noise All Over, which is the next book in my “Little Fears Series” this spring. And now, she has just started working with The Giant Legs, probably published before summer, too. These are books about various troubling situations that children meet, sometimes without the others noticing it. My message is that parents, relatives, teachers, and other adults close to children, can do a lot by listening and giving space to children. The little ones have deep feelings under the surface, too. After solving the minor problems and fears, life will be easier all along!

Another of my trusted illustrators, Andrea Alemanno, has just finished illustrating The Stone Garden, which has a unique atmosphere and mysterious visual interpretation. He could surprise me again, although we have worked together many years, too. I love layers of history and the present day, memories and plans, fantasy, and real life. The Stone Garden captures this all in Andrea Alemanno’s pictures.

There is no end to it when I talk about my following books! I am pleased to be inspired repeatedly and find fresh ways to express significant issues – even the most delicate ones – together with other artists. I have had a lot of time to think and write during these special times – suitable for an author! I’m glad to show the newest results soon and hope to meet readers in person again.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

There’s a blue crow who doesn’t know anyone like him. At times he feels terribly lonely.
“Luckily in my home valley there are blue flowers, blue butterflies and a blue sky,” he ponders. The blue crow feels even sadder when the new neighbors, black crows, mock him.
On the advice of a wise owl, the bird embarks on a journey across the sea. There are plenty of things to see. Will there also be other blue birds, and perhaps even another blue crow?
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