Blog Archives

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

Buy Now From Amazon

Colin the Crab Falls in Love

Colin, the crab, has built his home and life in the bay. He is happy with all but one thing in his life. He wants a spouse to share the life he has built with. So Colin invites his friends over to discuss what he should do to find a wife. After many suggestions, Colin realizes the best way for him to find a wife is to just be himself, and it will happen.

Not long after, there is an accident at the museum, and Colin rushes over to help with the broken displays. There he meets Clara, the museum assistant. She is the most beautiful and friendly crab Colin has ever met, and they connect instantly. Colin enjoys his time with Clara and wants to impress her. This results in him being in an accident and almost getting hurt. Clara reminds him that she loves him just as he is, and he doesn’t need to change to impress her. Could he have found the love he was looking for in Clara?

I love how author Tuula Pere has continued bringing Colin’s story to life. He is an amazing crab with a giving heart, always helping others. Giving him this story where he finds someone that matches his kindness and personality is a great way to teach children to be themselves and be proud of who they are. While this story is about finding love, it could easily apply to all areas of life where you want children to know it is ok to be who they are and they do not have to change to impress people around them. Each person is unique in their own way, and that is enough.

Colin the Crab Falls in Love is a heartwarming children’s book about finding love through being yourself. Colin tried getting advice on how to find a wife, but he realized that the way all his friends found love was unique to who they were and their personalities. He was wise to recognize that changing himself would not get the results he wanted, and when he tried to change himself, he almost got hurt. The message of staying true to yourself is essential for children to learn.

Pages: 50 | ISBN : 9527107547

Buy Now From Amazon

The Scary Snakes

Shelly is terrified of snakes, so much so she is unable to enjoy outings with her family for fear there is a snake everywhere. When out on a picnic with her family, she is afraid to even walk on the ground, and her dad has to carry her all over. She is worried that when she gets bigger and her dad can no longer carry her that she will not be able to go out with her family on these adventures. When she gets home, she calls her Grandma to tell her how upset she is, but Grandma has a plan to help her. The next day Grandma shows up with her yarn and knitting needles and together work out a plan to get past her fear of snakes.

The Scary Snakes by Tuula Pere and illustrated by Catty Flores is a creative picture book about one girl overcoming her fear of snakes. With her help of her, Grandma Shelly knits all sizes and colors of snakes to put all over her house. Seeing the harmless, fun snakes all over helps her overcome her fear.

What I love about this story is that no one makes fun of Shelly’s fear; it is taken seriously, and instead of making her feel bad, her family does things to help her overcome them. In addition, there is a strong bond between Shelly and her Grandma; it is heartwarming to see them connect over making snakes.

I loved how Catty Flores gave the characters so much energy. You can feel the excitement as Shelly gets over her fears and has fun with her Grandmother. The illustrations are colorful and have great details bringing the knitted snakes to life.

The Scary Snakes is a beautiful children’s book about overcoming fears and building confidence. This is an excellent story for kindergarten and young elementary students to learn how being afraid of things is normal.

Pages: 32 | ISBN : 9523572989

Buy Now From Amazon

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

Buy Now From Amazon

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

Buy Now From Amazon

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?

Healthy For Both Body And Soul

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Scared to Swim follows a young child who is eager to learn how to swim but is fearful of the busy swimming pool. What was the inspiration for the idea behind Lillian’s character?

First of all, I must advertise that Finland is indeed a country with thousands of lakes. Much of the summertime is spent on the shores of the lakes and by the sea, and the use of swimming pools is active during the winter. For this reason, good swimming skills are essential for the safety of children.

There are, of course, other good reasons. Swimming is healthy for both body and soul. I learned to swim when I was very young. I immensely enjoyed the lakes and summer nature when I spent my childhood in a small rural village in Finnish Lake District. And diving was fun!

I was the oldest child in my family, so I also participated in teaching younger siblings to swim. I was a popular swimming teacher because I always kept my promise and never loosened my grip unless it was mutually agreed. The feeling of being in safe hands is most important when a child learns something new and challenging.

In indoor swimming pools, a child may be afraid of the hustle and bustle around them. Loud noises are unpleasant for many, too. In particular, shy and sensitive children suffer, and a pleasant thing can turn uncomfortable and scary. With this book, I wanted to help every real-life Lillian. Over the years, I’ve met many of them.

The Little Fears series gives young readers the tools needed to handle fear. What is a key tool shared in this book that will be built upon throughout your series?

Six books have already been published in the Little Fears series, and more are on the way. The fears they talk about are very different and of various sizes.

But, regardless of what the others say, every fear exists for the child. This unpleasant thing can cast a shadow on the child’s whole life.

The key tool that unites these Little Fears stories is a two-way solution. It involves a helpful adult who takes the child’s fear seriously and seeks a solution. It also includes the child’s opportunity and ability to express the concerns instead of drawing back and feeling left alone with the trouble.

Creating an atmosphere of trust, rather than downplaying grief, is important for the adults to remember. This change of attitude may take time, but it is worth working with. At its best, it can save children a lot of harm for the rest of their lives.

In many cases, the reactions of adults surprised me when I presented the Little Fears series at international book fairs, for example. I have met people who have come to seek advice for the parental challenges of their daily lives or asked me to write a new book about some of the fears connected to their families. I have also encountered those adults who burst into tears and said they would have needed a similar book when they were children. Their fears may have plagued them until the adult years.

What is a common fear young children have about swimming and how can parents help them overcome it?

Although children generally enjoy water games, the situation may change as the playing becomes a lesson in swimming. Performance pressures hamper a relaxed attitude towards learning a new skill. Children may compete to see who is the quickest to learn, the bravest in diving, or who swims fastest. A joyful hobby turns into a tough competition.

The children may also fear that they will be a disappointment to their parents or swimming instructors. The family may have traveled a long way to swim on the beach with high expectations. Or swimming course has been an expensive parental sacrifice that should result in some achievement. Failure can make a child feel utterly disappointed and give up the effort for good.

Children also have concerns about their safety. What if I sink under the surface and no one notices? What if I draw water into my lungs? What if no one hears me screaming for help? Fears like this are, in my opinion, the most serious because they are related to the child’s basic safety.

There are a few simple things to keep in mind for parents. Learning any new skill requires time, patience, and a safe environment. It is best to forget all about performance pressures and unnecessary requirements. The grown-ups must focus on making the children feel protected and happy to practice the new thing at their own pace.

What is the next book in the Little Fears series?

After the present six books in the Little Fears series, it’s time to introduce two new books later this year – both illustrated again by a very creative Catty Flores, who has an eye for the child’s view of the situations. Both stories, “Noise All Over” and “The Giant Legs,” talk about celebrations and crowds in separate ways.

In the first one, “Noise All Over,” the Dinosaur Rock Band concert for children turns out to be an unpleasant surprise for the little Liam. The loud music is painful to his sensitive ears, and the only solution is to escape! There are other noisy elements in the book as well, to make it possible to discuss this problem with children.

“The Giant Legs” may be a surprising name for a book about fears. It tells about Elliot, who doesn’t like family gatherings. At Grandpa’s party, he feels uncomfortable in the noisy group and escapes to the attic. His uncle finds a way to lure him back to the others. The crowd looks less scary when Elliot observes it while walking on high stilts! These old playthings, wooden legs, provide many fun moments for the entire party, and Elliot is no longer afraid to participate in the joint celebration.

Adults should remember that parties and crowds may look very different when viewed from a child’s gaze level – and sound different as a child listens to them.

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.

Lillian wants to take swimming lessons, like some of her friends.
However, it’s very noisy at the swimming pool, especially in the children’s pool, where things can get wild at times. It frightens Lillian and makes her back away from the pool.
“What if I sink to the bottom and no one notices?” Lillian says, worried.
Once Dad and Lillian start practicing together, she conquers her fear of swimming.

A Tribute To The Finnish Generations

Tuula Pere Author Interview

Raspberry Red follows a young girl as her family flies from a war-torn country and eventually makes it back home to start over again. What was the inspiration for to your story?

The subject of this book has matured in my mind since I was a small child. As the 100th anniversary of the independence of Finland approached, it seemed to be just the right time to write “Raspberry Red”, as it is inspired by drastic periods in the history of our country.

At the same time, the book can be fitted equally well for any country, at any time. The topics are sadly current even today. Recent news proves it painfully. I still remember my conversation with the Greek illustrator Georgia Stylou about the book. After reading the script, she felt connected to the story through the developments in her own country throughout the years.

“Raspberry Red” is also a tribute to the Finnish generations before me. Over the years, I have listened to the personal experiences of many people about the war, leaving home, and adaptation to demanding situations. There have been threats, danger, escaping in haste, and joys and sorrows experienced and shared.

In addition, as a child, I lived in Eastern Finland in an area where a lot of evacuees from Karelia had been placed. Families no longer had a home and familiar regions to return to after the war.

I will never forget the stories of these people. They were telling about everything they had experienced or what they had to leave behind them. The tears were plentiful, and the songs were full of longing. The hospitality was present, although there was little to offer. The new life gradually began.

Aino is a strong young girl that stays strong for her family during these difficult times. What were some driving ideals behind your character’s development?

The book includes some of my mother’s experiences with her father going to war and how she waited for him to return. As a child, my mother-in-law also had challenges keeping the family village shop running together with her mother during the war. The most dramatic moment of Aino in the story is encountering the foreign soldier. That had taken place in real life for a deceased lady when she was young. Her perseverance and survival after the war showed great courage and determination.

Aino, the girl in my story, had to face highly demanding situations at a young age. Everything in her life changed in a short time. I wanted to highlight the child’s vulnerability and sensitivity, but simultaneously her ability to adapt to the inevitable. Aino doesn’t lose hope of getting father back home.

Fortunately, she gets to talk about father with other people close to her. She shares her feelings and expectations with her friends, mother, and grandparents – except for one event; meeting the enemy soldier face to face. It was such an overwhelming experience that only the father’s return frees her to reveal what happened. She feels safe and confident going through the situation only with her own father. He has been a soldier, too, and can understand the event’s significance for all parties.

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

I find it extremely important to pass on the experiences of previous generations to younger people. We must try to learn something from what has happened in the past. Maybe this would prevent the same mistakes from happening again.

The themes of war and peace are, in my view, among the most important stories of all – though telling them requires a sensitive mind and a skilled hand.

In the twists and turns of this story, we encounter people of all ages whose lives have been shaken utterly. I want to encourage the reader to believe that even during difficulties, good things happen, too. People help each other, and also, in the most challenging situations, it is possible to choose a humane option.

Stories that connect real experiences and increase empathy are valuable. They help us better understand people in different situations.

What is one thing that you hope readers take away from Raspberry Red?

Before I can answer this question, here are a few words about my general motivations for writing several children’s books about conflicts and wars. As an author, I find it necessary that my audience is left with hope even after reading such books.

I want to consider the needs of children as a target group carefully. Their ability to understand is essential for how the story is told, and their feelings must be respected and protected. They need wise guidance in meeting the most significant challenges of their lives.

We often say in Finland: As long as there is life, there is hope. The English saying “hope is eternal” means roughly the same thing. I find this thought very encouraging. The idea of ​​keeping up hope to the very last moment is important. However, I want to attach another thing to it, overall respect for life. This attitude means a humane approach to other people’s lives, too, not just our own.

I want to believe that we can cherish humanity, even if life is challenging at times. I find it especially beautiful if a person respects the life of others, even if their own is under threat. It is probably the greatest gift you can give to another.

The foreign soldier in the “Raspberry Red” carried this warmth with him. He used the humanity of his heart in a most stressful situation and chose to save the life of the child of the enemy country, as his highest priority.

This message of love and respect is necessary for all ages, in all countries. I write about it in all my books, not just “Raspberry Red,” and plan to do it as long as possible.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

Raspberry Red is a story about war’s breaking out and a family setting out on an evacuation journey, as seen through the eyes of a little girl. When they’re leaving, Aino meets a foreign soldier by her playhouse. The man lets her go. Only her rag doll’s raspberry red apron is left behind in the snow when Aino escapes.

Late one autumn, Aino’s father sets off on the road with the other village men. Little Aino doesn’t quite understand why. During the cold winter days, scary noises start to echo from the nearby forest.
The family is forced to leave their home, their own village shop, and Aino’s playhouse. They leave for the train station in such a hurry that Aino can hardly keep up with the others.
Near the playhouse, the eyes of the child and a foreign soldier meet. When Aino escapes, her rag doll’s raspberry red apron is left behind in the snow.

%d bloggers like this: