Blog Archives

A Birch Tree’s Year

A Birch Tree’s Year by Tuula Pere follows a sapling that has grown into a big birch tree. We follow this birch tree and the family the birch is near as the birch experiences the changes in the season. We start in the month of January as there is a severe winter frost, and from there, we move into the year as the snow starts to melt and the birch begins to grow leaves in preparation for spring. Next, we experience the love and laughter the birch tree feels, being able to experience summer with the family that the tree is next to. Finally, we experience the changing of the leaves in preparation for autumn, and this is the moment the birch realizes that it will soon be lonely again as the winter season approaches.

Tuula Pere offers readers a beautiful story that takes readers through the changes in the seasons but also the different months of the year. I found it adorable that the birch tree enjoyed the family it watched over and especially looked forward to the summertime when birds would visit, and the children would play outside near the tree. However, I found November to be a melancholy month because the birch begins to feel lonely as the winter chill rolls in. Pere’s storytelling is beautiful and showcases the relationship between the birch and the family that lives next to it. The author paints a vivid picture of the birch tree’s life, making it impossible not to feel a deep connection to this magnificent tree.

The Birch Tree is a heartwarming story that teaches young readers the importance of nature and the beauty that surrounds us. I recommend this magical story to those who enjoy a book about nature and human interaction.

Pages: 34 | ISBN : 9523570153

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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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Christmas Switcheroo

Christmas is a fun and exciting time of the year, filled with great food, fun crafts, and making memories with family. Sometimes though, this time of year gets stressful, and things don’t always go as planned. In this heartwarming story, one family does their best to make the holidays magical, but somehow things go astray. After carefully picking out gifts for four difficult-to-shop for family members, the package shipping labels get mixed up, and the gifts go to the wrong homes! So now the question is, will this ruin Christmas, or will it be a joyful surprise?

Christmas Switcheroo by children’s author Tuula Pere and illustrated by Outi Rautkallio is a heartwarming story that children and adults will be able to relate to. Adults often try to make the holidays perfect for their children, from crafts to cookies, to outside decorations. Then there is the process of picking out the perfect gift for everyone. Tuula has captured the feelings of an overwhelmed mom with accuracy. The children in the story are able to pick up on the emotions and offer to help out, showing compassion and kindness. While things do not go as planned, everyone is more than happy with the results, and a lesson is learned that just because things don’t go as planned doesn’t mean it is ruined.

Christmas Switcheroo is a beautifully written children’s book that will entertain readers, young and old, with the mishaps that this family finds themself in the middle of. Children will learn about empathy and helping out, while adults will find relatable situations and, perhaps, be reminded that there is joy even when things do not go as planned. This is a wonderful book to read during the holiday season to remind families of what is really important about the season.

Pages: 54 | ISBN : 9523573284

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Stella and the Berry Bay

Stella is excited about getting to start school this year. She has spent all summer getting ready and making plans with her friends. Nothing can deter her excitement, that is, until her parents give her some heartbreaking news. Stella’s family is moving to Berry Bay. As a result, she will not get to start school with her preschool friends and will have to move to a new house. She is devastated and worried about what will happen when they move.

Stella and the Berry Bay by Tuula Pere is a beautifully written childrens book about moving and change. This story reminded me of what I felt when I moved right before starting school. A book like this would have been wonderful to help ease my fears about going to a strange new place and having to make new friends. Tuula has captured the complex emotions that children can feel when moving and explained in a way that young children can understand and help them understand what they are feeling is normal.

I loved how Stella’s new teacher tried to help her; she validated her feelings and concerns and helped her when struggling. She did not just give in and give Stella what she wanted; instead, she worked with her to find a solution that would work for everyone. This is a beautiful example of problem-solving and teaching these skills to young readers.

Stella and the Berry Bay is a captivating childrens book that kindergarten and young elementary students can relate to and feel seen with. Parents and teachers can use this story to help children struggling with new situations, particularly moving, and help them realize that while they may be afraid, it is normal and ok to feel that way. It also is a story that offers hope that things will turn out alright, even when it doesn’t feel like it will at first. This is a beautiful book to share with all children.

Pages: 48 | ISBN : 9527107970

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Jonty and the Giant Pike

Jonty loves fishing more than any other activity. One winter, he and his dad spent the whole season planning a brand-new fishpond for their backyard. They were going to raise rainbow trout! Once spring arrived, they got to work building their pond. They stocked it with baby fish that Jonty made sure to feed every day. Then, one summer day, he heads to the lake to fish and catches a giant king pike! While taking the fish home to cook it for dinner, it escapes and flops into the fish pond. Despite their best efforts, they could not recatch the pike, which was now stuck in the pond.

Jonty and the Giant Pike is a touching story about a boy’s love for fishing. While he would have loved to have had the king pike for dinner, he respected the fish’s will to live and cunning ability to escape the bucket and hide. It was touching that even when the fish pond failed to provide rainbow trout, and the king pike escaped, Jonty never lost his good attitude and spirit of wonder. He was amazed by the pike’s fortitude and admired its survival skills. Rather than be upset, Jonty decided that the pike was in a better place and where it belonged, in the open water.

Author Tuule Pere and illustrator Milena Radeva have created a heartwarming children’s book about adapting to situations and making the best when things are unplanned. The lessons that children can learn from Jonty and the Giant Pike about having a positive attitude will stay with them long after they have finished reading this remarkable story.

Pages: 38 | ISBN : 952357793X

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Noise All Over

Liam wakes up one Sunday morning enjoying the peace and quiet as the rest of the house is still asleep. However, his quiet time is interrupted by the sound of fire trucks racing in his home and neighborhood. Unable to ignore the sounds, he hides under his pillow and covers, trying to make the sound bearable, but it still hurts his ears. That afternoon he has a special outing with his aunt and cousins. When he discovers that the outing is to a loud rock concert, he becomes concerned, and as soon as the music starts, the pain in his head from the sounds is too much, and he has to run away. It takes a quiet conversation with his uncle Harry to find a way to cope with the loud sounds that cause him pain.

Noise All Over by Tuula Pere is part of her Little Fears series for children. This beautifully written picture book tells the story of a child who struggles with loud sounds. This is a common issue for children with sensory processing disorders. The sounds are not just loud but physically painful; those without this issue may have trouble understanding the concept. This children’s book explains how it makes Liam feel and what can be done to help him when sounds get too overwhelming.

Noise All Over is an insightful children’s book that helps kids understand what it is like to have an aversion to loud noises. This is a beautiful story to share with classrooms to help classmates learn empathy and how to help one another. In addition, it is a great starting point for talking about how people process things differently, be it sounds, textures, or even how they think.

Pages: 36 | ISBN : 9523577816

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Giant Legs (Little Fears)

Grandpa’s birthday is approaching, and a garden party has been arranged for the whole family. However, Elliot, one of the family members, is anxious about being in a large gathering. During the celebration, he retreats to his grandparents’ attic to escape the crowd. But Uncle Stephen comes up with an idea to entice Elliot back to the garden by encouraging him to walk on high wooden stilts, which alters his perspective of the world and the people below.

This is an entertaining and creative story that shows young readers that thinking outside the box can be a fun way to solve problems. I know the story title was Giant Legs, and I had guessed this had something to do with a child’s height, but I was pleasantly surprised to find the unusual but amusing way young Elliot get’s ‘giant legs.’

Children will be able to relate to Elliot’s concerns, as I’m sure many kids don’t like going to grownup parties. I enjoyed how an amiable uncle is the one that helps young Elliot overcome his concern. I feel that uncles rarely appear in children’s books, so this book is certainly unique in that aspect.

Delightful and encouraging, Giant Legs will help kids cope with the stress of feeling out of place by coming up with creative solutions and encouraging them to play, not hide away.

Pages: 34 | ISBN: 9523577875

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It Is Possible To Write Happy Endings

Tuula Pere Author Interview

The Shoemaker’s Splendid Lamp follows the family of a shoemaker who tries to make enough money to feed his family and save his sick son. What was the inspiration for your story?

I am very interested in history and like to tell children about it. It is essential to understand the past to know how to live today and plan for the future. Understanding of society increases when a more comprehensive perspective is available. Knowing different life situations and circumstances also creates empathy toward other people.

My relatives come from rural areas in Eastern and Northern Finland, where families were once large and poor. My grandfather was a shoemaker who died years before I was born. I have heard much about his family’s poor life from the decades before and after the wartime.

In particular, my father and grandmother told me about the old days, which in their case, admittedly were not always easy and happy. The experiences of my own relatives have given me a perspective on the development of society and improving people’s opportunities.

I can reveal that “The Shoemaker’s Lamp” is a true story regarding actual events and people. The only difference is that the fairy tale’s happy ending did not come true in the lives of the people in question.

Both the father, and Aron were interesting characters. What was your favorite character to write for and why?

I already mentioned my grandfather, who was a shoemaker. He is naturally my inspiration for the father of this fairy tale. He was a hard-working man who did his best to provide food for a large family with seven children. But he also longed for beauty as he was ready to buy a splendid oil lamp for his little house.

It was nice to write about this shoemaker and imagine how he made his lamp dream come true. In real life, my grandfather’s family finally had to sell this lamp to buy something even more necessary.

However, it was even more pleasant for me to write “a happy end” for little Aron, who was struggling with his health. This boy in the book has a sad equivalent, my father’s brother, who died when he was about five years old. I have heard about his short life from my grandmother and father – one lost her son, the other his brother. But in this fairy tale, I could write what I wanted and give little Aron health and a new summer with its fishing trips.

That’s what I find so liberating about writing. It is possible to write happy endings and give hope to readers – maybe even to mend hurt feelings and right the wrongs readers have experienced in their own lives.

What were some educational aspects that were important for you to include in this children’s book?

Already at the beginning of the story, I remind readers that it takes place in “old times.” This way, they can position themselves correctly to understand the events better. It is essential to realize that the world has been different before and that people’s opportunities and needs have changed.

However, for example, the average standard of living nowadays does not extend to all people, unfortunately. Thinking about social issues and justice is one of the most important things in this story. I don’t want to accuse anyone; I just want to observe what kind of situations people in different circumstances get into – and how they can survive.

I also want to emphasize how important it is that other people’s empathy leads to practical actions to help those in need. In this story, the lamp oil brought by the neighbor is of great importance to the shoemaker’s family. But it’s vital for the sick boy, for whom the lamp’s light gives the courage to fight the illness and believe in the coming of one more summer.

On a practical level, this splendid lamp in the story is necessary for many reasons during the dark winter months. The light from the lamp and the beautiful flowers on its sides are a shared joy in that difficult time. But the essential thing in the story is the love between father and son. In their cooperation, there is a lot of gentleness and consideration for each other. The power of love encourages them to believe in the almost impossible – to heal the boy and go fishing together in the summer heat.

I believe children understand the symbolic value of a lamp and its light. They will surely realize that the most valuable light is in people’s loving hearts.

What is the next book in the History for Children series about?

This theme – History for children – has influenced many of the books I’ve written, even if they don’t form a compact and coherent series together. However, I have some ideas for the next books, where the point of view would be clearly “historical.”

My next book about the times of previous generations will probably be a story about a small and stubborn horse that falls into the hands of strangers during the war. It will be a true story as it describes how my grandfather came on leave during the war and witnessed the harsh and unfair treatment of his own horse by men in the home village. He couldn’t allow it and showed others a gentle example of how a weak animal is ready to try his best, even if the task is hard to fulfill. Gentle care and encouragement are essential, even for the crankiest horse.

What attracts me the most is that writing suitable little stories can show children that their ancestors were once similar to them. Only the physical setting of events was different. I can also teach children facts about specific periods of history, although I prioritize the core of the actual story – the one that unites people throughout the years.

Author Links: Facebook | Website

The shoemaker lives in a small cottage with his large family. Every day he toils away, making boots so his family can eat. The shoemaker’s sickly youngest son, Aron, often sits beside him. The doctor has warned the shoemaker that little Aron might not live long enough to see next summer.
The shoemaker longs to make more shoes to feed his family, but the cottage gets so dark, he must stop working before the sun goes down. One day the shoemaker and Aron spot something at the market—a beautiful oil lamp! Can the splendid lamp help the shoemaker—and save little Aron?
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