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Tove Jansson - Children's Author


Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001), was born in 1914 in Helingsfors, Finland. Her mother was a charicaturist and the designer of many of Finland’s stamps, and her father was a sculptor. Tove studied painting in Finland, Sweden and France and later worked as a book illustrator, a designer and strip cartoonist, as well as being involved in theatre décor and making frescoes in public places. She drew her first Moomin in the 1930s, just for fun, to tease her little brother by drawing the ugliest creature she could think of. Moomin developed a nicer snout and character and in 1939 he became a character in a children’s story. The Finn Family Moomingtroll has been a hugely successful book, translated into many languages – many other Moomin stories followed.

In 1966 Tove Jansson was awarded the Hans Christian Andersen Medal – an international award for the best children’s book of the year.

Most of the books were written on a small island in the Gulf of Finland where Tove, her mother and brother were the only inhabitants. Later Tove continued to live alone on the island - It takes an hour to row to the nearest island. Some years ago she wrote of the island:

    ‘It is so small you can walk around it in ten minutes. It is shaped like an atoll and surrounds a deep lake which in good weather makes a fine swimming pool, but in bad weather turns into a raging torrent surrounded by waterfalls. Then our boat has to be pulled right up to the house and tied to the veranda. We only have one tree, a rowan, which bloomed for the first time last summer. But we plant wild roses in the crevices, and potatoes. And we fish. We use rainwater for our coffee and driftwood for our fires. My favourite weather is fog, when the island seems to be afloat at the very end of the world in perfect silence and solitude. Only rarely does one hear the foghorns from the open sea where big ships go by for foreign countries.’

In this very special, beautiful and challenging environment Tove’s imagination and artistic talent flourished.


Featured Books, with extracts by Tove Jansson


The Exploits of Moominpappa
The Exploits of Moominpappa
Tove Jansson
'I decided to run away. There simply wasn't anything else to do.' Here at last is Moominpappa's promised life story - from the days when he was abandoned in a newspaper parcel on the doorstep of a Moomin orphanage, to...
Featured in: 7+ readers | Bookshelf Essentials
Format: Hardback - Released: 05/01/2012
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Moominland Midwinter
Moominland Midwinter
Tove Jansson
January 2011 Guest Editor Jenny Downham: "I wish I’d written every single one of Tove Jansson’s Moomin series, but forced to choose I’ll pick number five, Moominland Midwinter, because it’s darker and more introspective than the earlier books, with just a...
Featured in: 5+ readers
Format: Hardback - Released: 07/10/2010
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Moomin's Little Buggy Book
Moomin's Little Buggy Book
Tove Jansson
Classic Moomin characters enjoy a happy day out culminating with a lovely picnic in this charming board book version which can be taken everywhere attached to a buggy with a sturdy, bright red strap.
Featured in: Baby and Toddler
Format: Board book - Released: 02/09/2010
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Moomin and the Birthday Button
Moomin and the Birthday Button
Tove Jansson
Best-loved Moomintroll wakes up excitedly on his birthday but, when he tries to show all his friends his wonderful present, they just don’t seem to be interested…Poor Moomin!  But, when there is a ring at the door, Moomin finds that...
Featured in: 3+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 01/07/2010
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Moomin's Little Book of Numbers
Moomin's Little Book of Numbers
Tove Jansson
One Moomin, two trees… this wonderful counting board book in the most gorgeous colours shows Moomin enjoying and counting flowers, butterflies and then… stars!  A real treat. Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday on the Moomin books: "A...
Featured in: 3+ readers | Baby and Toddler | Books of the Month
Format: Board book - Released: 01/07/2010
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Comet in Moominland
Comet in Moominland
Tove Jansson
May 2010 Guest Editor Philip Ardagh says of this book: What can I say? In early May, I'll be one of a number of guests of the Finnish Embassy and Puffin books celebrating 65 years of the remarkable Moomin books, written...
Featured in: 7+ readers | 9+ readers
Format: Paperback - Released: 22/02/1973
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Finn Family Moomintroll
Finn Family Moomintroll
Tove Jansson
Although they're small, fat and shy creatures, Moomins have the most amazing adventures. It all begins when Moominpappa tries on a magic hat that makes exciting and funny things happen. Katy Guest, literary editor for The Independent on Sunday on the...
Featured in: 5+ readers
Format: Paperback (b Format) - Released: 26/11/1970
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