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Tove Jansson - Author

About the 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 by Tove Jansson

Other books by Tove Jansson

Moomin and the Spring Surprise

Moomin and the Spring Surprise

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 09/04/2020

If you haven't met a Moomin yet, you're missing the most magical fun . . . It's winter in Moominvalley and the Moomin family are deep in their Long Winter Sleep, waiting for the sound of Too-Ticky's barrel organ to rouse them, as it did every spring. But when a mysterious ratta-tattle wakes Moomintroll with a start, will he be brave enough to investigate the noise on his own? And what surprises will he find if he does venture outside?

Travelling Light

Travelling Light

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 18/03/2020

This newly translated collection of stories brilliantly evokes the shifting scenes and restlessness of summer. A professor arrives in a beautiful Spanish village only to find that her host has left and she must cope with fractious neighbours alone; a holiday on a Finnish Island is thrown into disarray when a disconcerting young boy arrives; an artist returns to an old flat to discover that her life has been eerily usurped. Philosophical and profound, but with the deceptive lightness that is her hallmark, Travelling Light is guaranteed to surprise and transport.

The Invisible Guest in Moominvalley

The Invisible Guest in Moominvalley

Author: Tove Jansson, Cecilia Davidsson Format: Hardback Release Date: 06/02/2020

A stunning and classic picture book, with a special textured cover, The Invisible Guest in Moominvalley is the perfect gift for Moomin fans of all ages. In Moominvalley everyone is welcome. So when Too-ticky arrives with an unusually invisible guest, Ninny, the Moomins endeavor to make their guest feel at home, armed with remedies to gently draw their new guest into visibility allowing her to regain her once lost voice. This unique retelling of Tove Jansson's touching short story The Invisible Child captures Jansson's wise, perceptive and original voice and includes delicate, painterly illustrations full of character and detail and based on Jansson's original drawings and colour plates. A new generation of readers will enjoy meeting the lovable Moomin family and friends, with their special values of tolerance, kindness and integrity, as they help feel Ninny feel safe and one of the family.

Moomin and the Windy Day

Moomin and the Windy Day

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Board book Release Date: 19/11/2019

With big flaps for little hands - a Moomin adventure to read and play with! Whoosh - oh no! The wind is causing mayhem all over Moominvalley and everything is topsy turvy. Lift the flaps to help Moomin and friends find their lost things...

Letters from Tove

Letters from Tove

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Hardback Release Date: 03/10/2019

'[The letters] cover war, fame and her first infatuation with another woman...all related in a voice that is funny, gracious, intimate' The Observer I find myself talking to you about all the great joys, all the agonies, all my thoughts... - Letter to Eva Konikova, 1946 Out of the thousands of letters Tove Jansson wrote a cache remains that she addressed to her family, her dearest confidantes, and her lovers, male and female. Into these she spilled her innermost thoughts, defended her ideals and revealed her heart. To read these letters is both an act of startling intimacy and a rare privilege. Penned with grace and humour, Letters from Tove offers an almost seamless commentary on Tove Jansson's life as it unfolds within Helsinki's bohemian circles and her island home. Spanning fifty years between her art studies and the height of Moomin fame, we share with her the bleakness of war; the hopes for love that were dashed and renewed, and her determined attempts to establish herself as an artist. Vivid, inspiring and shining with integrity, Letters from Tove shows precisely how an aspiring and courageous young artist can evolve into a very great one.

Moomin and the Golden Leaf

Moomin and the Golden Leaf

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Hardback Release Date: 05/09/2019

If you haven't met a Moomin yet, you're missing the most magical fun . . . Tonight everyone in Moominvalley will be going to the Autumn Ball and Moomintroll and his friend Sniff are busy helping with preparations. But when they discover an extraordinary golden leaf on the forest floor, will they be able to find a tree full of golden leaves and give each of the valley folk a gift they'll always treasure?

Moomin and the Golden Leaf

Moomin and the Golden Leaf

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Paperback / softback Release Date: 05/09/2019

Tonight everyone in Moominvalley will be going to the Autumn Ball and Moomintroll and Sniff are busy helping with preparations. But when they discover an extraordinary golden leaf on the forest floor, will they be able to find a tree full of golden leaves and give each of the valley folk a gift they'll always treasure?

Moomin's Pancake Picnic Peep-Inside

Moomin's Pancake Picnic Peep-Inside

Author: Tove Jansson Format: Board book Release Date: 13/06/2019

There's going to be a pancake picnic and everyone in Moominvalley is invited. It's time for Moomintroll to gather everyone together, but where is Little My? She loves pancakes! Little My's distinctive red dress should be easy to spot, but it turns out that there are lots of other red things in Moominvalley! Moominpappa's saw, Snorkmaiden's flowers, Snufkin's tent . . . Will Moomintroll manage to find his friend before the pancakes get cold? This interactive novelty format has a different die-cut hole on every spread, so children can help Moomin peep through the holes to find his friend.

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