Tove Jansson’s 100th Birthday

August 9th marks what would have been Tove Jansson’s 100th birthday. Jansson, a visual artist, and illustrator, is revered as one of the world’s most successful children’s book writers. Her stories featuring the Moomins have been translated into more than forty languages, and millions of copies have been sold. The Moomins—rotund, mouthless figures who look a bit like hippos–are the central characters in a series of books that take place in the Moominvalley, a setting based on Jansson’s native Finland. Moomins are especially popular in Scandinavia and Japan. There are Moomin shops and cafes; there’s even a Moomin theme park.



Junior Great Books users will find two of Jansson’s Moomin tales in our fifth grade series: “The Invisible Child” appears in Series 5, Book One (released in July) and “The Hemulen Who Loved Silence” can be found in Series 5, Book Two (available in January 2015). Both stories are great introductions to a captivating world that has enthralled generations of readers.

In honor of her centenary, fans of Jansson will be able to encounter her work in various places and in a variety of formats:

  • Finland issued a Jansson postage stamp earlier this year.
  • An exhibition of Jansson’s artwork will be on display in Japan.
  • The Polka Theatre in England is presenting a Moomin play
  • The New York Review of Books will be releasing an edition of her selected works in October.

One can also always browse the virtual Tove Jansson museum by clicking here.

Will you be celebrating the “Tove 100”? Feel free to share your comments on Tove Jansson and the Moomins!

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