Suomalainen kuvitustaide menestyi Bolognassa

Finnish illustration art succeeds in Bologna

The Illustrators Exhibition, launched in 1967 at the Bologna Children's Book Fair, presents annually the latest trends in picture book illustration. Being selected for this prestigious international exhibition is one of the highlights of the illustrator's career.

In 2024, a total of 3,520 participants from all over the world sent their works to the exhibition. The international jury first selected 344 finalists from the candidates, and from among these, 78 series of illustrations by 79 artists from 31 different countries and regions were selected for the exhibition itself.

The finalists from Finland are Sari Airola with her latest book Oh Vivian!, Jenni Erkintalo with her latest book Who's Lovely?, Marika Maijala with her book Magician's Flower, Laura Merz with her large-scale animal-themed illustrations, Kati Närhi with the illustrations for her upcoming book Someone (working title), Hannamari Ruohonen with her Gary series and Anne Vasko with her latest picture book The Hat.

Among the 79 selected exhibiting artists are Sari Airola and Marika Maijala, who will represent Finland in this brilliant exhibition that will tour the world after Bologna.

We at Etana Editions are happy and proud that we have the opportunity to work with all the Finnish illustrators selected for the finalist list. These talented Finnish illustrators are also incredible storytellers: all of the illustrated books mentioned above are also written by them. It is an honor and a rarity to work with such talents who master both image and word.

We look eagerly forward to presenting their books at the Bologna Children's Book Fair 2014 in April, and are happy that the illustrators will also be present at the fair. Come and meet us Finnish author-illustrators at the Etana Editions stand!

Note to publishers
In case you wish to receive a pdf of any of the above titles, please don’t hesitate to contact


Sari Airola's latest picture book Oh Vivian! (original Finnish title Voi Viivi!) is about a little girl who is afraid of being left alone and wants to make friends in kindergarten. She finds a soft little lie in her pocket that whispers things in her ears - like that she has a unicorn at home... What happens when children lie, and where is the line between imagination and deception?

The wonderful colorpencil illustrations are full of details and bring the story to life. You can read about Airola's working process here.

Jenni Erkintalo's Who's Lovely? (Kuka ihana?) is a heartwarming visual journey about a mother expecting a baby. She sees the baby everywhere, in her thoughts and dreams and the time of her pregnancy is full of joyful anticipation and love.

The book's illustrations are painterly, soft and sometimes playful. In every spread of the book, little readers can look for and discover Lovely who is hiding in various landscapes. The poetic seek-and-find game speaks about and is created with love.

Marika Maijala's award-winning Magician's Flower (Taikurinkukka) is a book about a plant that doesn't seem to grow despite all the efforts of the book 's main character. The story is about a magical transformation. Who will eventually find the secret ingredient to growth, and is it something that is actually always there?

Dive into the fascinating world of this book and read more about Marika's way of thinking here.

The latest part of Hannamari Ruohonen's Gary series, Are you pretty now, Gary? (Onko nätti, Rane?), shows the reader the familiar chaos that prevails in the lives of families with small children. Like the dress-up dance that happens in every home in the mornings when pants become a sweater and underwear a cap.

The brilliant humor of the book comes to life in Ruohonen's skillful paper cut illustrations.

The animal characters illustrated by Laura Merz with their special characteristics and abilities have delighted many young readers in her non-fiction books A Thousand and One Creatures (Tuhat ja yksi otusta) and Among Fascinating Creatures (Otusten joukossa), both written by Aino Järvinen.

With a flying touch and lightness Merz paints the characters with ink using various tools, some of which are found and some made by herself.


Anne Vasko's book trilogy uses bold graphic elements. The last part of the series, The Hat (orig. Hattu), is the adventure of an ordinary object. It's an intriguing story about a hat and how it is perceived by others: everyone who encounters it, finds different uses for the object. But does an object have a will of its own? And who does the hat belong to?

Vasko's illustrations are full of joy and color. All visual elements of the book are painted by hand and then mixed with paper cutting. You can read more about the book and Anne's work here.

(c) Etana Editions
Translation: Tiina Erkintalo

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