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The Best Children’s and Youth Books of 2022 Announced

On March 1, 2023, the Estonian Union for Child Welfare and the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre announced the best children’s and youth books published in the past year. Children’s literature experts selected 17 books for children and 11 for youths from nearly 800 books to receive this year’s recognition. Young readers themselves also had the opportunity to participate in choosing and voting for their favorites.

According to jury member and literature researcher at the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, Jaanika Palm, selecting such a small number of works from a large array of interesting and beautiful children’s and youth books was a serious challenge for the jury. She believes the final selection is diverse and beautiful, and it should provide reading and viewing enjoyment for both children and adults. “More than before, the books encourage attention to one’s mental well-being, appreciating the companion beside you, valuing the environment, and avoiding prejudices,” added Palm.

For the third year in a row, the Estonian Union for Child Welfare’s child rights ambassadors chose their favourite. They found that the book “Speaking is Silver, Silence is Golden” by Evelin Alliksaar and Silja Kerge would resonate most with Estonian youth. According to child rights ambassador Mia-Ly (16), the book addresses several relevant but not publicly discussed topics, such as drug dealing. She noted that adolescence is a very interesting yet challenging time, which is vividly reflected in the chosen book. “A teenager is treated like a child, but expected to act like an adult,” Mia-Ly shared.

Child rights ambassador Tuule (14) believes that Alliksaar and Kerge’s work touches many young people, providing a good perspective on why wrong decisions are sometimes made and whether there are deeper reasons behind seemingly incomprehensible decisions. “Seeking help can be very difficult, but no child should bear the adult responsibility of feeding and supporting their family,” Tuule described. “The young people in the book seem to live an adult life but do not know exactly how to do it, how to navigate the world, or how to make morally correct decisions,” Tuule summarized.

The best children’s and youth books were selected by experts from the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre, the Estonian Union for Child Welfare, the Estonian Reading Association, the Estonian Youth Literature Association, and the Estonian Librarians Association, who deal with children’s literature daily. Rahva Raamat will provide the recognized books with informative stickers that guide readers to valuable reading material in both larger and smaller libraries.

The list of good children’s books has been compiled under the leadership of the Estonian Union for Child Welfare and the Children’s Literature Centre since 2009. The lists are helpful for teachers, parents, specialists working with children, and certainly for children themselves in choosing quality, interesting, and engaging reading material. Since 2018, good youth books have also been similarly recognized.

The announcement of the best children’s and youth books can be watched as a video broadcast on the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre’s Facebook page until April 16, 2023.

Best Children’s Books of 2022

For Younger Children:

  • Kertu Sillaste. “In the Little House.” Illustrated by Kertu Sillaste. Publisher: Päike ja Pilv
  • Chris Naylor-Ballesteros. “Frank and Bert.” Translated by Kadri Rahusaar. Publisher: Koolibri
  • Nadine Brun-Cosme. “Big Wolf & Little Wolf.” Illustrated by Olivier Tallec. Translated by Indrek Koff. Publisher: Draakon & Kuu
  • Rocio Bonilla. “Thank You: A Story of Neighbors.” Illustrated by Rocio Bonilla. Translated by Kadri Põdra. Publisher: Tammerraamat
  • Kristi Kangilaski. “Good Feeling.” Publisher: Koolibri
  • Kadri Kiho. “Endel and Kati.” Illustrated by Stella Salumaa. Publisher: Päike ja Pilv
  • Deborah Hopkinson. “One and Only.” Illustrated by Chuck Groenink. Translated by Jane Laumets. Publisher: Koolibri

For Older Children:

  • Juhan Voolaid. “The Candy Monster.” Illustrated by Marja-Liisa Plats. Publisher: Kuuloom
  • Liis Sein. “Mona’s Stubborn Father.” Illustrated by Ulla Saar. Publisher: Pegasus
  • Torben Kuhlmann. “Lindbergh: The Tale of a Flying Mouse.” Illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann. Translated by Kadi Eslon. Publisher: Rahva Raamat
  • Aidi Vallik. “Aunt Klaara’s House.” Illustrated by Lumimari. Publisher: Lugu-Loo
  • Sanne Rooseboom. “The Ministry of Solutions.” Illustrated by Mark Janssen. Translated by Vahur Aabrams. Publisher: Avita
  • Timo Parvela. “Shadows. 1. Rattle.” Illustrated by Pasi Pitkänen. Translated by Triin Aimla-Laid. Publisher: Helios
  • Kirsten Boie. “Summer in Sommerby.” Illustrated by Verena Körting. Translated by Õie Ristioja. Publisher: Vesta
  • Eugene Yelchin. “The Genius Under the Table: Growing Up Behind the Iron Curtain.” Translated by Eve Laur. Publisher: Pegasus
  • Annet Schaap. “Lampie and the Children of the Sea.” Translated by Kairi Look. Publisher: Eesti Raamat
  • A. F. Steadman. “Skandar and the Unicorn Thief.” Translated by Kristina Uluots. Publisher: Varrak

Best Youth Books of 2022

For Younger Youth:

  • Jurga Vilé. “Siberian Haiku.” Illustrated by Lina Itagaki. Translated by Tiina Kattel. Publisher: Draakon & Kuu
  • Mann Loper. “City of Angels.” Illustrated by Liisa Berezkin. Publisher: Lummur
  • Nikola Huppertz. “Beautiful as Eight.” Illustrated by Barbara Jung. Translated by Mari Klein. Publisher: Vesta

For Older Youth:

  • Evelin Alliksaar, Silja Kerge. “Speaking is Silver, Silence is Golden.” Publisher: Tänapäev – Estonian Union for Child Welfare’s Youth Council Favourite
  • Janne Teller. “Nothing.” Translated by Eva Velsker. Publisher: Eesti Raamat
  • Kim Liggett. “The Grace Year.” Translated by Kristina Uluots. Publisher: Rahva Raamat
  • Salla Simukka. “Imprisoned.” Translated by Kadri Jaanits. Publisher: Pegasus
  • Ane Barmen. “Dreams Mean Nothing.” Translated by Riina Hanso. Publisher: Eesti Raamat
  • Adam Silvera. “They Both Die at the End.” Translated by Bibi Raid. Publisher: Rahva Raamat
  • Yoru Sumino. “I Want to Eat Your Pancreas.” Translated by Piret Orav. Publisher: Hea Lugu
  • Karen M. McManus. “The Cousins.” Translated by Hels Kure. Publisher: Eesti Raamat