Timo Parvela

Timo Parvela
Bicycling to the moon

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Timo Parvela was born in 1964 in the Finnish Lakeland. He is perhaps Finland’s most famous contemporary children’s writer; his series of Ella books are prescribed reading in schools.

It was when he was at school that he realised that he wanted to write stories that made people laugh and nothing has changed since those days. In the third grade at school he says,

‘ Our teacher told us to write at least a three page essay about laziness. On the first page I wrote "THIS", on the second "IS" and on the third "LAZINESS".  Thank god my teacher was smart enough to give me an A.

After school Timo Parvela became a primary school teacher and was a head teacher from 1988 - 1990. Finally in 1995 he decided to leave the profession and focus on writing. He now lives in the Finnish countryside with his wife Reija and son Lauri (his daughter Hilma has already moved out) in a red house next to a field in Kirkkonummi. He says,

During the day I work upstairs. As work mates I have two Lancashire Heeler shepherd dogs, Muru and Pate. The atmosphere in our work place is usually very calm but when the mailman drives up to our yard the mood might get rather wild.

He has written over 60 books for children as well as television screenplays, and radio scripts. Bicycling to the Moon is his first work to be translated into English, published by Gecko Press. He has received many awards for his work but says,

‘I feel like I have really succeeded when I come up with a great story and in the best case scenario it makes everyone laugh.’

Books by Timo Parvela

Bicycling to the Moon (Gecko Press)

For more information about Timo Parvela please visit:

Virpi Talvitie

Virpi Talvitie was born in 1961 in the west of Finland, and is one of the country’s best-known illustrators. She began her career in children’s book illustration in 1998, and since then she has undertaken all areas of children’s book illustration: she has illustrated lyric poetry for children, non-fiction, short stories, novels for children, easy readers and old folk tales, as well as poetry books for adults and a small work of prose.

She has collaborated with Timo Parvela on multiple projects, including 2006’s Keinulauta (Seesaw), which won the prestigious Junior Finlandia Prize. She has also won the 2010 WSOY Literature Foundation Award, the 2011 Mikkeli Illustration Triennial Prize, and was nominated thrice for the Hans Christian Andersen Award for Illustration.

Talvitie uses a mixture of oil pastels, crayon, water colour and collage to create her images. Bold, thick layers of oil and wax form the main structures of her illustrations. She scratches and etches into these to produce texture and detail. Watercolors are added to the surface creating patterns of droplets, which offer a sense of movement and also emphasise the mood of the picture.