TOVE TROVE: Reading the Books of Tove Jansson

From the Moomins to her fiction for adults

TOVE LOGO MEDIUMShortly before what would have been her 105th birthday on 9th August 2019, I started this reading project, which involves building a library of books written by, about or connected in some way with one of my favourite authors, the Finnish-Swedish writer and artist, Tove Jansson (1914 – 2001).

This remarkable woman achieved worldwide fame as the creator of stories about the Moomins, written and illustrated between 1945 and 1977. However, I not only decided to re-read her novels and short stories for children but to gradually work my way through her adult fiction, collections of letters, biographies etc.

I haven’t set a time-limit to complete this task, it will be ongoing – I simply pick up one of her works at random whenever there’s an opportunity. I hope eventually to share my thoughts on all Jansson titles translated into English, except perhaps for her picture books aimed at the very young (maybe those, too, eventually).

If any fellow Toveites would like to join me in reading these books, please feel free to do so. You may of course use the badge/logo, but if you do, please link back to this page.



Tove simmar på Klovharun



1. The Moomins and the Great Flood (1945)
2. Comet in Moominland (1946)
3. Finn Family Moomintroll (1948)
4. The Exploits of Moominpappa (1950)
5. The Memoirs of Moominpappa (1968)
6. Moominsummer Madness (1954) ✓
7. Moominland Midwinter (1957) ✓
8. Moominpappa at Sea (1965)
9. Moominvalley in November (1970)

Short Story Collections

1. Tales from Moominvalley (1962)

Comic Strips

Moomin (books 1–6 released in English)




1. The Summer Book (1972)
2. Sun City (1974)
3. The True Deceiver (1982)
4. The Field of Stones (1984)
5. Fair Play (1989)

Short Story Collections

1. Sculptor’s Daughter (1968 semi-autobiographical)
2. The Listener (1971)
3. Art in Nature (1978)
4. Travelling Light (1987)
5. Letters from Klara and Other Stories (1997)
6. Selected stories 1971–1997 (1998)
7. A Winter Book (2006 compilation)

Miscellaneous Rading

1. Sara and Pelle and the Octopuses of the Water Sprite (1933 under the pseudonym of Vera Haij)
2. Notes from an Island (1993 autobiography; illustrated by Tuulikki Pietilä)




1. Tove Jansson Life, Art, Words by Boel Westin (2007) ✓
2. The World of Moominvalley by Philip Ardagh (2017) ✓

There are undoubtedly many more books relating to Tove Jansson and the Moomins. If you know of any interesting titles that do not appear on this list, please let me know.



A Rare Travel Documentary
Help the Moomins Save the Baltic Sea
Reading, Writing and the Moomins



A Finnish microcosm by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
A light in the darkness by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
A Moomin memoir by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
A seaworthy craft by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
A Winter Book by Jane @ Just Reading a Book
Falling under a spell by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
Fierce wistfulness by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
The Magician and his hat by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
Reading Tove, and more by Chris Lovegrove @ Calmgrove
The Summer Book by Jane @ Just Reading a Book
TOVE TROVE: Moomins by
Ola G @ Re-enchantment Of The World
Winter reading
by the blog host @ I read that in a book


In time, I will collate a selection of links to interesting Janssonian articles, artworks and websites (coming soon). Her birth date falls on 9th August, so this may be the ideal time to start.


All images © Moomin Characters™


Categories: Readathons / Challenges

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77 replies

  1. What a fab project Paula! I’ve got my two neverending reading challenges ongoing, otherwise I’d join you – if I ever get those finished, I will! She’s such a wonderful writer, I’m really looking forward to your posts and progress 🙂

  2. One of my absolute favourites too. I have most of her work on the shelves, so I am tempted to join in at least occasionally.

  3. How lovely! I’ve read the Art in Nature collection and the wonderful The Summer Book, but feel the yen to try another novel in the not too distant future! Looking forward to seeing what you choose, Paula, and I’ll use your logo when my turn comes round.

  4. This is an awesome idea. I keep meaning to make use of the fact that so many of her own recordings of her books are available on Spotify, this seems like a great excuse.

  5. What fun! I have Finn Family Moomintroll on the nightstand at the moment, which means that with luck it should get read pretty soon (reread, in fact, because I tore through all the earlier Moomins fifty or sixty years ago). I’ve read just the one of her other novels, The True Deceiver, and keep meaning to add more.

  6. Great idea! I love her Moomins books, but haven’t yet read any non-Moomin novel, so maybe it’s a good opportunity to try 🙂

  7. Wonderful idea Paula! I’ve read a lot of her work fairly recently but I may try to join in with the ones I haven’t read!

  8. I keep saying I’m going to read some of her work, especially the Moomins books. Just not enought time! But this is a great project, Paula, and if you are posting on her books every so often it will keep the flame burning and nudge me into starting 🙂

    • I’ve wanted to re-read the Moomin books for a long time as there are several I haven’t looked at since childhood. The Tove Trove project will enable me to do this (and hopefully pick-up her later works) at my own snail-like pace. It’s an incredibly undemanding undertaking on my part, so please feel free to comment or contribute at any point, Sandra, if you find yourself struck by a Moomin mood! 😊

  9. A Moomin fan as a kid I have sought out her books but our library do not stock them. Maybe I shall interlibrary loan…

  10. What a freak idea! I love her work, both her literature and her art. I have a good biography by Tuula Karjalainen, called “Tove Jansson, Work and Love”.
    I shall follow your progress:-)

  11. What a lovely project! I hope you have tons of fun re-discovering a favourite. 🙂

  12. One of my favourite writers! I would love to get my hands on Field of Stones, but no copies seem to be available. My plan – having enjoyed Boel Westin’s biography a little while ago – is to read Tuula Karjalainen’s. It has the benefit of being one of the most beautiful books I’ve ever seen!

    • I’m so pleased to learn you’re a fellow Tovian, Simon. I must keep a look out for Field of Stones when I’m snuffling about in secondhand book shops. Yes, I agree, Work and Love is very much on my bookdar, too! 😃

  13. I look forward to following this! Perhaps it would be a good opportunity to get The True Deceiver off my TBR-shelf…

  14. I love the idea of this. I haven’t read anything by her yet but went to an exhibition of her art recently and am very interested in finding out more – perfect timing, thank you!

  15. What an incredibly tempting project. I’d love to read all of her books and, at various times, have selected a single one from the library which seemed particularly tempting in a given moment, but I’ve always put it back because I feel it’d be opening a door to a true reading binge.(Which is what’s happening to me now with Elizabeth Strout’s books. I was just petting one of those at the library and whispering “soon….”). When I do turn that corner into Jansson’s world, I’ll be sure to tell you!

    • I have a real soft spot for Jansson’s work and it cheers me no end when others enjoy her books. I’m sure you’ll get around to reading that book (once you’ve worked your way through every Strout in the library). I imagine this project will continue for quite some time, so please feel free to contribute or comment at any point. ☺

  16. Oh, also, you asked if there were other books: there is a 2014 collection from NYRB called The Woman Who Borrowed Memories.

    You have so many individual collections of stories listed that I’m sure you’ve got the contents of this volume covered off, but I thought i’d mention it anyway, lest there are North American readers interested in trying her who might have more difficulty finding Euro-editions.

    This arose in my Mavis Gallant project too, in that her earlier proper collections are difficult to source, but NYRB has reissued at least two collections, three maybe, which offer another way into her work.

  17. I’m not a blogger- merely a reader but I will follow this project with interest. Read Summer and Winter Books and some of the Moomins. What a talent she had.

    • I’m delighted to meet you, Anne. Please feel free to comment or join conversations at any time, there’s no rule that says you must be a blogger – there are no rules at all, in fact. I look forward to seeing you around. 😊

  18. This is such a good idea, I love it when I get involved in a reading project! I haven’t read any of her books yet and would love to follow along in an ad hoc way if that’s ok?

  19. The Moomin novels feels like exactly what I need right now. I just finished Finn Family Moomintroll and am tempted to follow it up immediately with The memoirs of Moominpappa, just to get an excuse to stay in Moominvalley.

  20. I’ve tried to leave my links but they don’t seem to be here! I’ll try again another time!!


  1. THOUGHTS ON: Tove Jansson Life, Art, Words: The Authorised Biography – Book Jotter
  2. Stuck in a Book’s Weekend Miscellany – Stuck in a Book
  3. Winding Up the Week #80 – Book Jotter
  4. Winding Up the Week #81 – Book Jotter
  5. TOVE TROVE: Moomins | Re-enchantment Of The World
  6. Winding Up the Week #82 – Book Jotter
  7. TOVE TROVE: Moominsummer Madness by Tove Jansson – Book Jotter
  8. Winding Up the Week #83 – Book Jotter
  9. Winding Up the Week #86 – Book Jotter
  10. Winding Up the Week #92 – Book Jotter
  11. #Winding Up the Week #97 – Book Jotter
  12. Re-Enchanted 2019 | Re-enchantment Of The World
  13. 2019 Reading Year in Review – Book Jotter
  14. #Winding Up the Week #103 – Book Jotter
  15. A Balancing Act, Ongoing – Buried In Print
  16. Winding Up the Week #104 – Book Jotter
  17. Falling under a spell – Calmgrove
  18. Winding Up the Week #110 – Book Jotter
  19. Winter reading – I read that in a book
  20. Comet in Moominland – I read that in a book
  21. The Magician and his hat – Calmgrove
  22. Winding Up the Week #203 – Book Jotter
  23. TOVE TROVE: A Rare Travel Documentary – Book Jotter
  24. A Finnish microcosm – Calmgrove
  25. A Moomin memoir – Calmgrove
  26. Winding Up the Week #340 – Book Jotter
  27. A seaworthy craft – Calmgrove

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