I share a few thoughts on the official launch of the new Moomin initiative
“It is language that distinguishes us from other species. The ability to express fears, dreams, the future and the past are central to humanity, and without a nuanced language we lose the connection to our feelings.”
– Sophia Jansson
Last Thursday, I spent a congenial hour in the company of an array of publishers, authors, book brainiacs and Moomin maestros at the official launch of Reading, Writing and the Moomins.
The live-stream event, presented by Andrea Reuter, was broadcast from the Courage, Freedom, Love! exhibition (celebrating 75 years of the Moomins) at The National Museum of Finland in Helsinki – birthplace of writer and artist Tove Jansson. Conceived to spark enthusiasm for reading and writing among the Moomin community and beyond, I am delighted to confirm that it reignited my already keen interest in the importance of words.
This paean of praise to the written word comprised a fascinating selection of guests from a wide range of organizations involved in the project, including representatives and Moominites from UNICEF, Oxfam, the Red Cross, Macmillan, Otava and PEN International. Of particular interest to me, however, was listening to Tove’s niece, Sophia Jansson, the artistic director at Moomin Characters Ltd with her son, James Zambra, a designer at Kobra, explaining how Reading, Writing and the Moomins came about and the process of designing unique Moomin alphabets from Tove’s maps and novels. Sophia also expressed her anxieties over coming generations losing the use of language to digitisation – a concern one often hears voiced by fellow lexophiles.
Natania Jansz from Sort of Books, the publisher responsible for printing Tove’s work in English was another personal highlight, as were the Finnish school children sharing their thoughts on reading, which they delivered in perfect English. Oh, that I could converse so well in Finnish, or perhaps I should say, ‘Suomen kieli’.
You can still watch Reading, Writing and the Moomins on the official YouTube channel. Please follow #MoominABC on Twitter to stay up to date with this inspiring initiative.
“Reading and writing skills and education are key to equal and peaceful societies. As the pandemic has disrupted the education of millions of children, this is more important than ever”.
– Nina Vähäpassi (Corporate Alliances Manager, Finnish Committee for UNICEF)
Image © Moomin Characters™