“Nearly all moments of handing over the gift have been very special. On several occasions, an older sibling took the gift for their younger sister or brother. Some even started to read the book out loud to demonstrate their Estonian,” Piia Pärna, the Estonian Counsellor in London, shared some memorable moments.
“In order to maintain the Estonian language and heritage, everybody must have the chance to read in Estonian – regardless of whether they live in Tallinn or London, in Tartu or New York, in Narva or Helsinki. We will continue to give Tiny Tree for Estonian children born abroad even after the anniversary celebrations end, because this helps them to create and maintain their connection with Estonia,” said Indrek Saar, Minister of Culture.
Triin Soone, manager of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre that compiled and published the book, said, “We are sincerely happy that on the anniversary year, a whole book containing great Estonian children’s literature reached so many children, regardless of where their home is. This is the only way we can maintain and love the Estonian language.”
The title of the book Tiny Tree derives from a poem of the same name by poet Ott Arder, which is also included in the book. The collection contains poems and stories selected from among the works of renowned and beloved Estonian authors of children’s literature. The book includes old stories that many generations have grown up with, as well as some completely new stories, including fairy tales and counting rhymes for children, complemented with wonderful illustrations by artist Catherine Zarip.
The tradition to give a book to newborns began in 2007 under the initiative of the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre and with support by the Ministry of Culture with the purpose of arousing interest in reading and appreciating Estonian children’s literature.
See a video of the book Tiny Tree, given as a gift on the Estonian anniversary year https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9GYVfT7XPYg
Photographs of the book by the Estonian Children’s Literature Centre are available at https://drive.google.com/open?id=1WDL7BFXcaulJwz8bc-83_AZAV_Jff_ho
The celebrations of Estonia 100 will continue until 2 February 2020, the date that marks the passing of a hundred years from concluding the Tartu Peace Treaty. More information about the anniversary celebrations is available at https://www.ev100.ee/en.