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Review 5.26: Monster Nanny , with author: Tuutikki Tolonen

Held at the Critic Bookshop, Viva Mall.
Author: Tuutikki Tolonen
Book: Monster Nanny
Time: 15:00 – 16:00pm
Date: 26-05-2019
At exactly 3:00pm on Sunday, the event started with an introduction and welcome by the official interpreter for the day Gary Fang. After ushering the audience to a warm and pleasant afternoon, the author introduced herself to the audience. From Finland, her work has always been to write books, she said. Writing for children has always been her passion. China, she said, was a lot more different from her home country Finland. She described Finland as this ecosystem with a lot of lakes, forests with a lot of different animals. As a first timer in Beijing, China, Tuutikki said her impression about China was that almost everything works differently here. She expressed her thanks to the organizers of the event stating how happy she was to have received the invitation.
Her main agenda for the day’s event was to discuss with the audience how one could live as a writer. She wanted to expatiate from her perspective what being a writer signified for her as someone who put words on paper and was able to captivate the minds and hearts of many readers who relished her work.
To explain this, she started by asking some questions. “How many of us read big books?” “Is there anyone who thinks that reading is a bit difficult?”. After the audience shared their answers she shared briefly her initial journey that ushered her into writing for children. She said, ‘As a child, I thought I was not a good reader. However, I used to be very sick as a little child. I was allergic to a whole lot of things around me. I was allergic to animals such as turtles and because of these allergies I had to stop going to school because I kept getting sick and hat to stay at a hospital some three hundred kilometers from home. During that time, I missed my parents a lot and wanted to spend time with them’.
Tuutikki mentioned how this experience as a child had been iconic to her writing career. As she lay on her hospital bed sick and dealing with her allergies, she started reading and developed a love for reading. She would flip through the pages and enjoy the stories as she read them with much excitement. She said an event that seemed like a misfortune could metamorphose to something impactful in the future. From that time, she has stuck to reading and has been reading many books till date. Now she is an author of children’s books.
About the book, she showed a photo on the screen and asked the children to guess what the picture was. She told the children later about the picture and gave more details about the book.
She mentioned that she has two children and that when her son was six years old, one morning he said to her a very strange thing. He said, “Mother I heard on the radio all the mothers have to go on vacation and they would be replaced by monsters”. “That is something strange”. She laughed. Her son said it with much seriousness that for a moment she thought maybe she heard something. Of course, he was trying to trick her, but she continued thinking about it, the reality of what could happen. She kept thinking about the monster, whether it would be a big monster or a small one, or what food the monster would eat, and she started writing until she had more than three hundred pages. And now she has written already three books of the monster of its friends and enemies.
In her book, she pens down the story of a mother who had to go on a vacation with so that a nanny could come and take over the house and take care of the children. To everyone’s surprise, the nanny that settles in the home is a monster and not a real nanny. The story unveils the interaction between the monster nanny and the children. The author carefully makes this beautiful a delight to listen to through her very interesting delivery.
As she read the book, one of the children asked, is this a real or fake story? She answered; everything is true. It is just a few parts that have been exaggerated. She said she gets asked a lot from other children. She wanted to encourage the children to have imaginations that were not limited. She challenges children to be open to build their creativity, understanding that anything is possible. She asked the children, does anyone have an invisible friend? One of the children said, he believed his invisible friend was on his ipad. Tuutikki laughed. She took them through the reading and provoked their imagination as she interacted with the children.
Tuutikki shared her writing journey with building creativity and imagination as her main focal point for this session. She interacted with some parents and children after the event who were very delighted to hear her read her books to the children.
Report by
Robert Chireboah-Ansah