Tuire Siiriainen, seated on the slide, reads from “Message in a Bottle”, in the capital’s Municipal Park, in a photo taken for Delano by Mike Zenari
Ermsdorf-based Tuire Siiriainen has recently come out with “Message in a Bottle”, a personalised children’s book in English, which she hopes will get young readers to engage with an educational story.
The 24-year-old Finnish illustrator, who holds a degree in advertising, came up with the idea with her business partner last year and founded Blueberry & Pie here in the Grand Duchy to publish it.
What makes the story so special? This book is quite literally a one-of-a-kind present: giftgivers--many of whom might be geographically apart from the child--write their very own “message in the bottle” while ordering the book online. One of the characters in the book, Kiki (who’s a scarlet Hawaiian honeycreeper), then discovers this message on the other side of the world and tries to deliver it to the child. An accurate world map is included and the animals help children learn about the different countries traversed in the voyage.
With the personal message and customised template, the book’s creators hope that it becomes a keepsake, and that a bond is formed between the child and the adult giftgivers, and with the animals who appear in the story.
From a young age, Siiriainen enjoyed telling stories because “it allows connecting people with each other”. Many years later, she rediscovered children’s books and had the idea of creating a story with a transparent message, which is the title of this book.
Nevertheless, it was difficult for her to find a platform during her studies. After graduating, she decided to self-publish because larger, established publishers don’t print books on demand. Siiriainen says: “It’s a completely different model.”
However, the process was complicated. It took months to find the right people, such as the designer and the author, who shared the same vision. Then, she stumbled upon the British author Tom Percival, who had already written several other children’s books and was an illustrator himself. After a flurry of emails and Skype calls, the book slowly took shape. They started selling the book online in August (€25.99).
While they’ve just launched the website and are still promoting the book, Siiriainen says that a series might eventually follow.