Tove Marika Jansson (1914 - 2001) was born in Helsinki, to a family belonging to the Swedish-speaking minority in Finland. They were a bohemian and artistic family (today they would be unschoolers!) and Tove started writing stories and producing artwork as a teen. She continued to paint and write all her life and produced commissioned works of art for various clients. She also ometimes worked in collaboration with her life partner Tuulikki Pietilä, a graphic artist.
The Moomintroll stories started off as fun little diversions with highly adventurous plots, but later evolved into somewhat calmer stories with more personality and more nature. Jansson created a large and diverse population for her stories: Moomintrolls, their cousins the Snorks, Hemulens, and the spooky Hattifatteners, not to mention characters like Little My, Too-Ticky, and my own favorite Snufkin. I would recommend Finn Family Moomintroll as a good place to start, but it is not terribly important which order you read them in.
In 1966, Jansson won the Hans Christian Andersen Award for her work.
The books became very popular indeed. There have been TV shows and toys and postage stamps (hopefully one featuring the stamp-collecting Hemulen!). In Japan, you can buy a wide range of Moomintroll toys--I have a keychain.
|Moomintroll and Snufkin|