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Kaldmaa, Kätlin / Rõõmus, Jaan


An extraordinary girl from Estonia

Translated from Estonian by Maximilian Murmann
© 2022 Baobab Books
48 pages, hardcover, 18,5 x 26,5 cm
CHF 24.00 / € [D] 19,50 / € [A] 20,10
ISBN 978-3-907277-15-7
Ages 8 and up

Literally every child in Estonia knows Lydia: the poems of the author Lydia Koidula are part of the school curriculum in the country. The life story of the writer, who was born in 1843, is so extraordinary that it absolutely has to be told. The Estonian state as we know it today did not exist in Lydia's time. Livonia was the name of the area that corresponded to today's Estonia and Latvia. After German, Polish, Danish and Swedish rule, it was under Russian control from 1710.
Lydia learned German from her mother, and school lessons in those days were also held in German. Lydia's father, in turn, was a teacher and journalist and founded the first daily newspaper in Estonian. Words, language, stories and poems are Lydia's passion. Even as a child, she loves nothing more than to read and write. Her dream is to teach children in Estonian instead of German and Russian.
The right to speak one's own language and cultivate culture becomes her life's theme – at the same time, she stands for openness and crosses cultural and linguistic borders several times. At 20, she becomes her father's right-hand woman in the newspaper editorial office. At 22 she publishes her first book, and at 25 she organises the first Estonian singing festival. Later, Lydia learns Finnish, marries a Latvian and settles in Kronstadt, Russia. And when her children ask her one day where she is at home, Lydia says: «My heart is spread all over the world.»
A poetic and multi-layered children's book that brings Lydia Koidula's extraordinary life to life and carries the demand to be allowed to live self-determinedly into today's world with ease.

The author

Kätlin Kaldmaa (*1971) is an Estonian writer, translator and literary critic. Already in her childhood in the Estonian province, books were her great passion – and a good explanation when she had once again not finished gardening. Later she studied Estonian linguistics and literature as well as English. Her own numerous publications include volumes of poetry, short stories, novels and children's books. The book «Lydia» is based on several years of research.

The illustrator

Jaan Rõõmus (*1990) studied graphic design at the Estonian Academy of Arts. He is an illustrator who likes to experiment with different techniques and styles to find the right expression for each of his works. He uses everything from traditional fountain pen and ink to digital technology to bring his versatile works to life. Jaan Rõõmus lives and works in Tallinn.

Original edition: «Lydia» © 2021 Hunt Kirjastus, Tallinn, Estland