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First graders in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area get a book present from the Helmet Library

Helmet libraries and publishers will give a book gift to all first graders in the Helsinki Metropolitan Area in the school year 2022–2023. The first-grader campaign is a significant investment in the literacy of small readers. The campaign aims to provide each first grader with an age-appropriate, high-quality book of their very own. It also invites all new pupils to visit their local library either with the teacher or their family. The campaign starts in the Helmet libraries on Monday, 12 September 2022.

This year’s Finnish-language book gift is called Rapiseva reppu, written by Tuula Kallioniemi and illustrated by Virpi Penna. The book is published by Karisto as part of their easy-to-read “Kirjakärpänen” series. The book’s subject is familiar and topical to all first-graders: the first school day. Rapiseva reppu answers questions like ‘What if he can’t read yet?’, ‘What if I get lost during recess?’, ‘Can you play with Legos at school?’ and many more in a fun and engaging way.

“The first day of school brings back memories even in adulthood, with all the excitement, enthusiasm and anticipation involved. I am therefore particularly pleased that, this year, we can give the children a book that deals with this important day through warm humour and identifiable characters. I wish everyone a backpack filled with curiosity, joy and a library card of their own. Our goal is for the library to remain alongside children throughout their time in school. You can come to the library to do your homework, play board games with friends and ask the librarians for book tips or help with information search. We warmly welcome first-graders to the library!” says Katri Vänttinen, Library Director at the City of Helsinki.

Books for Swedish-and Russian-speaking children

Helmet library will also donate Swedish- and Russian-speaking children beginning their school books in their native language. The Swedish-language book is Malin Klingenberg’s and Margareta Sandin’s Vim och Galonis, published by Schildts & Söderströms. The Russian-language book is V. Dragunskij’s, L. Kaminskij’s and I. Pivovarova’s Samyje smešnyje istorii, published by AST.

How does one get the book gift?

Employees of Helsinki, Kauniainen and Vantaa libraries will invite first grade classes and their teachers to the libraries, and the book gifts will be presented during the visit. In Espoo, first graders get an invitation card to the local or mobile library at their school to pick up their gift book there.

Audio book for print-disabled children

Celia’s books are available to everybody with difficulties reading ordinary books due to dyslexia, disease, injury or a corresponding reason. Celia will provide audio books of the Finnish- and Swedish-language campaign books. The child must have Celia’s online service identifiers to get the book. Ask the school or the library about the identifiers.

Photo: Maarit Hohteri