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Bicki-Books

A collectible series of six illustrated books
Translated from the Latvian by Uldis Balodis, Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, and Kate Wakeling

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Words by Arnolds Auziņš, Janis Baltvilks, Pēters Brūveris, Herberts Dobre, Valdis Grenkovs, and Maija Laukmane
Illustrations by Liepa Līva, Sabine Moore, Reinis Petersons, Paulis Piterāne, Gita Treice, and Zane Zlemeša

Publication date: 17th January 2019
Price: £20 for a set of six books, £4 individually

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A collectible series of six new illustrated classics by Latvian authors, translated into English for the first time by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, Uldis Balodis, and Kate Wakeling. Young readers will love these modern nursery rhymes and unique illustrations featured in each pocket-sized book, and are sure to find a favourite story (or two!).

The titles included in this set are:

  • Bicki Bucki, written by Janis Baltvilks and illustrated by Reinis Petersons

Janis Baltvilks and illustrator Reinis Petersons work together to tell the unusual story of a friendship between a small boy and a dinosaur which gets its tail stuck under a stone. Petersons’s simple, block colour illustrations make this tale of perseverance and helping others pop off the page. And just like the hero, the reader who powers on to the end will find a real surprise at the end of their quest!

  • Calm Beasts, written by Herberts Dobre and illustrated by Gita Treice

Herberts Dobre paints a curious world where wolves fall silent and lions lie down to be stroked. The warm, muted palette of Gita Treice’s painterly illustrations bring these beasts to life. Together, they tell a beguiling story about the power of the reader’s imagination. Where in the world can a child roam free with big cats and fierce predators? In a picture book, of course!

Maija Laukmane presents us with a world where everything is out of place. Once one thing changes, daily routines and chores get all mixed up for a child and her pets: soon, Annie is being chased by mice and her dog has taken her place at school. But some things never change. As soon as Morris the cat gets at a bowl of milk, no amount of havoc can prise him away… Sabine Moore’s bold illustrations are a mix of cartoon and cut-out styles, bringing their own bright and manic energy to this topsy-turvy world.

  • The Door Wizard, written by Pēters Brūveris and illustrated by Paulis Liepa

This tale by Pēters Brūveris is about the radical changes that happen when a wizard makes it impossible for a door to close. The outside comes in and the inside goes out. But what’s a kid to do, caught in the middle of it all? The story is brought to life with colourful geometric illustrations of home life and the natural world by Paulis Liepa.

  • Ice Cream, written by Arnolds Auziņš and illustrated by Līva Piterāne

Arnolds Auziņš offers a cautionary tale about the perils of eating too many sweet treats – if you choose to see it that way. It all depends on whether you think turning into a snowman is a good thing or a bad thing! Watercolour pictures by Līva Piterāne create a playful, dream-like snowscape, and add a comic touch to the poem’s portrait of family life.

  • Naughty Gnat, written by Valdis Grenkovs and illustrated by Zane Zlemeša

Valdis Grenkovs tells the familiar story of what happens when a drawing session doesn’t go to plan, taking the reader from the conception to the meltdown. Zane Zlemeša illustrates the text with a vivid collage of scribbles and platters as our check-shirted hero becomes overwhelmed by a fly in the ointment.

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About the authors

Jānis Baltvilks is a contemporary classic of Latvian children’s literature. Jānis Baltvilks brought the forest into Latvian literature, drawing his understanding and knowledge of nature from earlier experience as a professional natural scientist. His works convey a comprehensive, wise view of the world, based on the courses of nature. The writer, whose contribution amounts to more than 30 children’s books of poetry, prose and reference literature, was also one of the most active members of the Latvian section of IBBY.

Herberts Dorbe

Maija Laukmane

Pēters Brūveris was a prominent Latvian writer, translator of poetry, laureate of the Baltic Assembly Prize for Literature. In 1980, he graduated from the Latvian State Conservatory, department of Culture and Art. He was the author of 10 collections of poetry, and he translated from Azebaijan, Tukish, Lithuanian, Russian, German and other languages. Brūveris also wrote children’s literature, lyrics for popular musicals and songs. His most notable honours and awards include the Klāvs Elsbergs Prize in 1987, the Poetry Days Award (2001, 2005), the Baltic Assembly Prize in 2004, and the Annual Latvian Literary Award (2006).

Arnolds Auziņš worked as the literary editor of the magazine Draugs from 1997 to 1991. He is a member of the Writers ‘Union and the Journalists’ Union of Latvia. His first poem was published in 1957. He received first prize in the Radio Fairy Tale Competition in 1966 and in a competition for ‘Avots’ magazine in 1980. His first collection of poems “The Smile” came out in 1967. He has worked in different genres and written for both children and adults. His poems have been translated into English, Russian, Lithuanian, Georgian, Finnish and Bulgarian. His wife Laimdota is a retired teacher. They have two sons and daughters, and are proud of their five grandchildren.

Valdis Grenkovs

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About the illustrators

Reinis Pētersons currently works in the fields of illustration and animation film. He is one of the most prominent illustrators and new generation animation film artists to come from Latvia. His auteur animation film Ursus (2012) has been selected and participated in more than 90 film festivals across the globe, receiving numerous awards and distinctions. In the past two years Pētersons has been nominated twice for The Hans Christian Andersen Award (Switzerland), which is the highest international recognition given to a book illustrator, and also for The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (Sweden).

Gita Treice is a graduate of the Latvian Academy of Art. Gita has illustrated textbooks in mathematics and Latvian language, illustrations for the children’s magazine Zīlīte, and a series of drawings for “Radio Fairy-Tales” cassettes, among other projects. In 2001 she received the title of Artist of the Year and the award for the most original artistic idea. She was included in the White Ravens List of the International Youth Library (Munich) and was nominated for the Annual Prize for Book Publishing 2001 for the collection of folk-song “Christmas is Here” (Ziemassvētki klāt! Compiled by I. Kušnere. R.: Jumava, 2001). She received the 2003 Annual Prize for Book Publishing for her contribution to book design in that year. In the book art competition Zelta ābele 2008 she received the award for “Achievement of the Year”.

Sabine Moore

Paulis Liepa studied graphic art at the Art Academy of Latvia. He has received significant awards, among them Award of the Year in Culture of the newspaper Diena (2013), Grand Prix at the print exhibition “Grafika-S” (2014), Grand Prix at the International Graphic Art Biennial of the Baltic Sea Countries in Kaliningrad, Russia (2008), prize at the International Graphic Art Triennial in Cracow, Poland (2012) etc. The artist’s works are held in private collections as well as in the collection of the future Latvian Contemporary Art Museum. In parallel to prints Paulis Liepa works in book design, illustrations and animations.

Līva Piterāne

Zane Zlemeša’s delicately painted drawings are pieces you can spend a long time gazing at. Layered, textured, detailed, her illustrations are individually characteristic, whether they are depicting an interior, a landscape or an individual.

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About the translators

Uldis Balodis  has translated mysteries, children’s stories, and scientific articles, and hopes to try his hand at poetry translation in the near future. He holds a Ph.D. in linguistics from the University of California, Santa Barbara and has studied over 30 languages including Navajo, Sanskrit, and Livonian. He grew up in Arizona, a descendant of the World War II Latvian refugee community in the United States, and has native proficiency in Latvian and English along with a deep understanding of the nuances individual words and turns of phrase hold in both languages.

Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini works as a literary agent for the Latvian Literature platform and translates in her spare time. Her translation of Kristine Ulberga’s “The Green Crow” was published by Peter Owen Publishers, and she translated the stories “The Birds of Ķīpsala Island” by Dace Rukšāne and “The Shakes” by Svens Kuzmins for “The Book of Riga”, published by Comma Press in 2018, as well as “The Quarry” by Jana Egle (for Words Without Borders). Her other translations in English include: “The Noisy Classroom” by Ieva Flamingo (children’s poetry, published by the Emma Press), “Dog Town” by Luīze Pastore (a children’s book, published by Firefly) and the forthcoming Bicki-Books poetry series for children (Emma Press, 2019). Žanete is currently working on translating “The Room”, novel by Laima Kota.

Kate Wakeling is a poet and ethnomusicologist. Her poetry has appeared in magazines and anthologies including Oxford Poetry, Magma, The Guardian, The Best British Poetry 2014 (Salt) and The Forward Book of Poetry 2016 (Faber & Faber), and a pamphlet of her poetry for adults, The Rainbow Faults, is published by The Rialto. Moon Juice is her first poetry collection for children. Kate is writer-in-residence with Aurora Orchestra where her scripts, stories and verse for family audiences have featured at Kings Place, the Melbourne Festival, the bOing! Festival and on BBC Radio 3. She also writes and performs with chamber ensemble TROUPE (‘concerts that tell stories’), with recent performances at Wigmore Hall and the Spitalfields Summer Music Festival. Kate studied music at Cambridge University and holds a PhD in Balinese gamelan music from the School of Oriental & African Studies. She lives in Oxford with her husband and son.