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Series of pocket-sized Latvian poetry picture books Bicki-Books published in Great Britain

2019, January 24

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The Emma Press has launched the first batch of Bicki-Books, a landmark series of pocket-sized picture books for children originally published in Latvia by liels un mazs. Each Bicki-Book features a classic Latvian children’s poem, newly translated into English, with illustrations from some of Latvia’s leading illustrators. The six titles include Ice Cream and Naughty Gnat.

The English publication of the Bicki-Books is supported by a grant from the Latvian Writers Union. These books will appeal broadly to all children who enjoy nursery rhymes, poetry, funny fables, and books that feature beautiful, full-page illustrations — and they are a perfect introduction to the rich world of Latvian literature. They are highly-collectible, and available for purchase individually or as a full set of six books. The Bicki-Books are postcard-sized picture books, each featuring the work of a different Latvian illustrator alongside a famous Latvian children’s poem or nursery rhyme.

The poems are translated into English by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, Uldis Balodis and 2017 CLiPPA winner Kate Wakeling. Kate Wakeling’s first collection of poetry for children, Moon Juice, was published by the Emma Press in 2016. In 2017, Moon Juice was awarded the CLiPPA – the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education’s award for children’s poetry books.

The celebrated Latvian poet Inese Zandere, editor-in-chief at Latvian publishing house liels un mazs, edited the Bicki-Books series. Rūta Briede, influential artist and tutor at the Art Academy of Riga, was the art director; she commissioned a variety of industry-leading Latvian illustrators for work in the series.

There were 101 Bicki-Books published in Latvia between 2012 and 2018, with the 101st book released to mark 100 years of Latvian independence.

The six Bicki-Book titles, which launched on 17th January 2019, are:

  • Bicki Bucki, written by Jānis Baltvilks and illustrated by Reinis Petersons.
  • Calm Beasts, written by Herberts Dorbe and illustrated by Gita Treice.
  • Ice Cream, written by Arnolds Auziņš and illustrated by Līva Piterāne.
  • Naughty Gnat, written by Valdis Grenkovs and illustrated by Zane Zlemeša.
  • The Door Wizard, written by Pēters Brūveris and illustrated by Paulis Liepa.
  • Topsy-Turvy Tasks, written by Maija Laukmane and illustrated by Sabine Moore.
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