Timo Parvela im Interview

In Kürze wird auf www.antolin.de ein Antolin-Spezial über Finnland, bzw. finnische Kinder-und Jugendliteratur, die auch in deutscher Sprache erhältlich ist, erscheinen. Im Hinblick auf diese Veröffentlichung gelang es Herrn Hoffmann Timo Parvela, den derzeit erfolgreichsten finnischen Kinderbuch-Autor auf dem deutschen Markt, für ein Interview zu gewinnen.

Timo Parvela wurde 1964 in Finnland geboren und war Grundschullehrer, bevor er 1996 begann, Bücher zu schreiben.

Er hat bisher zahlreiche Kinder- und Jugendbücher und TV-Drehbücher sowohl für Kinder als auch Erwachsene geschrieben.

Seine Ella-Reihe wurde sehr erfolgreich und ist in seinem Heimatland Finnland Schullektüre. Im Mittelpunkt steht die Grundschülerin Ella, die aus ihrem Schulalltag erzählt. 


Albert Hoffmann (AH): Sie haben mit Ihren Ella-Büchern den Kindern im deutschsprachigen Raum eine große Freude gemacht.

You have made many German-speaking children very happy with the Ella books you have written. 

Timo Parvela (TP): Thank you, I’m very happy to hear that. I really hope that I could make a whole family enjoy Ella books.

 AH: Diese Bücher sind sehr lustig, die Szenen, die beschrieben werden, unendlich komisch. Haben Sie derartige Szenen in der Schule erlebt?

The books are very amusing, the scenarios you described in the book, are unbelievably funny. Have you yourself experienced similar things in school?

TP: Once I played football with my pupils. After the game all of them were nicely waiting by the pitch apart from two boys who were fighting in the middle of the playing field whether the score was 0-0 or 7-2. The events of the books aren’t usually directly from real life but sometimes they could be for every teacher recognises an Ella, Pekka, Hanna or Mika in their class. Ella books are more about language and the illusion it creates rather than what happens. Ella describes things from her own point of view in such a convincing way that the reader believes they have really happened even though it could just be her own interpretation.

AH: Wie hat Ihnen die Schule besser gefallen: als Schüler oder als Lehrer?

How did you like school better: as a teacher or as a student?

TP: It was a lot more fun to be a student but as a teacher you were allowed to eat as many buns as you wanted to.

AH: Eine der witzigsten Stellen in „Ella in der Schule“ ist das Kapitel, das im Schwimmbad spielt. Passierte etwas Ähnliches in Ihrer Zeit als Lehrer?

One of the most hilarious parts in the book  „Ella in school“ is the chapter that describes the visit in the swimming pool. Did something similar happen when you were a teacher?

TP: In fact, the story about the swimming hall was the first Ella story I have ever written. One could deduce something about it’s veracity by the fact that I wrote it the same night I had visited a pool with my own pupils.

AH: Was Ihre Bücher so besonders macht, ist das Verhältnis der Schüler zu ihrem Lehrer. Der Lehrer agiert nicht immer glücklich, manchmal ist er sogar ein Tollpatsch. Doch die Kinder lieben ihn, sie wollen ihm helfen. Dass die Kinder ihren Lehrer rundum mögen – ist das typisch für Finnland?

The relationship between the students and the teacher makes your books special.  The teacher doesn’t always act wisely (happyily?), sometimes he turns out to be a clumsy fellow. But the children love him, they want to help him. Is the fact that the students like their teacher despite his faults, typical for Finland?

TP: Well, first of all I’d like to remind that Ella books aren’t a documentary about the finnish school system although I can’t deny the fact that there are some special features related to our school. Perhaps it is the easy relationship between the teacher and the students that is very typical for finnish schools. Pupils here call the teacher by their first name or just “teacher” and a teacher in a class kind of exists more as a person than in many other countries. Perhaps because of this they forgive his mistakes a bit more easier. When you get to know someone you understand better that he isn’t perfect.

AH: Es gibt keine wirklich großen Konflikte in ihren Ella-Büchern. Die Schüler sind zwar teils sehr unterschiedlich, aber keiner wird ausgeschlossen. Ist das so von Ihnen beabsichtigt?

There are no really big conflicts in your Ella books. Although the students are quite different in their characters, nobody is being excluded or mobbed. Is this fact based on your intention?

TP: This is one of the most important messages I’ve wanted to get through in my books. You don’t have to be friends with everyone but you have to get on somehow. I know that’s not always the case in real life but in the books I’ve wanted to show it’s possible. If someone can’t do something you have to help him instead of ignoring him.

AH: Manche Szenen in Ihren Büchern sind so irreal (z. B. die Klassenfahrt nach Lappland), dass sie den Anschein erwecken, vom echten Schulleben weit entfernt zu sein.

Some scenarios in your books are unrealistic (i.e. the school trip to Lapland). They seem to be far-fetched from real life in school.

TP: When I started writing longer Ella stories, first I tried to find the right way to write an interesting story. That’s why in the first books the line between realistic and unrealistic is very thin. Later on the stories become more closely related to real life again.

AH: Welche Geschichten mögen Sie privat lieber: diejenigen, die nahe an der Wirklichkeit sind oder die, die in Fantasiewelten  spielen?

Personally, which stories do you prefer: the ones that are closer to reality or fictional stories?

TP: I think the best is to write a story that seems realistic but in fact is completely fictional.

AH: Möchten Sie mit Ihren Ella-Büchern Lehrern und Schülern eine Botschaft mitteilen?

Is it your intention to convey a message to teachers and students with your Ella books?

TP: I prefer to write a good, entertaning story but that kind of story usually needs to be based on an important and real message. I’m not trying to teach anyone but I don’t mind if someone learns something from them. Preferably the teacher.

AH: Wird es weitere Ella-Bände geben?

Are you planning to publish more Ella books in future? Hopefully also on the German market?

TP: The 17th Ella book has just came out in Finland so in Germany there will be a lot coming out in the next couple of years. I have, in fact, just made a deal with my German publishing house that all of the Ella books will be published.

 AH: Haben Sie mit dem großen Erfolg der Ella-Reihe im deutschsprachigen Raum gerechnet?

Did you expect the Ella books to become so successful in the German speaking countries?

TP: I have been very happy with the success of Ella books in Germany. I find Finland and Germany very similar, which the success proves as well. I have very much enjoyed my visits in Germany and meeting german teachers and pupils. You can never foresee popularity but I really hoped that german children, their parents and teachers would enjoy my books. And sometimes your wishes come true!

AH: Herr Parvela, ich bedanke mich für dieses Gespräch!

Mr. Parvela, thank you for the interview!

TP: Thank you! It was my pleasure. Information technology is amazing for I answered to your questions in our summer cottage in an island in the middle of a lake. Furthermore, the battery of my computer is almost dead and I forgot my charger back home 500km away so I had about 23 minutes to answer. Now I have only 3 minutes left and I hope I have just enough time to send this.


Timo Parvela