Waiting for the Sun — an Easy Finnish Book about Migrant Youths

Metsäkuva alhaalta latvoihin kuvattuna.

Waiting for the Sun is a book which chronicles the stories of young adults who have relocated to Finland and are negotiating their relationship with their new home. The stories deal with various themes such as leaving, integration, family, love, otherness, and hope.

The stories in the book are collected from youths who took part in a 2017-2019 project Porukalla pääosaan, a 2017-2019 project carried out by Humak University of Applied Sciences. The project was conducted in cooperation with various cultural organizations.

In Finland, we tend to focus on how Finnish citizens perceive migrants. Waiting for the Sun instead gives migrant youths an opportunity to discuss Finland and Finnish people, state the editors Tiina Valkendorff, Päivi Ruutiainen and Anna Louhensalo.

Odotan Aurinkoa, Waiting for the Sun -kirjan kansi.
Waiting for the Sun is Humak’s first Easy Finnish book.

Waiting for the Sun Helps Migrants with Easy Finnish

In Easy Finnish, the language has been adapted to be easier to read and understand for people who cannot read standard Finnish.

According to the estimates of The Finnish Center for Easy Language (Selkokeskus), around 650 000 to 750 000 people living in Finland need Easy Finnish literature. The demand for such books increases every year.

The idea for an Easy Finnish book was born in a library. We noticed that there is a very limited supply of easy-to-read material available in Finnish, says project manager Tiina Valkendorff.

Migrant Stories

The Finnish language is viewed in the stories as difficult but beautiful. Similarly to native Finnish people, the youths found the words ’äiti’ and ’rakkaus’ (’mother’ and ’love’) to be the two most beautiful words in the Finnish language.

The name of the book, Waiting for the Sun, is derived from the impressions of melancholy and hope which arise from the stories. The youths portray the Finnish winter as long, dark, and a bit dismal.

On the other hand, the youths write that sunlight promotes sociable behavior among the Finns. Light, growth, and a sense of connection bring hope in the darkness.

Two versions

There are two different versions of the book. The first one, Waiting for the Sun – Stories about Getting to Know Finland, is written in Easy Finnish. It also includes English versions of the stories.

The stories were translated so that the people who don’t speak Finnish could also read them, says editor Anna Louhensalo.

The second version is shorter, and does not include English segments. The book meets the official easy language criteria of The Finnish Center for Easy Language.

Most of the photographs in the book have been taken by the youths themselves. They feature places which the students found personally interesting or significant. Visual artist Elsa Trzaska offered them instruction on how to compose photographs.

Read the Easy Finnish version of the book HERE.