Finnish kids create media buzz every spring

Every spring a magazine written and illustrated entirely by schoolchildren arrives like a breath of fresh air. It’s a longstanding tradition, especially in southern Finland.

Called Kevätpörriäinen (Buzzing Spring Bee) and founded in 1949, the magazine is legendary for its jokes page; some of the material may even give professional comedians a run for their money. The publication also contains poems, stories, games and artwork, all produced by kids in grades one to six. All profits are considered charitable donations and are distributed to schools for the benefit of the students.

As warmer spring weather reaches Finland, it is common to encounter groups of children selling the magazine. It’s not just child’s play – “grown-up” media often quote their favourite excerpts from Kevätpörriäinen on TV and radio and in paper publications. Below are our own favourites, used by permission. In honour of the 100th anniversary of Finland’s independence, the 2017 edition includes sections called “Top 5: Best things about Finland” and “My Finland.”

Top 5: Best things about Finland

Finnish schools are famous for their approach to learning – and now for the variety of animals found in the schoolyard. Illustration: Vilma and Ulla, grade 6

1. The seasons 2. The homes 3. The friends 4. The schools 5. The families (Lilja, grade 1)
1. The forest 2. Berries 3. Animals 4. The food 5. Stuffed animals (Pinja, grade 1)
1. Mom 2. Candy 3. The Tooth Fairy 4. Santa Claus 5. My cat (Seela, grade 1)

In my opinion, the best things about Finland are my big sister and my mum and my friends and my home and my granny. (Eevi)

Parks, schools, summers, amusement parks, shops (Tula, grade 4)

1. Summer 2. It snows in winter 3. Freedom of religion 4. There’s food and water 5. There are grown-ups (Essi, grade 1)
A. Sun B. Summer C. Water D. Sauna E. Sand (Eemeli, grade 6)
1. Sauna 2. Ice hockey 3. Youtubers 4. Winter 5. The Northern Lights (Rasse, grade 4)
1. Ice hockey 2. Runeberg cakes 3. Karelian pies 4. Santa Claus 5. The Moomins (Selma, grade 5)

My Finland

This drawing interprets the way clothing has changed over Finland’s 100 years of independence. Illustration: Amanda, grade 5

To me, Finland is family, friends, hobbies and school. In Finland, school doesn’t cost anything and we get free food at school. It’s nice to be a Finn. Women have the right to vote. And everyone has the right to be different. From time to time I visit other countries but it’s always nice to return to Finland. Congratulations Finland on your 100th birthday! (Junia, grade 4)

In my Finland, there’s no bullying at school, no evildoers and no poor people. I’d like to accomplish these three things. (Olivia, grade 3)

[My nicknames for the months of the year are]: winter month [January], ski month [February], Easter month [March], April Fool’s month [April], Vappu month [May, with its May Day (Vappu) celebrations], sun month [June], swimming month [July], apple month [August], leaf month [September], slush month [October], snow month [November] and gift month [December]. (Oona, grade 3)

My Finland is beautiful, nice, clean, different. In Finland you find fun friends. Finland has good schools where you learn a lot. My Finland has nice teachers. Nice schools and good ferries that can take you wherever you want to go. (Naz, grade 2)

Joking around

The cover of the 2017 issue of “Kevätpörriäinen,” an annual Finnish tradition. Illustration: Senja, grade 6

Many of the entries on the jokes page are plays on words, so we present some of those that are most readily translatable:

The mouse and the elephant went to the beach. “Oh no,” said the mouse. “I forgot my bathing suit.” The elephant replied, “Would you like to borrow mine?” (Julia, grade 4)

Why do bears have such thick fur? Because they’d look silly in overcoats. (Unna, grade 3)

What is a fishing net? It’s a bunch of holes held together by string. (Eevi, grade 4)

What living thing has the best hearing? The korvasieni [literally “ear mushroom,” the Finnish name for the false morel, a mushroom that resembles an earlobe in appearance]. (Arttu and Otso, grade 6)

By ThisisFINLAND staff, May 2017