Petra Janoušková

I originally wrote the stories about Maple the elf and Blackberry the fairy for my own children. I wanted to write engaging stories with easy-to-understand explanations of life in the forest. And it seems I succeeded. Now I would like to send them out into the world to find their place in your libraries and hearts. These stories describe the seasons, natural phenomena and some animals and how we should treat them. Natural phenomena include a solar eclipse, the water cycle and solstices. Even though for the most part the stories are not about Christmas, I wrote them specifically to serve as an Advent calendar. I wanted my children to have an Advent calendar, but I didn’t see why they needed to get chocolate every day to do that. Eventually I realized that daily stories would be the perfect replacement. So instead of a cardboard calendar filled with sweets, every December we hang up a little bag and the children find a new story in it each day until Christmas. They love the shared ritual and always look forward with anticipation to what story they will get today and what they will learn.

Jitka Koldová

Did you ever build little houses for elves out in the woods when you were little? I did – it was so much fun. Now imagine that I got the chance to bring forest creatures to life. For myself and for you readers. Gentle Tales from the Forest introduced the characters Maple the elf and Blackberry the fairy. What was it like working with their stories? You might say it was magical... Petra has the gift of writing simply and clearly and yet still painting a vivid picture in your mind. Images came to me spontaneously as I read and the illustrations quickly took form. I tried to capture the peaceful yet ever-changing atmosphere of the forest with all the life hiding just under the surface. I hope you find a bit of your own childhood in this book as well.