Jaanus Vaiksoo (b. 5. I 1967 in Paide) is an Estonian writer of childen’s literature, a literary scholar, and a lecturer.
Vaiksoo completed Tallinn 32nd Middle School and Tallinn Pedagogical University. He then studied at the University of Greifswald in Germany, the University of Vienna in Austria, and the University of Tampere in Finland. For his master’s thesis, Vaiksoo researched the reading models of August Gailit’s novel Toomas Nipernaadi and published a monograph Gailit ja Nipernaadi (‘Gailit and Nipernaadi’, 1995) based on his thesis.
Vaiksoo worked as a teacher of Estonian language and literature at several schools, including at Tallinn Secondary School of Sciences (1993–1995), Vanalinna Gymnasium (1997-1998), and at Rocca al Mare School. Beginning in 1991, he also worked as a lecturer at University of Tallinn. For general public, Vaiksoo is mainly known as an author of children’s and alphabet books, but he has also published a number of scholarly articles that focus on both Estonian and German literature. His primary area of interest has been Estonian literature of the second half of the 19th and first half of the 20th centuries as well as newer German literature, but he has also researched literary theory (hermeneutics, reception theory). He has written the afterwords of new editions of several Estonian novels and has compiled a selection of Henrik Visnapuu’s love poetry (Tänapäev, 2003) and a collection of crime stories by Eduard Vilde Kuul pähe (‘Bullet in the Head’, Tänapäev, 2010).
Vaiksoo’s first children’s book Neli hommikut ja üks õhtu (‘Four Mornings and One Evening’) was published in 2000. This was followed by a succession of works for children and young adults, including several children’s poetry collections, whose characters are connected with some of his other works. His original works have appeared in several well-known publishers’ children’s literature series. Vaiksoo’s work is considered to be focused on boys, and his style close to nature and rich in activities. His stories have been published in several anthologies, such as Ruttu tuttu! Isade unejutte (‘Bedtime Stories from Fathers’, Ajakirjade Kirjastus, 2005), Suur valmiraamat (‘Big Book of Fables’, Avita, 2006), Suurtelt väikestele (‘From the Big Ones to the Small Ones’, Ajakirjade Kirjastus, 2006).
Vaiksoo has translated into Estonian children’s books (Werner Holzwarth’s Lugu väikesest mutist, kes tahtis teada, kes lasi talle pähe, (‘The Story of the Little Mole, Who Knew it was None of his Business’, 2007), a couple of novels (Leo Perutz’s 'Turlupin', 1998, and 'The Swedish Cavalier', 2002), and poetry (by Ernst Jandl).
In 2004, Vaiksoo won the Karl Eduard Sööt Prize for Children’s Poetry awarded by Luunja Parish for his book Kellassepaproua (‘Mrs. Watchmaker’). In 2006, the alphabet book by Vaiksoo and Sirje Toomla was awarded third place in a competition of the best European school textbooks in the elementary school category.
Vaiksoo is an alumnus of the student corporation Sakala.
M. K. (Translated by M. M.)
Books in Estonian
Poems (for children)
Kellasepaproua. Tallinn: Varrak, 2003, 32 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Varrak, 2013, 32 lk.]
Onu Heino eksis ära. Tallinn: Koolibri, 2007, 48 lk.
Onu Heino väike pere. Tallinn: Tallinna Keskraamatukogu, 2010, 72 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Vana-Kahuri, 2011, 60 lk.]
Supipotikarneval. Tallinn: Koolibri, 2012, 47 lk.
Jõulutaadi ootel. Tallinn: Päike ja Pilv, 2012, 32 lk.
Neli hommikut ja üks õhtu. Tallinn: Avita, 2000, 52 lk.
Soovaimu lood. Tallinn: Eesti Jahimees, 2003, 64 lk.
Jaagupi esimene koolisügis. Tallinn: Koolibri, 2005, 72 lk.
Lumemöll. Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2005, 72 lk. [2. trükk: Tallinn: Tänapäev, 2012, 72 lk.]
Nõiutud pulmarong. Tallinn: TEA, 2007, 112 lk.
Eesti lipu värviraamat. Tallinn: Koolibri, 2008, 32 lk.
Saladuslikud seiklused Toompeal. Tallinn: Riigikogu Kantselei, 2010, 48 lk.
Gailit ja Nipernaadi. Tallinn: Koolibri, 1995, 96 lk.