Kertu Sillaste

Kertu Sillaste (1973) is an illustrator, art teacher, and picture book author. She graduated from the Estonian Academy of Arts in textile design, studied tapestry at the Ɖcole SupĆ©rieure des Arts AppliquĆ©s DuperrĆ© in Paris, and received a masterā€™s degree in art education at Tallinn University. Sillaste has worked as a graphic designer at the Tallinn Central Library, and currently teaches art at the Estonian Childrenā€™s Literature Centre. She has written five books, illustrated 16 works, and is a long-time collaborator with the childrenā€™s magazine TƤheke. Sillaste was listed in the 2016 White Ravens catalogue and was a candidate for the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award. Her signature style includes thick, vibrant India-ink brush strokes combined with acrylics or collage.

I've authored texts for picture books. The writing in my books is very concise ā€“ what matters is that it always fits with the pictures. I usually write a story and illustrate it simultaneously, and therefore I might not tell everything in the story itself: the pictures tell part of the tale, too. When I write, I keep in mind that a book meant for small children should have short words and sentences, but also a little bit of excitement and great characters.

Profile photo: Piia Ruber







UKLA Book Award Longlist 2023 in the information book category I am an Artist

IBBY Honour List (The Prettiest Skirt)
Good Childrenā€™s Book (In a Tiny House)

5 Best Designed Estonian Children's Books ("Help!)

International Illustration and Book Design Competition ā€˜Image of the Bookā€™, Moscow, laureate


25 Best-Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (The Prettiest Skirt)

5 Best-Designed Estonian Childrenā€™s Books, Special Prize of the Estonian Childrenā€™s Literature Centre
Good Childrenā€™s Book (I Am an Artist)


Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award candidate


The White Raven (No, It Isn't So!)
Good Childrenā€™s Book (Everyone Makes Art Their Own Way)


Raisin of the Year Award (No, It Isn't So!)
Nominee of the Annual Childrenā€™s Literature Award of the Cultural Endowment of Estonia (No, It Isn't So!)
Good Childrenā€™s Book (No, It Isn't So!)
The Knee-High Book Competition, winner (Astrid and Ott)


25 Best-Designed Estonian Books, Certificate of Merit (Liis Sillaste-Toots. ā€žKokatarkusi must valgelā€)
Good Childrenā€™s Book (KƤtlin Vainola. Where is Love?)


The Knee-High Book Competition, 1st place (KƤtlin Vainola. Where is Love?)
The Knee-High Book Competition, honorary mention (Kertu Sillaste. No, It Isn't So!)


The Knee-High Book Competition, 3rd place (Itā€™s Pancake Time!)

About the author

Story time with Kertu Sillaste (video)
Jeder macht Kunst auf seine Weise (Das Baltikum-Blatt, German)

Estonian illustrators at the Pop Up festival (UK)
Kertu Sillaste will perform in Leipzig and Berlin in March 2019
Kertu Sillaste. I Am an Artist (ELM)

Kertu Sillasteā€™s Book Chosen Among the 100 Best Books from 2017 in GermanyĀ 

Estonian Illustrators at the Literary Festival Berliner BĆ¼cherinseln
Jeder macht Kunst auf seine Weise (Kullerkupp, German)
Nein, so ist es nicht! (Kullerkupp, German)
Nein, So ist das nicht! (VivaVostok, German)

Estonian Children's Books Chosen for The White Ravens Catalogue
Estonian Childrenā€™s Literature Days in New York and Toronto
Kertu Sillasteā€™s Book Launch in England

Kertu Sillaste Won The Raisin of the Year Award

Home Page
Wikipedia (German)

Contact info

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