top of page
Book cover with an illustration of a mouse on a swing.

Tunes from Mousedale Dunes

Mladinska knjiga založba

Country: Slovenia


Original language: Slovenian


Age group: 5 - 12

Categories: Fiction, illustration

Inclusive towards: Socio-economic background, migration


Author: Anja Štefan

Illustrator: Alenka Sottler


Number of pages: 32

Format (in mm): 240 X 240


When it comes to publishing in Slovenia, Mladinska knjiga is a household name. For more than 70 years we have successfully maintained the status of the largest publishing house in Slovenia with extensive fiction and nonfiction lists for all generations as well as magazines for children and teenagers. We take pride in achieving the highest standards of quality at all levels. Special attention is devoted to picture books. Renowned award-winning authors and illustrators and the highest quality content and design - these are only some of the reasons why our picture books appeal to readers and publishers all over the world. To find out more about what we have to offer, you are warmly invited to visit our website at


One of the best Slovenian contemporary books of poetry for children focuses on the lives of tiny mice, their joys and their sorrows. The book is filled with a child’s curiosity, courage and wisdom as well as joy and delight.


Alenka Sottler, one of Slovenia's most acclaimed artists and

illustrators has depicted various mice. Anja Štefan wrote a number

of poems about mice for the anthology Svet je kakor ringaraja (The World Is Like Ringa Ringa Roses). Alenka and Anja were so taken by them that they are now creating a picture book for the

youngest readers. Innovative and striking.


The picture book  has received numerous awards (Večernica, Kristina Brenk, and Levstik awards, nominated for the Desetnica Award) This year it will also be staged by the Maribor Puppet Theatre. This outstanding collection of poems will now come to life in English in a first-rate translation by Nada Grošelj. Co-financed by the Creative Europe program of the European Union.

Book page with an illustration of three mice sitting next to each other writing on a book.
Book page with an illustration of two mice playing drums.

Info on the author

Anja Štefan (1969)  is a Slovenian writer, poet and storyteller. She has a degree in Slovene and English, and an MA in Folklore Studies. She is one of the most popular contemporary authors for children in Slovenia. She published 30 books of poetry, stories and adaptations of folk tales; her works have been translated to various languages.

She writes poems, fairy tales and puzzles. She puts into words the world as she sees it and the world as she would like it to be. She prefers to use fewer words rather than more, to see how they sound and to put them together so they speak to both children and adults. Her texts have been lucky: they have been taken on by the best Slovene illustrators and have often come to life on the puppet stage, while her poems have been set to music and sung at musical evenings, in schools and kindergartens. Her book Lonček na pike (A Pot with Spots, 2008) is the most popular book of poems for children in recent decades, while the story Bobek in barčica (Bobek and the Little Boat, 2005) is familiar to all Slovene children. Her books are very widely read and are frequently reprinted – in 20 years 260.000 copies of her books have been printed. She has received numerous awards for her work. Anja Štefan is an excellent performer and she makes frequent stage appearances, alone or with musicians. 

The other area in which she works is folk tales. Years of research and cooperation with legendary Slovenian folklorist Dr. Milko Matičetov has given her a strong feeling of responsibility towards oral tradition. Since she understands that traditional tales are most alive when they resonate with those listening to them she tries to build bridges between past and present, between once upon a time and now. She is the pioneer of professional storytelling in Slovenia. She performs regularly since 1995. In 1998 she established the National storytelling festival Pravljice danes, which she has led for 20 years. Besides that she has influenced the development of Slovenian storytelling scene through numerous appearances, lectures and workshops. She has brought many folk tales to life in magazines, pictures books and anthologies. Her collection of Slovene tales Za devetimi gorami (Beyond Nine Hills, 2011) is a book of great literary and ethnological value. On its basis Anja told stories for a televised storytelling series with the same title on RTV Slovenija (2012) and published a CD with the musicians Boštjan Gombač and Janez Dovč (2013).

Anja Štefan was awarded with:

  • Levstik Award 2001 – Grind, Grind, Little Mill 

  • Award for an Original Slovene Picture Book 2007 – One Hundred Puzzles

  • Levstik Award 2007 – The Corner at the End of the World

  • Golden Pear Award 2014 – A Swing for Everyone

  • Večernica Award 2018 – Tunes from Mousedale Dunes

  • Golden Pear Award 2018 – Tunes from Mousedale Dunes

  • Levstik Award 2019 – Tunes from Mousedale Dunes

Info on the illustrator

Alenka Sottler (1958)  is a Slovene painter and illustrator. She lives and works in Ljubljana as a freelance illustrator and is a member of New York Society of Illustrators. She has illustrated over 50 books for children and adults, for which she received numerous awards and honours including her second nomination for the Hans Christian Andersen Award in 2014.

She has also received many international awards, such as a Gold Medal from the Society of Illustrators, New York.


Alenka Sottler was awarded with:

  • Trojlistok Grand Prix of the Children’s Jury at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava 1999, Slovakia

  • Award of Excellence for being selected in the Emperor’s New Illustrations, Bologna Book Fair 2005, Italy

  • Certificate of Merit for being selected for the 47th Annual Exhibition at the SI New York 2005, USA

  • Certificate of Merit for being selected for the ILLUSTRATORS 48: book and editorial at the Society of Illustrators in New York 2006, USA

  • Levstik Award for Illustration 2007, Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Certificate of Merit for being selected for the 49th Annual Exhibition at the SI New York 2007, USA

  • Golden Apple at the Biennial of Illustrations Bratislava 2007, Bratislava, Slovakia

  • International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) Honour List 2008, Denmark

  • Award of Excellence, Bologna Book Fair 2008, Bologna, Italy

  • Hinko Smrekar Award at the 8th Slovenian Biennial of Illustration 2008, Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Merit at the 3×3 Illustration ProShow, The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration Show 2010, New York, USA

  • Grand Prix at the 3rd Croatian Biennial of Illustration 2010, Zagreb, Croatia

  • The Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award nomination 2010, Stockholm, Sweden

  • “Getting Inside The Outsider”, House of Illustration and The Folio Society’s Inaugural Book Illustration Competition, one of five finalist 2011, London, UK

  • The White Ravens 2011 for the book The Emperor and the Rose, Internationale Jugendbibliothek München, Germany

  • Merit at the 3×3 Illustration ProShow 2012, The Magazine of Contemporary Illustration, New York, USA

  • Hans Christian Andersen Award nomination 2012, Denmark

  • Prešeren Fund Award 2013, Republic of Slovenia, Ljubljana, Slovenia

  • Hans Christian Andersen Award nomination 2014, Mexico City, Mexico

  • Gold Medal, ILLUSTRATORS 58: book and editorial at the Society of Illustrators in New York 2016, USA

Awards and nominations

  • Winner of the Večernica Award 2018.

  • The Golden Pear Award 2018. 

  • The Kristina Brenkova Award 2018.

  • Selected for the White Ravens Catalogue 2018 and The Best Designed Slovenian Book 2017.

  • Nominated for the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award 2019 (ALMA)!

Media mentions

bottom of page