The ever-popular family of creatures known as Moomins continues to take the world by storm in what has been dubbed a "Moomin boom". This time the characters created by Finnish author Tove Jansson are pairing with charity organisation Oxfam to improve the lives of women worldwide.
A new double edition of two Moomin stories, The Invisible Child and The Fir Tree, has become an overnight bestseller at British book retail chain Waterstones and is currently selling at #2, just after chef Jamie Oliver's newest book of recipes.
Waterstones reports that sales have been high both in shops and online stores. A new printing of the book has already been ordered and the order size doubled.
"The Invisible Child is about a little girl who turns invisible after being badly treated by the woman supposedly caring for her," the official Moomin site writes. "She is given a place to stay at the Moominhouse and, when shown warmth, kindness and respect by the Moomin family, she gradually reappears and regains her place in the world – a right that every woman and girl should have."
"The Invisible Child is one of Jansson's most beloved short stories, and suits the campaign well," says Moomin Characters creative director Sophia Jansson, the lauded author's neice. "And British children's book audiences have been familiar with the Moomins since the 1950s."
The UK boasts a long history of donating to charities, and Jansson says that purchasing the new book is a way for consumers to demonstrate their values.
The target sum for the Oxfam campaign is 200,000 euros.
Moomins in Rwanda
The specific projects which the campaign will fund have not yet been decided. Oxfam focuses on developing countries all over Africa, Asia and South America.
One of the potential countries to benefit from the Moomin boom is Rwanda in east Africa. Jansson visited an Oxfam office there earlier this year and met with a cooperative of local female pineapple farmers.
The women say they were easily able to follow the fanciful and touching story of Ninni in The Invisible Child in its Kinyarwanda translation when they read the story aloud at a meeting.
Jansson says she hopes that the Oxfam campaign is only the beginning of a longer combined charity effort.
"Most of the world is still quite unaware of the Moomins," Jansson says. "I'd say that the world needs a splash of Tove's philosophy now more than ever."