Fingers are clattering on the keyboard, yet this time it is not numbers, figures, or hypotheses that appear in the document. Instead, something different is shaping into a text. And the thoughts are different too. This is how the stories of A Breath of the Forest began–stories that I wrote but that took shape through the eyes of children, nature, and my feelings. All these stories are recordings of life with children and nature. I wrote most of them on Muhu Island, where our family spends the majority of our spare time. I cannot explain how I became so attached to the island, as I am half Võro and half Seto myself. It simply has its charm.


These stories found their beginnings in forests, by the seaside, on the terrace, drowsing into sleep, observing the nature, and occasionally in the words of children. My elder child was lying down peacefully on the shingle by the seashore. When I asked her what she was doing, she told me she was windbathing. Then the thought began to unfold, and the story “Windbathing” was created. Or, for example, “By the Highway”: when going fishing by the sea, the sky resembled the highway–birds were flying from East to West, to where the sun set itself to sleep.


Johanna-Iisebel Järvelill
Johanna-Iisebel Järvelill

I am an ecologist by training. When writing my doctoral thesis, I studied coasts, sands and their mineral content and, in connection, a little radioactive radiation that can be harmful to human health. In my spare time, I enjoy being in the woods, observing and getting to know nature. I started writing these stories at the beginning of 2019 while also working on my thesis. The last story was written in June of 2020. In between were several months when I didn’t write anything.


I wrote these stories to bring children to nature. Or rather, to bring nature to children who cannot go there themselves. Or even if they can, perhaps they will see their surroundings differently the next time they go to the woods or to a river, thereby gaining new knowledge and experiences.

These stories helped me to relax, to just be with myself and our surroundings. I hope that they are helpful or simply enjoyable to read for others too, both for children and adults.

Johanna-Iisebel Järvelill author of the book "A Breath of the Forest. Tales of the Forest"