Anja Portin: Radio Popov

What if you were all alone in the world – but one night you discovered that the Sharp Ears always hear you when you sigh?

Author: Anja Portin
Finnish original: Radio Popov
Publisher: S&S, 2020
Genre: children’s novel
Number of pages: c. 250 pp.
Reading material: Finnish original, English sample, English synopsis

Rights sold: Bulgaria, Perseus; Denmark, Staarup & Co.; Estonia, Ühinenud ajakirjad; Latvia, Janis Roze Publishers; Lithuania, Alma littera

Nine-year-old Alfred lives virtually alone. His mother has disappeared long ago, and his father, who stays away on business trips, doesn’t always seem to remember that Alfred exists. One night, Alfred sets off in the company of the mysterious Sneak, who puts things through letter- boxes – not just newspapers, but apples, woollen socks and sandwiches.

Thus begins an unforgettable adventure that changes everything, and not just for Alfred. Sneak turns out the eccentric Amanda Lehtimaja, a paperwoman who is one of the Sharp Ears. At Amanda’s home Alfred finds an old radio transmitter designed by a Russian physicist, A. S. Popov. He starts making a secret, nightly radio broadcast that all the other forgotten children in the city listen to.

But how can Amanda and Alfred help the children, and what will Alfred’s father do when he notices that his son is gone? And who exactly are the Sharp Ears?

“Some stories start with a trivial little whimsical idea, like someone deciding to find out if they would sleep better on the hallway floor than in their own bed. Like I decided to do one night.”

Radio Popov is an exciting and humorous, warm-hearted story that brings to mind the most beloved classics of children’s literature, like the fairy tale novels of Astrid Lindgren. The novel was awarded Finlandia Junior, the most prestigious literary award of the year given to children’s and YA titles, in 2020.

About the author:
Anja Portin