Moomin Characters launches Tove Jansson website and livestream event

Moomin Characters Ltd has launched a brand-new website which celebrates the life and work of Moomin creator and multi-talented artist Tove Jansson.

Presented in the style of an immersive exhibition, the new website gives fans and newcomers to Jansson’s work the opportunity to understand how intricately her life and her creative output were intertwined, by presenting them side-by-side.

Visitors will be able to get new insights into Jansson’s creations by learning about what was happening in her life while she was working on the books, comics, paintings and illustrations she is so loved for. They will be able to explore her childhood home in a bohemian artist’s studio, dive into details of her rich oil paintings, and learn about the struggle of an artist with many talents trying to fulfil both her inner curiosity and the demands of an ever-growing global audience.

Images, video and text will bring Jansson’s personal story to life, from the influence of the Second World War to falling in love with a woman at a time when it was still illegal to be homosexual in Finland.

To celebrate the launch of this unique new showcase of Jansson’s work, Moomin Characters Ltd is holding the first global online screening of the film ‘Tove and Tooti in Europe’ on December 9 at 3pm GMT.

This rarely-seen-before film uses footage shot on an 8mm Cine Camera by Tove Jansson and her long-term partner, the graphic artist Tuulikki Pietilä, known as Tooti, as they documented their travels around Europe. The footage dates from 1972 to 1993 and includes scenes from Paris, Venice, London, Madrid, Dublin, Iceland and Corsica.

Another 8mm Cine Camera documentary shot by Tove and Tuulikki, called ‘Haru, Island of the Solitary’, was recently screened in the same way to celebrate Moomin Characters Ltd raising over one million euros with their #OURSEA campaign to help save the Baltic Sea. The live stream attracted thousands of Tove Jansson fans from around the world, demonstrating the huge appetite from fans to see this archive footage and learn more about her life.

Sophia Jansson, Creative Director at Moomin Characters and niece of Tove Jansson, said: “With this website, we wanted to create the richest and most comprehensive digital gallery and online resource that exists for any artist worldwide. Our hope is that it will be the most brilliant introduction to Tove’s work for newcomers, and that there will also be something new to discover for even the most committed fans. As Tove’s niece, it is very moving for me to see her life and her work presented in such a beautiful way and now accessible to people all over the world.”

The website launches on December 3, 2021. It is currently available in English, Swedish and Finnish. Further content will be released in phases, with more material to come about the people and places that were important to Tove Jansson. Eventually, visitors will be able to step into the Moominhouse, learn about lovers becoming lifelong friends and important artistic collaborators, and a family that supported Tove in her bold, uncompromising approach to life and art.

To join the global screening of ‘Tove and Tooti in Europe’ on Thursday 9 December, please sign up via the Eventbrite page.

New US licensing partnerships for Moomins

King Features Syndicate has announced a robust new licensing programme for the children’s property Moomin as the brand continues to gain momentum in North America. This growth is supported by new consumer product launches, the recent theatrical release of TOVE – a new biopic about Moomins’ creator Tove Jansson – and a Moomin exhibit now open at the National Children’s Museum in Washington, D.C.

On November 5, Just Peachy, a California clothing and accessories brand, released its line of Moomin-inspired apparel, accessories and novelty items including hoodies, sweatshirts, bags and woven throw blankets. Additionally, the fan-favourite Ripple Junction apparel line has been renewed with Moomin-themed tops, loungewear, joggers, swimsuits, mobile phone accessory, pins and more. Moomin characters will appear on assorted apparel, accessories, footwear and skateboard decks from Rowing Blazers in 2022.

The expanded Moomin licensing programme comes on the heels of the biopic TOVE, which was theatrically released in the U.S. earlier this year. The movie follows the artistic struggles and unconventional personal life of Tove Jansson, who found worldwide success from an unexpected side project: the creation of the beloved world of the Moomins.

Now through January 9, 2022, fans in the United States can experience the magic of Moominvalley in person at the National Children’s Museum in D.C. by visiting the “Moomin Animations – Thrills and Cuddles” exhibit. The exhibit is produced by the world’s only Moomin Museum and brought to the U.S. by the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C. Combining texts and colourful illustrations, the exhibit retells the story of how the Finnish author Tove Jansson’s beloved Moomin books and comics have been brought to life using animation. Families can enjoy Moomin animation from different eras and parts of the world, from the very first Moomin film to premiere on TV to the most recent, award-winning 3D animation series, Moominvalley. The exhibition is co-produced by the Moomin Museum, the Embassy of Finland in Washington, D.C., National Children’s Museum, Gutsy Animations Ltd. and Moomin Characters Ltd., and is supported by Finarte and Lovi Ltd.

As part of the annual Kids Euro Festival in D.C., organised by the EU Delegation to the United States, the Embassy of Finland and National Children’s Museum distributed 400 free tickets to the exhibition this autumn. In addition, the festival offers a variety of free online programming for everyone to enjoy at home. Upcoming events include The Music of Moominvalley (Saturday, November 20, 10:30 am ET), in which composers Samuli Kosminen and Jarmo Saari share how they made the music for the hit TV series Moominvalley (Gutsy Animations, 2019), and Christmas in Moominvalley (Saturday, December 11, 10:30 am ET). Log on to hear a Moomin story written by Tove Jansson and learn about the holiday traditions of Finland.

“Moomin and its charming characters are known around the world for friendship, love and adventure and have become a true cultural phenomenon,” says King Features Vice President and General Manager, Global Head of Licensing, Carla Silva. “We are thrilled to be sharing the Moomin values with consumers in North America through local products and experiences that the whole family can enjoy.”

First debuted more than 75 years ago, Moomin has an extensive fan base across European territories and is now gaining popularity in North America. The 3D CGI series Moominvalley currently airing in multiple territories around the world.


Rovio Entertainment to launch the first Moomin games for mobiles this year

Rights & Brands has partnered with Rovio Entertainment in a worldwide exclusive mobile games deal for the Moomin IP.

Based in Stockholm, the global licensing agency, Rights & Brands is the worldwide master agent of the Moomins, while Rovio Entertainment is the most successful Finnish mobile gaming company globally and the creator of the Angry Birds franchise.

Under the partnership, Rovio will develop new Moomin based games for any platform while holding the exclusvie rights to Moomin based games for all mobile platforms. Rovio’s first Moomin game will be based on the original story and world created by Tove Jansson, and inspired by the animated series, Moominvalley.

The title is already in development and expected to soft launch later this year.

“Moomin Characters looks to expand their digital footprint and offering, it’s fantastic to join forces with Rovio Entertainment, who bring a wealth of expertise and success in this space. We’re confident this partnership will open up new opportunities not only to the Moomin trademark, but also to the additional Nordic story. This partnership marks an important milestone in our strategy to take local Nordic creations to the international marketplace,” said Roleff Kråkström, managing director of Moomin Characters.

Alex Pelletier-Normand, CEO of Rovio, added: “We are honored and excited to enter this partnership that will give us the opportunity to present this iconic brand to new audiences across the globe as well as delighting our existing fans. This partnership will diversify our IP portfolio, which is a key step in our consistent growth strategy.”

Patrick Ullman, CEO of Rights & Brands, said: “This is the strategic alliance and digital collaboration we have been striving to achieve since starting up Rights & Brands. This is an important part of our digital transformation and a key driver to take the Moomin story and global awareness further, reaching new target audiences.”

Rights & Brands and Moomin Characters have invested in the Emmy Award-nominated studio Gutsy Animations, creator of the internationally celebrated Moominvalley 3D animation series. Multi award-winning Moominvalley is the company’s flagship production, with a record-high of 16 million starts on Yle’s streaming platform in Finland and distribution sold to over 50 countries.

“Rovio’s first Moomin game is inspired by the Moominvalley visuals. The partnership between these companies, all major players in their respective fields, will support steady growth and brand awareness for the Moomins in all digital arenas,” said Patrick Ullman.

“This deal is the perfect match for the Moomins and shows the rare but massive impact a brand based on art and literature can have. The Moomins is a body of art and this certainly takes art to a new level.”

Walthamstow Wetlands and the William Morris Gallery to celebrate Moomin creator Tove Jansson with trail and exhibition

The London Wildlife Trust is to host a special exhibition and outdoor trail across Walthamstow Wetlands and in the William Morris Gallery, dedicated to the Finnish artist, writer, and creator of the Moomins, Tove Jansson in a project supported by Jansson’s family and estate.

Starting with an indoor exhibition and outdoor trail opening to the public in June this year, the collaboration will mark a year-long celebration of Jansson, a much-revered painter, cartoonist, satirist, writer, and – as dubbed by author Philip Pullman – genius.

The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island will draw on the parallels between the island of Klovharun in the Finnish archipelago, where Jansson spent her summers immersed in nature, and the scenery at Walthamstow Wetlands which is Europes largest urban wetlands with eight islands of its own.

Visitors to the Wetlands will be able to enjoy an exhibition about Jansson’s island home and the inspiration she took from nature, featuring rendered and displayed facsimiles of photographs taken of Jansson on Klovharun, quotes, and her own work including her nature studies and descriptions of birds.

The trail will be accompanied by a unique downloadable audio piece from multi-instrumentalist and composer Erland Cooper, which includes field recordings from Klovharun and a new reading of Jansson’s essay ‘The Island’ by her niece Sophia Janssson

Cooper said: “Tove Jansson was an inspirational creator and cultural icon. To be able to score an exhibition and retrospective of her work is a great honour. I have a fondness for London’s Walthamstow Wetlands and so to try and transport a listener through that world and into hers, over to the tiny island and cabin on her remote, treeless Klovharun where she created a timeless body of work, is a joy.

“She seemed like a child of nature and I’ve tried to bring that gentleness into a score to support this exhibition. To me it feels almost like a soundwalk through her creative world, across the seas and back again into a city where local sounds of birds may interact freely with those of the score itself. She seemed to have such grace and affection towards her surroundings, and I hope this meditative score touches on just a little bit on her magic.”

The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island will run at Walthamstow Wetlands from June 2021 until January 2022. It will be followed by a second exhibition which will open at the William Morris Gallery in 2022.

This landmark exhibition will bring together personal objects, photographs and archival material to tell the story of Janssons life and development as an artist through the lens of her deep affinity with nature, which is something that she shared with William Morris. The exhibition will invite visitors to consider Janssons most famous creations – the Moomins – as creatures in touch with the environment and connected to nature in a powerful way.

The year-long celebrations are being curated by Alison Williams and Mhairi Muncaster on behalf of the William Morris Gallery.

Alison Williams said: “We are delighted to bring Tove’s island, the inspiration behind the Moomins, all the way from the Baltic Sea to London. Walthamstow Wetlands Nature Reserve is a very special place – it has the same conservation status as the Amazon and the Nile, right here in Walthamstow.

“These exhibitions will explore how island life, the weather and an ever-changing landscape informed Jansson’s work, which still captures the imaginations of children and adults alike, and share some thoughts on what we can learn from the Moomins when it comes to ecology, conservation and the climate crisis.”

Mhairi Muncaster, added: “There are more similarities between Toves archipelago and our Wetlands than you might think – from the islands and their rich ecosystems to the fact that Finland and Walthamstow both have a history of pioneering social progress. After a year filled with challenges, were looking forward to safely welcoming visitors to a pair of exhibitions that will inspire, delight and offer new ways of looking at the natural world. And you don’t have to be a visitor to enjoy Erland and Sophia’s piece – fans from all around the world will be able to download it and enjoy the magic of the island wherever they are.”

Leah McNally, director of strategic projects and engagement at London Wildlife Trust, added: “London Wildlife Trust is delighted to host ‘The Woman Who Fell In Love With An Island’ exhibition and outdoor trail at Walthamstow Wetlands, we can’t wait for visitors to explore and experience the new show on site, learning more about Tove Jansson’s love of nature and linking that to conserving London’s nature.

“Walthamstow Wetlands is a special place, designated as a site of Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), a Special Protection Area (SPA) and internationally designated as a Ramsar site, as well as being an operational Thames Water reservoir.”

Publishing, licensing, and the rule-breakers that have shaped its success

A particularly enjoyable piece of trivia is that there is very real evidence to suggest Agatha Christie was one of the first Britons to learn to surf standing up. Added detail that she did so off the shores of Honolulu and Cape Town at the height of the roaring ’20s, only adds to the image of vivacity of the author known for pioneering new grounds in British literature through the creation of two her best loved characters, Hercule Poirot and Ms Marple.

Both, believe it or not, have been the subject of successful licensing endeavours in the past and present, that have taken the characters and their worlds into the physical and digital gaming space, consumer products, and, of course, countless television and film adaptations – many of which will be broadcasting on any given channel right now, as you read this.

History has long been written – but often overlooked – by the women holding the pen, while it’s arguable that the licensing industry has long been influenced by the creations that emerged from their pages. Tove Jansson, the Swedish-speaking Finnish author, as we all know, was the mind behind Moomins, Beatrix Potter brought us the world of Peter Rabbit (et al), Rowling handed us Harry Potter, Mary Shelley gave us Frankenstein’s monster (yes, that totally counts), and actually the list goes on.

In doing so, however, each had to break the rules of their era, help set new precedents, and pioneer in a space heavily enveloped in patriarchy. Licensing, by extension, has always managed to champion those rule-breakers and help create a legacy around their works. Recently though, Timbuktu Labs – the owners of the Rebel Girls IP – has striven to take this one step further.

It’s well recognised that the publishing sector has long been a favoured pitch of the licensing industry, seen by many as a fertile ground for some of the most impactful and longstanding licenses and licensing programmes in the space today. Only this week has Dr Seuss Enterprises detailed this year’s plans with Random House Children’s to celebrate the author’s 116th birthday, while the Roald Dahl Story Company has seemingly written a new future for the world’s number one children’s storyteller through its boundary-pushing partnership with Netflix.

When it comes to licensing, classic book properties really do know how to go the distance. But with such a deep well of classic children’s literature to draw from, and up against some of the most iconic characters and brands to emerge from them, it’s no small undertaking to launch modern day book properties to the same effect.

David Walliams has largely been credited with revitalising the children’s book scene in recent years, with licensing success beginning to emanate from some of his most popular titles, including the likes of the Billionaire Boy stage show, or the Gangsta Granny board game, among various other partnerships in place, or on the way. Since his embarkation on a journey into children’s books, Walliams has – to date – sold 25 million copies across his portfolio of some 16 titles, proving that no matter how popular the classic IP remains, there’s still plenty of room to reach contemporary audiences, with a spin on the contemporary messages.

And what are contemporary audiences asking for more and more? Well, better representation of the women of history that have helped shape society today is always a good start.

The Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls is a book series well aware of the demand for a contemporary shake-up among the book cases today. In a few short years, the series has sold over 4.5 million copies and has been translated in nearly 50 languages, taking its stories and accounts of just some of history’s best known -and the not so well known – trailblazing and pioneering women to audiences worldwide.

Its success in fact, has sparked the foundation of the Rebel Girls lifestyle brand, one that unites publishing, podcasts, digital content, and consumer product licensing, through which the values to educate and empower girls through storytelling are shared. Its global success to date is reflective of shifting audiences not only in the publishing space, but the wider market, for stories, and brands, that empower and speak out in a new way.

“The brand reaches beyond the hugely successful book series to connect Rebel Girls across multiple platforms,” Louisa Skevington, licensing executive a Rocket Licensing, the team responsible for Rebel Girls’ UK licensing programme, tells

“The Rebel Girls podcast has achieved over three million downloads between two seasons, and its digital presence is steadily growing, establishing Rebel Girls as a distinctive lifestyle brand beyond its core publishing. Rebel Girls is keeping ahead in this competitive market.”

Rocket Licensing recently detailed the first UK licensees for the Rebel Girls brand in Gibsons Games – who has developed a contemporary puzzle range based on the look and message of the brand, with a card game to follow this summer – and Portico Designs, which will be launching an extensive range of products, including back to school stationery, gift items and lunch ware.

Of course, the launch of the brand in this way, and the messaging behind it couldn’t be more timely.

“With the rise of the #metoo movement, and the increasing awareness around the importance of equality and representation, Rebel Girls is filling a space in the market that continues to grow,” added Skevington. “And Rebel Girls has a clear mission that translates into product strategy. The brand looks to identify products in need of refreshing and inspiring updates, considering impact on education, gender and environment.

“The product, like the brand, aims to be forward facing in its ideas and approach. The universal message of Rebel Girls spans a wider demographic than many publishing titles.”

From here, and working closely with the Rebel Girls US based brand owner Timbuktu Labs, Rocket Licensing is already eyeing its next move, and, with a style guide currently being finalised, we won’t be waiting too long to see what happens next.

“We are currently targeting product categories such as nightwear, daywear, social stationery, accessories, and health and beauty, while developments in licensing are supported by the ongoing growth of the brand itself, which continues to expand upon its core collection – just recently it launched two new chapter books: Junko Tabei Masters of the Mountain and Dr Wangari Maathai Plants A Forest,” continues Skevington.

“This summer it will release a fifth chapter book: Alicia Alonso Takes the Stage, while autumn will mark the release of its third anthology, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls: 100 immigrant Women who Changed the World.”