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Estonian children living in Belgium publish book of Christmas poems

The Estonian School in Belgium's 2023 Christmas book.
The Estonian School in Belgium's 2023 Christmas book. Source: ERR

While Estonian communities in North America, Finland and elsewhere in the world may get plenty of air-time, there is also a significant presence in Belgium.

ETV news show "Aktuaalne kaamera" (AK) reported Monday that a school serving the Estonian community in Belgium, substantial in part due to the presence of many major EU institutions in that country, has published a book cataloging poems, illustrations and other creations, all with a Christmas theme, and from a wide specturm of ages.

The Treufelt family's three children had gone all out to make their contribution to the book, both in the form of poems and drawings.

One of the children, Stella, told AK that: "My poem is about a scarf that is sad, as the child does not like it - because it is itchy," Stella said.

Meanwhile Emil: "Wrote a poem about a black cat at Christmas Eve. I also did it because a black cat tipped over the Christmas tree one morning. I came up with the idea after seeing videos how cats knock over Christmas trees a lot."

The third child, Ralf, concocted a tale in which a snowball yearned to be indoors sitting in a warm armchair and sipping a pina colada no less, but instead is destined to remain outside in the cold.

Kairit Kolsar, head of the Estonian school (Belgia Eesti kool) in Belgium, told AK that a total of 75 poems and over 20 illustrations were submitted from children, some of who required more parental or teacher encouragement than others, from ages ranging from three, to high school senior age.

 An added challenge was that, given the lead time from manuscript stage to final printed product, the children had to have their offerings ready by the autumn half-term break, requiring getting into a Christmassy frame of mind many weeks before the festive season and at a time of year in Belgium when the weather is still quite warm, and the leaves on the trees still green.

Editor: Andrew Whyte, Barbara Oja

Source: 'Aktuaalne kaamera,' reporter Joosep Värk.

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