"Baron - The Life of Jarno Saarinen" is a non-fiction picture book (written and illustrated by me) that tells the story of a sympathetic top road racer legend. Saarinen, aka. The Baron & The Flying Finn, was the first Finn to win the motorcycle road racing world championship in 1972. This is the cover of the book.
Saarinen did not hesitate to pursue his dreams across the seas. The map is like a table of contents; it shows the Grand Prix circuits in the 60s and 70s (during Saarinen's career).
I got the idea for the book from a motorsports fan while I was returning from Bologna Children’s Book fair in April 2017 and waiting for a flight in Munich airport after missing one. I was immediately impressed about Saarinen, his determination and courage. I thought: “If the story touches me, an outsider to the sport born ten years after his death, it's bound to touch others as well.”
Saarinen touched many hearts with his upbeat personality and courage, and I hope new generations will know his story.
1:00 minute video of how I got the idea for the book and about the exhibition that was arranged to celebrate the book.
The book's illustrations were highly commended at the World Illustration Awards, Children's books category. The exhibition in June 2019 was arranged at Somerset House in London.