Tales and legends from Finland form the background to this story of a modern Finnish boy who is a student during the Finnish Revolution of World War I that freed that country from oppressive Russian rule.
One of the better early Newbery Honor books. Vaino's story takes place during Finland's struggles for independence. His story is accompanied by his mother's tellings of legends that can be found in the Kalevala. The legends are well told, but take up most of the book, so we don't really get terribly invested in Vaino's story. However, I think the introduction to both might have piqued readers' interest, leading them to learn more about Finland in 1917 (and thereabouts) and the Kalevala legends.