Only one in four young people consider reading cool – Read Hour challenges Finns to read for an hour on UN Literacy Day


The Read Hour campaign spreads from 31 August to 8 September. It will culminate on UN Literacy Day on 8 September at 14:00 for a reading hour throughout Finland. The aim of the Read Hour campaign is to instil a new festival dedicated to literacy in Finland and to raise the topic of declining reading, especially among young people.

“Literacy is celebrated in Finland at the turn of August-September. We are still one of the nations where people read a lot, but the latest PISA survey again raised concerns. As many as one in eight young people graduate from primary school without adequate reading skills and over 60 per cent of boys said they only read if forced. The result has deteriorated from the previous measurement,” notes Olli Alanen, Director of the Children and Youth Foundation. 

The Children and Youth Foundation is organising Finland’s largest literacy campaign, Read Hour, for the second time. This year, the main partners in the campaign are the bioforestry company UPM, Moomin Characters and Pikkujätti Medical centre for children and youth. Municipalities and cities in particular have also been challenged to join. Third sector organisations and a large number of media companies are also involved. 

Sauli Niinistö, President of Finland is the patron of the campaign as last year. 

Only one in four young people consider reading “cool” 

The Children and Youth Foundation asked 1,500 young people about their reading habits to support the preparation of the campaign. The views on reading vary a lot. Only a quarter of respondents considered reading “cool”. In addition, they said they would read more if they found more interesting topics to read. 

“Fortunately, about half of the young people who responded to our survey thought reading was useful and more than a third thought it was a good pastime. We hope that the Read Hour campaign will strengthen these notions,” says Alanen. 

Read Hour campaign between 31 August and 8 September 

The partners and many cities and municipalities will organise various events during the campaign. For example, a library bridge is illuminated in Turku and the Finn Family Moomintroll is read multilingual in Vantaa. All kindergartens, schools and upper secondary schools will also hold a reading class on 8 September in Vantaa.  

UPM volunteers will lead a discussion about their meaningful books in virtual lessons in secondary schools all over Finland. The campaign culminates in a national reading hour on 8 September at 14:00.    

Moomin Characters  

Moomin Characters Oy Ltd is the official copyright manager for Moomin characters. All Moominvalley characters are registered trademarks worldwide. Moomins are one of Finland’s largest export products and have a global fan base. Tove Jansson (1914–2001) wrote and illustrated nine novels, four picture books and hundreds of comics about moomins between 1945 and 1970. Books about bold and adventurous but family-centered moomins have been translated into more than 55 languages ​​and are still being printed around the world today.

Moomins have enjoyed international acclaim since the 1950s, when original Moomin cartoons reached tens of millions of readers worldwide. Later, the Moomins have delighted people on several continents through animation series, theme parks and plays, for example. There are more than 750 Moomin licensees around the world. Tove Jansson founded Moomin Characters Oy Ltd in the 1950s together with her brother Lars Jansson to manage Moomin copyrights, and it is still a family business. Rights and Brands is the company’s global licensing agent. |  


We deliver renewable and responsible solutions and innovate for a future beyond fossils across six business areas: UPM Biorefining, UPM Energy, UPM Raflatac, UPM Specialty Papers, UPM Communication Papers and UPM Plywood. As the industry leader in responsibility we are committed to the UN Business Ambition for 1.5°C and the science-based targets to mitigate climate change. We employ 18,700 people worldwide and our annual sales are approximately EUR 10.2 billion. Our shares are listed on Nasdaq Helsinki Ltd. UPM Biofore – Beyond fossils. 


The Pikkujätti Medical Centre for Children and Youth operates six pediatric stations with nearly 190 paediatricians, specialists and other specialists specialising in children’s health care Pikkujätti is owned by 50 medical specialists and is a member of the Aava Terveyspalvelut Oy / Aho Group Oy. The company is Finnish-owned.  

Lue lisää

The President of Finland: “Through books, we may become acquainted with different cultures”
The President of the Republic of Finland Sauli Niinistö: “At a time like this, the experiences delivered by reading and books are important”