1 N ederlands letterenfonds dutch foundation for literature Children s Books from Holland Spring 2011 A selection from 2010
2 P 3 Literary Prizes P 4 3+ Friends Happy and Sad Hans Kuyper & Alice Hoogstad P 4 4+ What a Delightful Dance Toon Tellegen & Annemarie van Haeringen P 5 4+ All the Fish Found Elephant Henk van Straten & Martijn van der Linden P 5 4+ The Man in the Clouds Koos Meinderts & Annette Fienieg P 6 5+ The Princess and the Paradise Garden Dolf Verroen & Thé Tjong-Khing P 6 5+ The Story-Teller s Thirty Most Beautiful Fairytales Thé Tjong-Khing P 7 5+ Keepvogel and Kijkvogel on the Trail of Mondrian Wouter van Reek P 7 5+ Mr Kandinsky was a Painter Daan Remmerts de Vries P 8 8+ How Much Paper goes into a Tree? Bas van Lier P 9 9+ Jim Judith Eiselin & Monique Bauman P When My Dad Turned into a Bush Joke van Leeuwen P Him or Me Dirk Weber P A Message in a Bottle Harm de Jonge P Dissus Simon van der Geest & Jan Jutte P Heivisj s Heaven Benny Lindelauf Literary Prizes De Griffels (The Slate Pencils) Since 1954 Annual awards for the bestwritten children s books. De Penselen (The Paintbrushes) Since 1973 Annual award for the best illustrations in children s books. The major awards for children s books by Dutch authors and illustrators. Woutertje Pieterse Prijs Since 1988 Annual award for books which excel in language, content, illustrations and lay-out. P 15 P 16 Recent Translations The Foundation Gouden Griffel 2010 (Golden Slate Pencil) Gouden Penseel 2010 (Golden Paintbrush) Voordat jij er was Daan Remmerts de Vries 6+ De boomhut Marije and Ronald Tolman Lemniscaat 3+ Juwelen van stras Carli Biessels Lannoo 8+ De hemel van Heivisj Benny Lindelauf 14+ Zilveren Griffels 2010 (Silver Slate Pencils) Grote Jongerenliteratuur Prijs (Young Adult Prize) Fiet wil rennen Bibi Dumon Tak 3+ Ziek Gideon Samson 9+ Wild verliefd Ditte Merle The House of Books non-fiction Since 2010 Annual award for the best young-adult books (15+) Hou van mij Ted van Lieshout poetry Aadje Piraatje Marjet Huiberts Gottmer 3+ Trouw is de andere wang Peter Bekkers De Geus De parel en de draak Liesbet Ruben and Babette van Ogtrop KIT s non-fiction Tiffany Dop Tjibbe Veldkamp Lemniscaat 9+ Page 2 Page 3
3 Friends Happy and Sad Hans Kuyper & Alice Hoogstad Hans Kuyper Alice Hoogstad Age 3+ Pages 32 Dania van Dishoeck Hans Kuyper and Alice Hoogstad combined forces to create this lavish rhyming picture book, with emotions that simply leap off the pages. The fun starts on the endpapers, where Hoogstad portrays a colourful parade of creatures: the lonely elephant with his sadly drooping trunk, the cheerful frogs playing leapfrog (what else?) and the happy bear cheering and waving his clumsy paws in the air. All of these animals reappear in the book s five-line verses, which tell a story of loneliness and new friends. Every poem focuses on a different emotion, which Hoogstad depicts with a vibrant palette and chunks of colour. When the animals kick their ball into Bull s flower garden, he comes charging after them, all red and angry. There s a moment of tension as the reader fears that the culprits aren t going to escape, but this cheerful animal story never becomes really scary even the angry bull ends up partying among a happy crowd of animals, with a nice grin on his big bovine face. Hoogstad has chosen her colours with care: sad mice seek to comfort one another in a muted green forest and Elephant and Donkey shyly celebrate their new love under a bright pink sun, the illustrations enhancing the poems beautifully. All the Fish Found Elephant Henk van Straten & Martijn van der Linden Henk van Straten Martijn van der Linden Age 4+ Pages 64 Moon Thille Dop One day, an elephant appears in the sea, just bobbing along. None of the sea creatures know where it s come from or even whether it really is an elephant. Elephants don t exist, says one. Yes, they do, says another, but they don t swim. They fly. Another one claims that elephant is what you get behind your fins when you don t scrub properly. Newcomer Henk van Straten (this is his second children s book) has written a collection of cheerful, gently subversive animal stories set in this strange watery seascape. The book is full of wry little sentences to put a grin on the reader s face, such as the lament of the frog who is lost at sea: What a whole heap of bad luck for just one little frog. Comments such as this lend a wonderfully light tone and an appealing touch of absurdity to the slightly philosophical chattering of the brooding tuna and the grousing parrotfish. Martijn van der Linden s acrylic illustrations, supported by the beautiful design of the book, form a new highpoint in his oeuvre. The powerful colour palette of the cut-out animal pictures, the softly flowing backdrops, the amusing angles, the beady little eyes of the sea creatures everything perfectly complements Van Straten s tale of marine life. 3+ In vibrant colours, young readers encounter a number of emotional situations that they will recognise from their own experience. Jury report, Leespluim award 4+ All the Fish Found Elephant is good news for all sorts of reasons: just for starters, there s the intriguingly wacky title and the magnificent colours of Martijn van der Linden s animal illustrations (a new highpoint in his oeuvre!). Vrij Nederland What a Delightful Dance Toon Tellegen & Annemarie van Haeringen Toon Tellegen Annemarie van Haeringen Age 4+ Pages 48 That s absolutely hopeless! declare the animals, as they watch the rhinoceros dancing with the hippopotamus. And it s true the wild way these two thick-skinned creatures come crashing together and fling each other about doesn t have much to do with dancing. But these aren t just any old animals: they re characters in a book by Toon Tellegen, a writer who has created a genre all of his own with his philosophical and absurdist animal stories. Things are seldom ordinary in Tellegen s world. And this is certainly true of the stories in Wat dansen we heerlijk (What a Delightful Dance). The bear dances with the honey cake, whispering sweet nothings as he gobbles down every last crumb of his dance partner, while the hedgehog only wants to dance with the squirrel if they can both do it in their own homes. The way I dance is not a pretty sight, he confesses to the squirrel. With her lively lines and bright watercolour and Ecoline paints, Annemarie van Haeringen turns the clumsy rhino and the awkward hippo into a ravishing couple of dancers who swirl over the pages in a graceful duet. Elsewhere, the hedgehog tires himself out performing complex ballet steps and the whirligig beetle gracefully does the splits. It s the most delightful dance ever to appear in a children s book! The Man in the Clouds Koos Meinderts & Annette Fienieg Koos Meinderts Annette Fienieg Age 4+ Pages 32 Lemniscaat Diana Garibbo Children s writer Koos Meinderts began his career with cabaret songs and now, for the second time, he has turned one of those songs into a picture book. De man in de wolken (The Man in the Clouds) is a philosophical parable, with melancholy illustrations supplied by Annette Fienieg. High on a mountain lives the man in the clouds. In his house, there s a painting of a landscape, so beautiful, so stunningly empty, that s how it must have looked when the world began. The people from the valley love to come and look at the painting and, for just a moment, to forget how sad life can be. But when the man in the clouds hears that his painting is worth a fortune, something changes. The innocent pleasure is over, his suspicion of the people from the valley grows and he becomes so scared of thieves that he shuts his house up tight. Meinderts tells the tale almost casually, in simple, poetic sentences. The painting itself is nowhere to be seen in Fienieg s illustrations. She does, however, depict the blissful faces of the people looking at it, so readers can imagine the magnificent work of art for themselves. De man in de wolken is an ode to art, but even more than that it s a tribute to the power of the imagination. 4+ Tellegen s animals dance gracefully and captivatingly over the pages. NRC Handelsblad 4+ Meinderts is the king of the romantic picture book with a touch of idealism. Page 4 Page 5
4 The Princess and the Paradise Garden Dolf Verroen & Thé Tjong-Khing Dolf Verroen Thé Tjong-Khing Age 5+ Pages 64 Dania van Dishoeck Funny fairytales form an apprenticeship for literature. The princesses in De prinses en de paradijstuin (The Princess and the Paradise Garden) couldn t care less about royal etiquette. Instead of marrying a prince, they d rather have a swineherd or a stable lad. And when their eyes do happen to fall on a majestic specimen, they always seem to be lazy good-for-nothings or have bandy legs. Dolf Verroen is the author of this read-aloud book full of princess stories, which cheerfully mocks the conventions of the traditional fairytale. As the genre requires, Verroen s princesses are destined to marry rich princes, but the road to the altar takes some strange twists and turns. This is mainly the fault of the princesses themselves, some of whom are rather unconventional. One is bald, while another is an argumentative shrew. Finding a suitable prince for that kind of princess is certainly a challenge! No wonder the royal fathers in this light-hearted fairytale parody spend a lot of their time moaning and groaning. Thé Tjong-Khing, who recently received the prestigious Max Velthuijs prize for his oeuvre, is in his element with these stubborn royal ladies. The characters seem to be frozen mid-action in his tableau-vivant-like scenes. And it s a delight to see the beautifully grouchy expressions that he puts on those regal faces. Mr Kandinsky Was a Painter Daan Remmerts de Vries and illustrator Daan Remmerts de Vries Age 5+ Pages 32 Dania van Dishoeck A little blue horse prances right out of a painting. It gallops through the air, heading for a photograph of its creator: Wassily Kandinsky. Another version of the artist himself is sitting there on a stool in front of his easel, watching the little blue horse. Daan Remmerts de Vries s cheerful caricature portrays Kandinsky as a tubby little man with a big head and dabs of red paint for his cheeks. This book is the first part in a series of picture books about art and artists by and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague and looks at Kandinsky and his development as an artist. The author playfully shows how the artist, who started out painting impressionist landscapes, came to concentrate on an almost constructivist abstract style: instead of the world around him, he began to paint his own inner self. Remmerts de Vries has painted copies of some of Kandinsky s paintings, including Der blaue Reiter, combining this technique with collages. This artistic approach makes Meneer Kandinsky was een schilder (Mr Kandinsky Was a Painter) a perfect fit within the body of work created by this award-winning author and illustrator (Remmerts de Vries won the Gouden Griffel for the second time in 2010), whose style of illustration is characterised by simple, colourful collages of brightly printed paper and acrylic painting A perfect fit! Het Parool The Story-Teller s Thirty Most Beautiful Fairytales Thé Tjong-Khing and Thé Tjong-Khing Age 5+ Pages 295 Gottmer Renée Ferment Thé Tjong-Khing (b. Java, 1933), the most highly acclaimed illustrator in the Netherlands, realised when he was reading stories to his grandson just how complex fairytales can be. So Gottmer commissioned him to compile two books of fairytales himself, in which he recounts these famous tales in his own clear style, with plenty of witty asides. De dertig mooiste verhalen van de sprookjesverteller (The Story-Teller s Thirty Most Beautiful Fairytales) contains a selection from these two books and features a wide range of fairytales, from Snow White to Bluebeard. This collection reveals Thé to be not only a gifted storyteller, but also a very sophisticated illustrator of mysterious fairytale scenes, combining a western eye, eastern precision and a penchant for the spooky to create these intriguing pictures. Even as a child, the artist had a love of scary stories. This is why he takes such pleasure in illustrating fairytales: danger is always lurking around the corner. In this book, the realism and vitality of Thé s earlier work have given way to a gentle naivety and a great sense of tranquillity. The enchanting illustrations, drawn with the innocence of a child and the skill of an adult, ensure that this book of fairytales will be around for many years to come. Keepvogel and Kijkvogel on the Trail of Mondrian Wouter van Reek and illustrator Wouter van Reek Age 5+ Pages 32 Dania van Dishoeck Keepvogel, Wouter van Reek s long-legged bird in the baggy hooded top, has a new friend. Kijkvogel is loosely inspired by Mondrian; his jacket and glasses look just like the ones the artist is wearing in the photo on the back of the book. His dog Foxtrot is also part of the Van Reek universe and appears to be a close relation of Tungsten, Keepvogel s faithful companion. Last year, and the Gemeentemuseum in The Hague started a series of art picture books, with Keepvogel en Kijkvogel in het spoor van Mondriaan (Keepvogel and Kijkvogel on the Trail of Mondrian) as the second volume. Van Reek s graphic, computer-generated illustrations perfectly complement Mondrian s vivid palette and abstract style. As Van Reek sends his characters on a journey through a world made up entirely of Mondrian colours, the artist s famous paintings come to life: from Mill in Sunlight and Red Tree to the uncompleted Victory Boogie Woogie. The playful illustrations follow Mondrian s development from a landscape painter in the tradition of the Hague School to a master of abstract art. The amusing and imaginative conclusion takes the characters to Kijkvogel s studio, where Keepvogel completes the artist s last painting to the swinging sounds of the boogie-woogie. 5+ Unadorned tales, not too sweet, not too gruesome, and told without any wasted words. A must-have book with three hundred pages. J/M Magazine 5+ Phenomenal and fun introduction to abstract art for kids. Cobra.be Page 6 Page 7
5 How Much Paper Goes into a Tree? Bas van Lier Jim Judith Eiselin & Monique Bauman An exciting, well-written holiday adventure. NRC Handelsblad Bas van Lier Age 8+ Pages 106 Nieuw Amsterdam Renée Ferment 8+ Bas van Lier (b. 1961) is a freelance journalist and writer of informative children s books on a variety of themes. His titles include books on films, money and royal weddings. Two of his best books are Van schrijver tot boekenkast and Het zeeboek, which won a Zilveren Griffel in Hoeveel papier gaat er in een boom? (How Much Paper Goes Into a Tree?) is part seven of the successful Children s Questions series. This time, Bas van Lier answers fifty questions about sustainability a theme that, strangely enough, has received very little attention in children s books. The answer to the question in the title is: With one tree trunk of around ten metres long and thirty centimetres thick, you can make around eight thousand sheets of A4 paper. Enough to print three hundred of these books. Funny, concrete examples like this are very helpful, particularly when it s a rather tricky and slightly dull subject like sustainability. Royalty expert Cor de Horde had an easier job with his book in the series: Does the Queen Have a Front-Door Key? Who doesn t want to find out whether Her Majesty makes her own sandwiches or pops out to the shops? And Christa Carbo also had a juicy subject in Do the Police Ever Get Speeding Tickets? The toughest themes in the series always seem to end up on Bas van Lier s plate, but that s no coincidence. For years, Van Lier has written outstanding non-fiction titles for children and in 2004 he won a Zilveren Griffel for Het zeeboek. In this series, he has even managed to provide an entertaining explanation of the European Union in Will Everyone in Europe Soon Speak European? This new book is about CO 2, melting ice caps and cars that run on pee power : apparently a hydrogen vehicle can go for 25 kilometres on seven litres of urine. We learn what the cleanest and dirtiest places on earth are: Cape Grim in Tasmania (cleanest) and the Chinese city of Linfen (dirtiest). And that there s an island made up of 100 billion kilos of plastic floating in the Pacific. But there are also surprising questions closer to home. What s better for the environment: oranges from a greenhouse or from another country? Plastic or cardboard? These are interesting issues and many adults won t immediately know the answer either. Fortunately, Van Lier doesn t wag his finger, so the book doesn t become bogged down in doom and gloom. His answers even show a refreshing optimism. The environment might be in a miserable state, but humans are increasingly doing their best to change things for the better! And children who want to do their bit will find plenty of tips in this book. For once, a clear explanation of sustainability. Judith Eiselin Monique Bauman Age 9+ Pages Judith Eiselin (b. 1970) grew up with a twin sister, a journalist father and a mother who ran a puppet show. So it makes perfect sense that she realised she wanted to become a writer at the age of six. She studied Dutch and went on to work as a children s book reviewer at NRC Handelsblad for ten years. Then she decided it was time to make her dream come true. Her books, which include De ogen van Jesleia (2004) and De 1001 geheimen van Eva Zout (2006), have been widely praised, because of Eiselin s empathy with young children and her style, which is contemporary, without being trendy. Judith Eiselin, along with authors like Astrid Lindgren and Guus Kuijer, is one of that rare group of children s writers who are capable of fully immersing themselves in the heads of their young characters. In Jim, a dynamic holiday adventure with an ingenious plot and a dash of mystery, that head belongs to elevenyear-old Kiki Moerman. She is a pretty unremarkable, just plain ordinary girl, but Eiselin portrays her in such an extraordinary way that you can t help but love her. The driving force behind the story is Jelmer, Kiki s fourteen-year-old brother, who is extremely gifted, but also extremely sensitive. He goes off into his own dimension and gets really wound up by anything that s new and different. Family life has to revolve around him, to the extent that no one really seems to function as they should. Narrator Kiki, who believes that words are important, subtly notes that no one in this family fits together. She s so angry and sad that she starts to wish the others weren t there at all. When Kiki visits her grandma, who she s named after, and finds a grubby postcard in the wastepaper basket signed by an almost illegible Jim, she hopes that it was actually meant for her. Like many eleven-year-olds, she starts to wonder whether her desperate, quarrelling parents are even her real mum and dad and she leaves reality behind to daydream about Jim, a cool brother who s out there looking for her. It s the start of a quest that s full of adventure. Beautifully evocative scenes, enigmatic pictures and subtle clues combine to support Kiki s wishful thinking. When the family travels back home from Gran s on the train in the foggy darkness, Kiki sees the others reflected in the glass and feels an extra world looming up. And when they head off to the Channel Island of Sark on summer holiday, an alluring island enveloped in the colours of the sea and the scent of flowers, Kiki not only finds her dream horse, a source of both comfort and holiday fun, but also sees special signs everywhere she goes, in the form of letters, tickets and maps, which are brought to life in photographic illustrations by Monique Bauman. A dark cave and a rising tide are the exciting prelude to the unexpected finale, which provides this gripping story and its realistic characters with a moving conclusion and makes us realise that you actually only ever know very little about what other people know. Page 8 Page 9
6 When My Dad Turned into a Bush Joke van Leeuwen Joke van Leeuwen Age 10+ Pages 104 Joke van Leeuwen (b. 1952) is a creative and unconventional artist and writer, known for her versatility and ability to blend words and images in a humorous way that gently subverts reality. She has received many prizes as a theatre-maker, a visual artist, poet and children s writer. Her titles include Deesje (1985) and Iep (1996), which was made into a successful film in Last year, she won the prestigious Gouden Ganzenveer for her unique versatility: a second prize for her oeuvre, following the Theo Thijssen prize in Toen mijn vader een struik werd (When My Dad Turned Into a Bush) is a title that could only have been dreamed up by such a highly original and creative mind as Joke van Leeuwen s. It sounds like a good, fun read, gently poetic and absurd and it immediately makes us want to find out what lies behind the words. In both words and pictures, Van Leeuwen s latest offering is just as masterfully and imaginatively composed as all of her previous children s books, with wacky jokes and puns, surprising and original pictures and a typical Van Leeuwen protagonist who the reader immediately warms to: Toda is honest, idiosyncratic, enterprising and, like all children, she views the world from a different angle, from below, which guarantees a healthy dose of absurd logic. However, this story, while clearly by Joke van Leeuwen, is a lot less cheerful than the title suggests and than we re accustomed to seeing in Van Leeuwen s books. Right from the beginning, it s clear that we re dealing with a harrowing story about the futility of war, any war: the perfectly captured child s perspective means that Van Leeuwen s honest, critical view of society is laudably free of time and space. When Toda s father is called up to defend some people from some other people, Toda sees pictures of soldiers in her father s military handbook disguising themselves as bushes to deceive the enemy. On the one hand, she finds it reassuring no one would just shoot a bush but on the other hand Toda also realises that the enemies can disguise themselves too. And if they all turn into bushes, how will they know who s on their side and who s the enemy? When the war comes too close, Toda can t stay with her grandmother any longer and she leaves for her mother s war-free country as a small war refugee. Her escape route takes her through the incomprehensible, inhuman and terrifying world of war. Sadness fills you when Toda remarks that her stomach is full of homesickness. Fear strikes you when she dreams about her father turning into a bare bush, because the winter was in his body. Loneliness overwhelms you when Toda feels like a wrongly delivered parcel in a strange and foreign country and only her father and grandmother still know she exists. The lightness of this unique small story is as unbearable as being. Him or Me Dirk Weber Dirk Weber Age 10+ Pages 152 Dirk Weber (b. 1965) wrote short stories for children in magazines before making his publishing debut with Kies mij! (, 2005), which won a Vlag en Wimpel award from the Griffeljury. His second book was also a prizewinner: Duivendrop (, 2008) won a Zilveren Griffel. Weber works as a copywriter and web designer and writes in his free time. His stories often have realistic modern social contexts, but are also gripping tales that raise important questions about issues such as freedom and identity. Philip gets onto the wrong metro train and ends up in some suburb, where he discovers that he has a double, a boy who looks eerily like him: Olaf. But Olaf behaves very differently than Philip. Philip is a decent guy, who lives with his parents in a posh house, in the wealthy south of Amsterdam. Olaf lives with his divorced mum in a shabby flat in the north of the city. He spends most of his time out on the streets and is always short of cash. He ll do whatever it takes to get it. Hij of ik (Him or Me), Dirk Weber s third book for young adults, is a variation on the classic tale of the prince and the beggar, but it s a very bleak one. When his parents go on holiday without him and he stays with his ill grandmother for two weeks, Philip realises for the first time that Olaf is stealing his identity. Olaf uses Philip as an alibi when he goes shoplifting and later hides a suspicious package with him. In return, Olaf teaches Philip to ride a borrowed scooter and, without being asked, he breaks the nose of Philip s most A crystal-clear book for boys, which is a real treat to read. hated enemy at school. But Philip begins to worry that Olaf is planning to make a move on his gran s pension. At first glance, Hij of ik appears to be a socially realistic story about teenagers who don t receive enough attention from their divorced or overworked parents and so end up on the wrong path. However, this YA novel soon reveals itself to be a surprisingly sharp thriller with a creepy edge. Philip knows he ll have to get rid of this dangerous ghetto version of himself. But how? Weber impresses with his short, focused sentences. Every detail counts and he describes everything with a powerful charge that never lets up. This is not a writer who wants to show off how beautifully he can write, but a storyteller who is completely sure of his craft. Readers may only realise in the final chapters that they ve been on completely the wrong track. There s only one bad thing about this book: the excitement could have gone on for even longer. Van Leeuwen has a unique way of incorporating a view of society into her stories that is very much her own, but which is universal at the same time Page 10 Page 11
7 A Message in a Bottle Harm de Jonge Dissus Simon van der Geest & Jan Jutte A modern heroic epic poem, masterfully written in melodious colloquial language that is packed with alliteration and rhyme. Trouw A powerful tribute to the imagination. Trouw Harm de Jonge Age 10+ Pages 131 Van Goor Geri Brandjes 10+ Harm de Jonge (b. 1939) studied Dutch before becoming a teacher. His debut, Steenkuib is een rat (1989), came out when he was fifty. Since then, he has written over twenty books. Jesse Ballewal-tsji won the Vlag en Wimpel, De peperdans van Panzibas was on the shortlist for the Gouden Uil and Josja Pruis was awarded the Woutertje Pieterse Prize in Growing up on a working canal boat, Harm de Jonge (b. 1939) often had to say goodbye to new friends he d made. The friendships in many of his books are also fleeting ones and, intriguingly, the best of friends can almost remain strangers. Even before we find out how 14-year-old Tommie and Charlie, a 12-year-old girl, became pen friends, we read about the strange outcome of events. We wrote to each other as though life was short and we were in a hurry, he says in language that is beautiful, but perhaps a little old for a teenager. Then Charlie sends him a postcard to say she can t write to him any longer. Three months previously, during a trip to Amsterdam, Tommie had found Charlie s first note, in a perfume bottle beneath a statue. Charlie asked anyone who found the message to reply to her by old-fashioned letter. Tommie starts to send Charlie letters from the Simon van der Geest village near Groningen where his parents boat is moored. The reader only gets to see Jan Jutte Charlie s lively responses, which are full of Age 12+ fantastic fabrications and remarkable facts, for Pages 120 example, that a human being has the same number of bones as a pomegranate has seeds. De Jonge is a master at collecting such curious facts and using them to suit his purpose. Occasionally he may get a little carried away, but it gives his books a distinctive, spicy flavour. Charlie also tells Tommie that Mayan warriors are searching for her, because she is actually a princess. Whatever you can imagine can actually exist, because otherwise you couldn t imagine it, she writes later. This is one of the key sentences of the book, which could be described as an ode to the imagination. Tommie can understand why Charlie stretches the truth to make the world seem better than it is: her mother has just died. But he wants to know what is true and what isn t. Particularly when he falls in love with his pen-friend princess and finds out that she doesn t actually live at the address where he s been sending the letters. Following that discovery, the story becomes something of a detective novel. Finally, there s a credible explanation for Charlie s disappearance and Tommie gets to the bottom of most of the mysteries. But he 12+ also writes, in his only letter in the book: You dream what you can t do and if you believe what you dream you re happy. It s that simple. Simon van der Geest (b. 1978) is one of the most remarkable new writers of children s books in the Netherlands. He made his debut with Geel gras (, 2009) about Fieke, a girl whose parents leave her behind at a campsite in France. We saw him first as a poet, with his impressive contribution to Ik wil mijn naam in chocola (, 2009), a compilation of work by modern children s poets. Van der Geest studied to be a scriptwriter for children s theatre. Dissus is a modern boy in a cool pair of long shorts and a tracksuit top, who finds himself in a dream adventure with nine classmates. The ten friends have to fight their way past giants, monsters and sorceresses, including Farmer One-Eye, Circe and the Scylla One boy after another meets a sticky end. No, this certainly isn t a story for babies: Dissus is a modern adaptation of Homer s Odyssey by Simon van der Geest. The most important theme of this classic work could scarcely be more adult: the grave responsibility that Odysseus carries for getting his men safely home. That s not a subject you can simply ignore. And Odysseus modern-day counterpart finds out that being in charge isn t all that much fun. The wanderings of Odysseus are among the most retold stories in history. The Netherlands has also seen the usual retellings for children, mostly in prose that relates the story faithfully, but feels a bit stiff and old-fashioned. The nice thing about Van der Geest s version is that he doesn t treat Homer with false respect, but with boyish panache, breathing new life into the tale with his refreshing approach. Van der Geest tells the story in lively, boyish slang, as though he came up with everything all by himself. Classicists may find it hard to admit, but the book perfectly encapsulates the epic Odyssey. Van der Geest also makes the wise decision to tell the story in modern free verse. And, as in his other poems, he writes swinging, highly quotable poetry for boys. You can imagine that any teacher with a talent for reading out loud will have no difficulty finding enthusiastic listeners for this story. And that would put Homer right back where he belongs: in lively colloquial speech, rather than in stodgy translators prose. And although this may not often happen with books in translation: Jan Jutte s powerful illustrations deserve to travel all around the world with Dissus. Page 12 Page 13
8 Heivisj s Heaven Benny Lindelauf Benny Lindelauf Age 14+ Pages 320 Since his debut, Omhooggevallen, Benny Lindelauf (b. 1964) has continued to display his authentic style and great originality. The promise of his first book was confirmed with Schuilen in een jas, a stirring story about love and sickness. This book made the shortlist for the Gouden Uil award, a prestigious Flemish literary prize. Benny Lindelauf won the Thea Beckmann Award 2004 and the Gouden Zoen 2005 for Negen open armen, the prequel to this title. Just outside a village in Limburg stands a house with the name of Nine Open Arms, so called because if its nine residents open their arms wide, they can hug all the way around it. Fing lives there in the late 1930s with her four brothers, two sisters, their dad and Grandma Mei. It s an almost fairytale place that is brimming with stories. And often it s not entirely clear whether these stories come from the imagination of Grandma Mei and the children or whether they really happened. But in this touching sequel to Lindelauf s magic-realist novel Negen open armen (Nine Open Arms), no one gets to escape actual reality. The German invasion puts an end to the relatively carefree childhood of Fing and her sisters Jes and Muulke, who form a very close trio. When the war came, it felt as though time had been on a slack rope that was now pulled tight with a reverberating twang. Fing gets a job with the Cigar King, working as a maid and a playmate for Liesl, his wife s annoying German cousin. Only when the persecution of the Jews becomes more intense and the girl suddenly disappears does Fing realise what Liesl was doing in Limburg and why she behaved so strangely. One great thing about this book is that it does not only show the spectacular side of the war. Life in the village goes on as normal. You could even say that this is more of a coming-of-age novel than a classic war novel. The story is actually all about Fing becoming an adult. Lindelauf describes, very precisely and sympathetically, how Fing enters into puberty and separates herself from her sisters. She finds it childish now when they say goodnight to the ghosts in the house. Her periods start, she falls in love and she finally realises: I m not a child anymore. Few writers can portray their characters in such a breathtakingly realistic and original way as Lindelauf. Take tough old Grandma Mei, who unflappably runs the family home. She treats life like a troublesome toddler, Lindelauf writes. And when Grandma Mei actually shows that she s finding things difficult: As always, her sorrow seemed like a borrowed sorrow. Like an expensive frock that she had to return in good condition. Beautiful thoughts like this appear on almost every page of this outstanding novel, evocatively sprinkled with Yiddish, German and Limburg dialect, making you see the world and life in a new light. And that s the power of great literature. Recent Translations Dragt, Tonke. Spanish edition Las torres de febrero. un diario (por el momento) anónimo con puntuación y pies de página aportados por Tonke Dragt translated by María Lerma and published by Siruela, Original title: De torens van februari, published by, Kraan, Hanna. French edition Ouillouillouille. une sorcière! translated by Anne-Lucie Voorhoeve, published by Syros, Original title: Hier is de boze heks, published by Lemniscaat, Dumon Tak, Bibi. Turkish edition Kir kurdu kitap kurdu. Harika hayvanlardan hikâeler translated by Şansal Livatyalı and published by Iletisim, Original title: Bibi s bijzondere beestenboek, published by, Kromhout, Rindert. Swedish edition Lilla Åsnan törs visst! translated by Angelica Trap, published by Berghs, Original title: Kleine Ezel en de durfal, published by, Gestel, Peter van. French edition Marike et la forêt hantée translated by Mireille Cohendy, published by Gallimard Jeunesse, Original title: Mariken, published by De Fontein, Kuijer, Guus. Macedonian edition Kniga za sè / translated by Eli Doezè, published by Vermílíon, Original title: Het boek van alle dingen, published by, Hof, Marjolijn. Catalan edition Que no passi! translated by Caroline de Jong - Gustau Raluy, published by Cruïlla, Original title: Een kleine kans, published by, Leeuwen, Joke van. English edition Eep! translated by Bill Nagelkerke, published by Gecko Press, Original title: Iep!, published by, More than a hundred Dutch children s books are published in translation every year, by publishers all over the world. Depicted is a small selection of titles that have received financial support for the translation from the Dutch Foundation for Literature. Please contact us if you are interested in publishing a Dutch book in your country. Hoving, Isabel. Japanese edition Tsubasa no aru neko translated by Etsuko Nozaka, published by Kawade shobo shinsha, Original title: De gevleugelde kat, published by, Loon, Paul van. English edition Full Moon translated by David Colmer, published by Hodder Children s Books, Original title: Volle maan, published by Elzenga, Not many writers could pull this off, but with just two novels Lindelauf has already demonstrated that he is among the greatest Dutch writers of children s books. Het Parool Matter, Maritgen. Turkish edition Kurdu kurtaran kuzu translated by Münire Turan, published by Nesin, Original title: Schaap met laarsjes, published by, Oranje, Laurentien van. Catalan edition El senyor Finney i el món de cap per avall translated by Caroline de Jong - Gustau Raluy, published by Cruïlla, Original title: Mr. Finney en de wereld op zijn kop, published by, Reek, Wouter van. Spanish edition Pinzón y los inventos translated by Corinne Dayan, published by Adriana Hidalgo, Original title: Keepvogel - De uitvinding, published by, Tellegen, Toon. Spanish edition La fiesta de cumpleaños translated by Nadine Beliën, published by Macmillan Infantil y Juvenil, Original title: De verjaardag van de eekhoorn, published by, Vendel, Edward van de. French edition All together translated by Emmanuèle Sandron, published by Thierry Magnier, Original title: Ons derde lichaam, published by, Page 14 Page 15
9 The Foundation Dutch Foundation for Literature Nieuwe Prinsengracht VR Amsterdam Tel Fax The Netherlands Children s Books Agnes Vogt, Fiction Henk Pröpper, Maria Vlaar, Non-Fiction Maarten Valken, Poetry Thomas Möhlmann, The Dutch Foundation for Literature stimulates interest in Dutch literary fiction, non-fiction, poetry and children s books by providing information and granting translation subsidies. The foundation maintains contacts with a large number of international publishers, and has a stand at major international book fairs, including the Frankfurt Book Fair, the London Book Fair and the Children s Book Fair in Bologna. Translation Grants Foreign publishers wishing to publish translations of Dutch or Frisian literature, including children s literature, quality non-fiction and poetry, may apply for a subsidy towards the translation costs. Having acquired the publishing rights to a Dutch or Frisian literary work, the publisher s application for a subsidy must be accompanied by a copy of the contract between the foreign publisher and the owner of the Dutch rights, and a copy of the contract with the translator. s must make use of specific application forms which are available from the foundation. Picture Books In the case of high-quality illustrated children s books, foreign publishers can apply for financial assistance to cover a proportion of the production costs. The amount granted is based on the direct production costs per copy. Subsidies granted under this scheme are funded by the Mondriaan Foundation and the Dutch Foundation for Literature. Considerations In deciding whether or not to grant a subsidy, the foundation takes account of the following considerations: the literary quality of the book the status of the publisher the quality of the translator If the translator is unknown to the foundation, a sample translation is required. This will be evaluated by external advisors. The maximum possible subsidy is 70% of the total cost of translation. Applications for subsidies for translations which have already been published will not be considered. N ederlands letterenfonds dutch foundation for literature Postbus /PO Box RB Amsterdam t +31 (0) f +31 (0) bezoekadres /visiting address Nieuwe Prinsengracht VR Amsterdam is published by the Dutch Foundation for Literature. The bulletin is distributed free of charge to foreign publishers and editors. If you would like to receive Children s Books from Holland, please contact Editors Dick Broer, Agnes Vogt, Barbara Mazzotta Contributors Joukje Akveld, Pjotr van Lenteren, Bas Maliepaard, Mirjam Noorduijn Translation Laura Watkinson Photography Stefanie Grätz Printing NPN Drukkers, Breda Design Kummer & Herrman, Utrecht
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