March 17, 2010

The Polish translation of Een kleine kans has been published bij Hokus-Pokus. The publishing house has recently set up the Serie z Tulipanem– or Tulip Series, which accommodates translations of Dutch children’s books.

Mała szansa – Warsaw: Hokus-Pokus, 2010. Translated by Joanna Borycka-Zakrzewska



February 11, 2010

The United States Board on Books for Young People selects an annual list of Outstanding International Books for children and young adults, which is published each year in the February issue of School Library Journal.
Against the Odds is one the 41 books that were chosen. More information here.


December 3, 2009

This year a new quality seal for German children’s audio-books was introduced,  the Auditorix Hörbuchsiegel. The jury selected the ten best audio-books from a total of 123. Tote Maus für Papas Leben is one of them. Read the jury report here.


November 30, 2009

Miŝ Publishers had invited me for a five day stay in Slovenia, where a translation of Mother Number Zero recently appeared:
Mama ŝtevilka nič – Dob pri Domžalah: Miš, 2007. Translation Katjuša Ručigaj.

So far I had only seen Slovenia through the windshield of a car – for me it had always been a country to drive through in a hurry on the way south. From now on it will be a place to stay. The south can wait for a while.
My accommodation was wonderful: hotel Slamic in Ljubljana.
The town is elegant, inviting and well-kept. A lot of refurbishment has been done recently – and overdone in some cases. The town castle looked just a bit too pretty to my liking.
Everything went without a hitch, thanks to Irena and Janez Miš – even the weather was exceptionally mild for the season. I was driven east and west, always enjoying the breathtaking scenery.
I met Slovenian authors, my translator and other people from the book trade.
I have never been received with such warmth as in the schools and libraries I visited. Nearly all pupils had read some of my work and the questions they asked were particularly well-informed and to the point. Afterwards I was given presents, like a volume of poetry by a gifted student which the school had had printed, or a picture book with children’s drawings.
As Slovenia has a population of only two million inhabitants, editions are small and book prices high. For this reason libraries are all the more important. Some of the ones I saw enjoyed great prestige and were quite impressive from an architectural point of view. The director of Ptuj Public Library  told me to have a look at this website, which has an overview of outstanding Slovenian libraries. He also kindly said that next time I should stay in Ptuj a little longer. Well, I replied, in that case I would like to sleep in the library, in the hall with the big chandeliers.
Slovenia is definitely worth a trip, especially one arranged by Miš Publishers. Only the return journey was less comfortable, as I found myself carrying both a bulging suitcase and a painting depicting the Slovenian mountains


November 4, 2009


On 11 November I’ll do two reading sessions in Aachen. That’s in the thick of the Aachener Kinder- und Jugendbuchwochen (Aachen Juvenile Literature Weeks).
On 15 November I’ll put in an appearance at the Kinderhoogdag, a cultural event for children in Overijsse, Belgium.
From 17 to 21 November I’ll visit Slovenia. Miŝ Publishers have put up a wonderful programme for me, including a press conference, visits to schools and libraries, meetings with representatives of the children’s book trade and (I’m looking forward to this!) a  short trip in the mountains.


October 11, 2009

From October 16 to 18 I’ll attend the Frankfurter Buchmesse.
The winner of the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Prize) will be announced on Friday night, October 16. Tote Maus für Papas Leben is among the nominees.
On Saturday afternoon (13-14 hrs) you can find me in the Lesezelt (reading tent) on the court of the book fair. First I’ll read from Mutter Nummer Null and then I’ll be interviewed.
On 17 October there’s a book presentation in the Frankfurt Theaterhaus. I’ll read passages from Mutter Nummer Null, and there’s an opportunity for the audience to ask me questions and discuss the book.
On Sunday morning at 10 o’clock I’ll join a Theaterhaus breakfast, where the stage-adaptation of Tote Maus für Papas Leben is performed.


October 5, 2009

Against the Odds Against the Odds (Een kleine kans) has been published by Canadian publishers Groundwood Books. Editor Patsy Aldana wrote a letter of recommendation which was so embarrassingly flattering that I refrained from putting it on my website. It would look too much like self-adulation. But as it has now been put on the NLPVF-website for anyone to see, I might as well…

Dear Friends,

Every now and then a publisher is lucky enough to come upon an exceptional book.
That is the case with Against the Odds by Marjolijn Hof. Originally published in Holland as Een kleine kans by Querido, on of Holland’s finest publishers, it has gone on to win two major Dutch awards and to publication in nine countries. It was our luck to get North American rights.

This is one of those rare books where the author manages to bring us the pure, unadulterated voice of a child. The book never slips from this voice. We find ourselves believing in Kiki from beginning to end. And Kiki who is a very brave, spunky and often funny child has a lot to endure. The fact that her father insists on going off on dangerous missions as a doctor despite her making it very clear to him that she doesn’t want him to go; the fact that her mother while loving is also somewhat vague and spaced out; the fact that her grandmother is furious with her father which doesn’t make it any easier for her to be furious on her own account; and the fact that the family dog is quite smelly and disgusting all come to a head when her father goes missing.

I’ll leave the rest of the story to you.

But please read this book. It is impeccable, brave, honest, and true with a wonderful heroine. It deals with issues that are absolutely pertinent at this moment in time. And I believe that young readers will recognise Kiki for one of them, the real thing, and will embrace her as she tries to find the right way to live with the difficult cards that have been dealt her.

I’m very proud to have this book on Groundwood’s list.
Patsy Aldana