Author

Harm de Jonge

Harm de Jonge (b. 1940) is an author who occupies a special place in Dutch children’s literature. He grew up during WWII and the post-war reconstruction as the son of a barge captain who transported coal. He went on to work as a Dutch teacher and taught and wrote about other writers for years. Since his debut in 1989 with Steenkuib is een rat, his oeuvre has been devoted to creating the ultimate book for boys. His ‘contemporary’ books hark back to the adventurous tranquillity of the rural, post-war northern Netherlands of his youth, lending his work an appealing and distinctive character.

The Circus Cyclist

The Circus Cyclist

(Van Goor, 2001, 112 pages)

The summer of 1945. The war has just ended, and life resumes its normal course. Those who survived the war help one another get back on their feet. In a town in the north of Holland lives the ten year old Homme. The families on the street take in children from a nearby town, which was bombed to the ground shortly before the liberation.

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The Scent of Rusty Iron

The Scent of Rusty Iron

(Lemniscaat, 2005, 96 pages)

Joeri has still got a bottle of aftershave that belonged to his dad, who doesn’t live at home any more. When he smells it, it’s just as though his dad’s there. And then Joeri can even talk to his dad, about the Turkish girl Nesrin, for example, who smells like rusty iron, the best smell that Joeri knows.

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Josja Pruis

Josja Pruis

(Van Goor, 2006, 136 pages)

Harm de Jonge excels in stories about special boyhood friendships. With Josja Pruis he has surpassed himself in the genre. This time the story is set in an insignificant seaport town in the year 1956. The central figure is Homme Prins, who has experienced little more exciting than being secretly in love with the beautiful Ada Breugel, as is his friend Lubbe.

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Tjibbe Tjabbes’ Voyage around the World

Tjibbe Tjabbes’ Voyage around the World

(Van Goor, 2008, 134 pages)

The panoplied glugg, the sail-slicer, the molochtite and the singing wartbear – there are plenty of weird and wonderful creatures in this book to challenge the translator and delight the reader. Tjibbe Tjabbes’ wereldreis (Tjibbe Tjabbes’ Voyage around the World) is a realistic eighteenthcentury account of a blood-curdling voyage of zoological discovery. It features a wide range of exotic species with marvellously inventive names, which were never found on Noah’s ark and which you won’t encounter in any biology books either.

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A Message in a Bottle

A Message in a Bottle

(Van Goor, 2010, 131 pages)

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.

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Firebomb

Firebomb

(Van Goor, 2011, 150 pages)

Finally, a proper book for boys: Vuurbom, by Harm de Jonge, in which boys have old-fashioned fun jumping off railway bridges, collecting stamps, playing with Fleischmann trains and making their own firebombs all by themselves, without any help from the internet or mobile phones. And while they’re off doing that, their mothers are making the vanilla pudding for Sunday lunch. Does that sound a bit slow? Definitely not when it’s Harm de Jonge who’s writing the story.

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