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Dolf Verroen

Dolf Verroen (b. 1928) is a grand old man of Dutch children’s literature. His first children’s book came out in 1957 and sixty years later he has more than a hundred titles to his name, a number of which have won Zilveren Griffel awards. His books have been translated into English, German, Italian, Basque, Danish, Swedish, Turkish, Spanish, Portuguese, Korean, Japanese, Papiamento and Hindi. His biggest international success is the book Hoe mooi wit ik ben (How Beautifully White I Am), which won prizes including the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis and the Italian Premio Nazionale di Letteratura per ragazzi ‘Città di Bella.’

Slaaf Kindje Slaaf

Slaaf Kindje Slaaf

(Ger Guijs, 2006, 95 pagina's)

In the days of slavery it could happen: you’re the daughter of a plantation owner and when you’re twelve you get your own slave. Slaaf Kindje Slaaf by Dolf Verroen begins with Maria’s birthday party. Little Koko is brought in on a silver plate and Maria’s aunt gives her a whip to go with her present. That’s how you beat the laziness out of them and if you really don’t like the boy, you can just sell him again at the market. Just like Papa’s beautiful slave woman, whose value has sunk considerably since Maria’s jealous mother smashed her face up.

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De prinses en de paradijstuin

De prinses en de paradijstuin

(Leopold, 2010, 64 pagina's)

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.

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Oorlog en vriendschap

Oorlog en vriendschap

(Leopold, 2016, 96 pagina's)

It is, of course, no coincidence that the boy on the front of Oorlog en vriendschap (War and Friendship) wears exactly the same distinctive round glasses as the 88-year-old author Dolf Verroen. The protagonist may be called Joop, but his experiences are the wartime memories of Verroen himself.

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