Joke van Leeuwen


Twenty-four portraits of bravery, ingenuity and persistence.

This book presents 24 portraits of non-conformist individuals, with Joke van Leeuwen focusing on their youth. Their achievements as adults appear only in separate text boxes. The author chose her characters from all over the world, throughout history and from a variety of disciplines. There are artists and directors (Frida Kahlo, Ingmar Bergman), sports heroes (Pelé) and champions of freedom, equality and children’s rights (Sojourner Truth, Anton de Kom, Janusz Korczak).

The refreshing selection, which steers away from a Eurocentric perspective, combines with Van Leeuwen’s light and easy touch as she deals with difficult events to set this book apart from similar collections. It also helps that all the people portrayed by Van Leeuwen have something subversive about them. They dared to think outside the limitations of their own eras and to perform remarkable deeds. These portraits of bravery, ingenuity and persistence are a source of inspiration for everyone.

Joke van Leeuwen

Joke van Leeuwen (b. 1952) writes prose and poetry for children and adults as well as working as an illustrator and performer. Her novel Alles nieuw (All New) was shortlisted for the AKO Literature Prize, De onervarenen (The Inexperienced) was shortlisted for the Libris Literature Prize and Feest

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Beginnelingen (2022). Children's books, 251 pages.



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The Netherlands
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