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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 van het begin (Feast of the Beginning) earned the AKO Literature Prize. She received the Gouden Ganzenveer (Golden Goose Feather) and the Constantijn Huygens Prize for her body of work.

Deesje

Deesje

(Querido Kind, 1985, 88 pagina's)

In Deesje by Joke van Leeuwen you roll along with the main character from one adventure into the next. And not only as far as the story is concerned; reading the words and looking at the pictures is one big surprise. In the work of the doubly talented Van Leeuwen, text and illustrations complement each other perfectly, and humour and seriousness intermingle. The language is packed with puns and the comical black-and-white drawings are really different and also tell a story. A veritable feast for the eyes.

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Iep!

Iep!

(Querido Kind, 1996, 149 pagina's)

One characteristic of classics is that they tell us the most ordinary things in extraordinary ways. Alice’s constant growing and shrinking, for example, teaches her that nothing is what it seems to be. And Pinocchio’s nose shows him that lying doesn’t pay. Iep! is based on a similar principle. Like Deesje and Bobbel, main characters in Van Leeuwen’s previous books, Eep is pervaded by an enormous longing for freedom, a demand for space for people as they are. Eep is a creature with little wings and little limbs that closely resemble legs. Little legs with little toes and ‘little nails on those toes and tiny little crumbles of earth under those nails on those toes on those legs.’…

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Bezoekjaren

Bezoekjaren

(Querido Kind, 1999, 156 pagina's)

When reading Bezoekjaren (Visiting Years, 1999), you realize just how important the rule of law is. Zima grows up in a large family in Casablanca during the dictatorial reign of King Hassan II. One day, her eldest brother, Amrar, does not come home. He has spoken out against the authorities and is being detained without a fair trial.

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Kweenie

Kweenie

(Querido Kind, 2003, 80 pagina's)

Kweenie (Dunno) is the name of a strange little creature with a big, yellow, beak-like nose who suddenly tumbles onto the bed of the first-person narrator, a small girl with a mop of hair. Kweenie doesn’t know who he is or where he comes from. All he knows is that he’s fallen out of a story that had just started and that he fears will now continue without him. When the little girl sees how sad he is she decides to help him find his story.

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Een halve hond heel denken

Een halve hond heel denken

(Querido Kind, 2008, 125 pagina's)

As modern media consumers, we receive around four thousand images projected onto our retinas every day. Four thousand! That’s an incredible number. But there’s no way of stopping them. The digitisation of the 21st century is an irreversible process and the visual culture is now more dominant than ever. The highly regarded and very versatile author/illustrator Joke van Leeuwen has written a beautifully designed book on this very subject.

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Toen mijn vader een struik werd

Toen mijn vader een struik werd

(Querido Kind, 2010, 104 pagina's)

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.

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Waarom lig jij in mijn bedje?

Waarom lig jij in mijn bedje?

(Querido Kind, 2011, 16 pagina's)

‘What are you doing in my bed?’ These words echo like a mantra through the pages of Joke van Leeuwen’s picture book for toddlers. Although technically speaking, ‘pages’ isn’t quite the right word. Waarom lig jij in mijn bedje? is constructed as a ‘leporello’, a concertina book that can be folded out to make a strip that’s a couple of metres long.

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Ergens

Ergens

(Querido, 2016, 48 pagina's)

In Joke van Leeuwen’s most recent picture book, Somewhere, she demonstrates once again that high-quality literature need not be inaccessible. This philosophical graphic novel is about a mountaineer who falls into another world, where everything is put into question.

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Beginnelingen

Beginnelingen

(Querido, 2022, 251 pagina's)

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).

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Ik dacht dat jij

Ik dacht dat jij

(Querido, 2023, 140 pagina's)

I Thought That You is about manipulation in a romantic relationship and a protagonist who gradually shows himself to be a toxic individual. The nameless narrator feels hard done by; he has a drinking problem and is prone to fits of rage. He is a painter who compares himself to Van Gogh when in reality he hasn’t got much further than an exhibition in a neighborhood restaurant.

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Dát bedoel ik, zei de zalm

Dát bedoel ik, zei de zalm

(Querido, 2023, 92 pagina's)

In Dát bedoel ik, zei de zalm (That’s What I Mean, Said the Salmon), Joke van Leeuwen’s characters muse about their own worth and vulnerability.

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