“Fanatieke sporters zijn niet altijd fanatieke lezers en andersom.”
“Sport fans tend to be not so fanatic about reading and the other way around.”
According to the website of the annual Kinderboekenweek (children’s books week), the world can be roughly divided in two groups: fanatical sporters and fanatical readers. Personally, I make an excellent example of the second group.
It is not that I hate sports, it just doesn’t come naturally. I vividly remember myself curled up in the school gym’s dressing room, reading ‘Lord of the Rings’ for two hours. I wasn’t hiding, my PE teacher was perfectly aware of my whereabouts. He had actually just sent me there after my latest attempt to perform a salto on the trampoline. My teacher promised to give me a 7,5 out of 10 to award my perseverance, if I would just – please!- quit my attempts and leave the gym before I broke my neck. It was my best PE class ever. Sports just doesn’t come natural to me, but reading definitely does.
However, this year’s Kinderboekenweek is about to end this deliciously clear division of the world population. The boekenweek’s theme, “Klaar voor de start!” ( Ready, steady!), is sure to make the sporty kids eager to read and the bookish kids eager to move. From 2 to 13 October, local libraries, bookshops and primary schools will go out of their ways to planall sorts of literary and sporty activities to lure both the readers and the sporters into the world of children’s literature. Throughout the Netherlands, celebrities read stories out loud in local libraries, there are literary festivals and writing contests.
On top of this, there is also the annual Boekenweekgeschenk (bookweek gift), a book especially written for the occasion by a popular children’s author. This year, Harmen van Straaten’s “Je bent super… Jan!” comes free with every € 10, – spent on children’s books during the Kinderboekenweek. No matter whether you are the sporty or the bookish type, as a student of Dutch, reading children’s literature is a very good tool to engage with the Dutch language and build up your vocabulary. There are many Dutch children’s books, written in clear and simple Dutch, which are more than worth your while.
We suggest that you put on your trainers and run to the nearest bookstore this very afternoon. Get yourself one of the children’s books below, pick up a free copy “Je bent super…Jan!”, curl up in, let’s say, the local gym’s dressing room and celebrate the Kinderboekenweek in style.
Klaar voor de start? Af!
Suggestions for children’s books, suitable for student at A2 + level
Misschien wisten zij alles, Toon Tellegen
(fables, enjoyable on many levels)
Jip en Janneke, Annie MG Schmidt
(the Dutch bed-time story classic)
Suggestions for children’s books, suitable for student at B1 + level
Minoes, Annie MG Schmidt
(popular story about a cat who turns into a lady)
Het sleutelkruid, Paul Biegel
Koning van Katoren, Jan Terlouw
(adventure story about a boy fulfilling all sorts of seemly impossible assignments in his quest to become king)
Het Grote Rijksmuseum Voorleesboek, Marion van de Coolwijk, Imme Dros & Marion van de Coolwijk
(new stories inspired by the paintings in the newly renovated Rijksmuseum)
Spinder, Simon van der Geest
(winner of this year’s Gouden Griffel, the national prize for the best children’s book)
Recommended books by Guus Kuijer, Ted van Lieshout, Dolf Verroen, Joke van Leeuwen, Max Velthuijs enzovoort.*The Hague bookshops Alice in Wonderland and Paagman are specialized in children’s books.
If you would like some advice on which book to read, please get in touch with us and we’ll try and help to match your interests with an exciting book.