Writing short stories and picture books is one of my favorite things, too. They are my études, these short pieces with which I hone my writing skills. And I’m always thrilled when those études make it to the printed page.
Like that surreal moment when children’s magazine Bobo asked me to write a series of 21 short stories, ‘de straat van Fiep’ (‘Fiep Street’) with the illustrations of legendary Dutch illustrator Fiep Westendorp. I had to pinch myself not once, but several times before the news fully landed. The honor to follow in the footsteps of the queen of Dutch children’s literature Annie M.G. Schmidt or Mies Bouhuys was and is one of the highlights in my career as a children’s book writer.
Another highlight is Mia’s nest, a Dutch Little Golden Book that was published in 2014 in collaboration with super talented illustrator Angela Peleaz Vargas, whose story idea and illustrations grabbed me the second I saw them and inspired me to write Mia’s story.
In 2016 Mia’s nest traveled to Colombia, where Panamericana published it in a gorgeous full-size picture book El nido de Mia, that is now also for sale in the US. Of course, Angela, being a native of Colombia, translated the book for us and Panamericana.
Having my short stories published in the much applauded anthologies of my publisher Ploegsma is a continuing pleasure. Whether it is the story of Ties who doesn’t want to share his cookies with his sister in ‘The Cookie Thief’ (in: Ridders, dino’s en piraten) or the story of Pim who, with his mom’s magic scrub sponge discovers a shiny silver racing car underneath dad’s green one in ‘Race Car!’ (in: Papa is een held!), it’s always a joy to try and tell a story in less than 750 words.