October 2014 – ‘Het kaasmuisje‘ (‘Little Cheese Mouse’), a short story about Daan and his friends at the out-of-school care, and their plan to keep a little mouse safe from Mauw the cat and, of course, Ms. Aicha. ‘Het kaasmuisje’ (‘Little Cheese Mouse’) will be published in the read-aloud anthology Het grote voorleesboek voor rond de 5 jaar (The Big Read-Aloud Book for 5-Year-Olds). The book is scheduled to come out in October 2014.
November 2013 – ‘Het Kerstdiner‘ (‘The Christmas Dinner’), a short story about Boris who rather plays computer games than helping his flu-ridden mom with the preparations for Christmas. Just as he is winning his game, he spots the shopping list. And his mom is already on her way to the supermarket, with a cold, in the rain. ‘Het kerstdiner’ (‘The Christmas Dinner’) was published in the read-aloud anthology Kerstverhalen (Christmas Stories) by Ploegsma Children’s Books.
June 2013 – ‘Raceauto!‘ (‘Racing Car!’), a short story, where Pim will win an ice cream if his side of the car is the cleaner than his dad’s side. Dad’s in for a big surprise… Published in the read-aloud anthology Papa is een held! (Dad is a Hero!) by Ploegsma Children’s Books.
February 2013 – ‘De erwtjes van Epke‘ (‘Epke’s Peas’), a story about Epke who really really really doesn’t like peas… But mom is adamant: “no peas, no vla” and you might not know that, but vla is the most delicious dessert in the Netherlands…
‘Epke’s Peas’ was published in Het pi-pa-peuterboek (The Ti-Ta-Toddler Book) by Ploegsma Children’s Books.
May 2012 is when ‘Opa is de weg kwijt‘ (‘Granpa Lost his Way’) came out, a sweet little story about Pilou and her grandpa who is suffering from Alzheimer’s. It was published in Het grote opa- en omaboek (The Big Grandpa and Grandma Book) by Ploegsma.
In September 2010 ‘De koekjesdief’ (‘The Cookie Thief’) was published in Ridders, dino’s en piraten (Knights, Dino’s and Pirates) by Ploegsma.
Writing short stories for the very young is a different craft from writing YA novels. You have to be concise, beyond concise even. Often you have to leave out the good stuff for the illustrators. You have to be precise and clear without ever, ever getting down on your knees or spoil the young readers’ imagination and fantasy. I love the challenge of writing short stories! My first short stories were published in Bobo, a biweekly magazine with a 45,000 circulation. I started out with a single story in 2007: ‘Drupjes grote reis’ (‘Little Droplet’s Big Trip’), about Little Droplet and his best buddy Little Saltlet. They live deep down in the ocean, until one day they decide to venture up to the surface, to where the hot, hot sun is…
The first series in Bobo was ‘In de straat van Fiep’ (‘On Fiep Street’), 21 stories with illustrations of Holland’s most famous illustrator Fiep Westendorp. The series ran from spring 2007 until winter 2008. You can imagine that I was mighty proud to be chosen by Bobo to write stories for Fiep’s illustrations. I must admit I felt – just a teeny weeny bit, far, far away in the back of my mind – incredibly honored to join Mies Bouhuys or maybe even Annie M.G. Schmidt, two of the major league famous Dutch writers, who so eloquently brought Fiep’s illustrations to the world for years and years. ‘On Fiep Street’ is about Ties, Pleun, Sigrid and all the other kids living in Fiep Street. They’re bold, they’re sweet, they’re cunning and they’re naughty, and – most of all – they think life is an amazing adventure.
Another series of short stories for Bobo was ‘In de klas’ (‘In class’), a series of nine stories about teacher Rob and his class. Master Rob is the best teacher ever, the teacher you’ve always wanted to have.