The Woutertje Pieterse Prize for the best Dutch-language children’s book of the past year goes to Whole stories for half a soldier by writer Benny Lindelauf and illustrator Ludwig Volbeda. The winners were announced in the radio program The Language State on NPO Radio 1. The duo receives a certificate and an amount of 15,000 euros.
The story is about six brothers who are called up to join the army. Because they have no money to pass a border post, they tell stories to change the border guard’s thoughts. Each brother tells an imaginative story and is let through.
“The book does not shy away from the grim, takes the reader on a blood-curdling journey and shows him how big and deep the world can be,” the jury wrote in the report. “It is a great honor for us to crown an exceptional book in this exceptional year that combines the best of language and image.”
Whole stories for half a soldier fit with another book by Lindelauf and Volbeda, How Tortot Lost His Fish Heart. That book was already nominated for the Woutertje Pieterse Prize in 2017.
Other nominees for the prize, which is named after a novel by Multatuli, were Alphabet from Charlotte Dematons, My father’s name van Rindert Kromhout, What is art? from Ted van Lieshout, King child from Selma Noort and The fantastic flying competition by Tjibbe Veldkamp & Sebastiaan Van Doninck.