The Independent featured an article (about a book, The Letter for the King, that sold a million copies in the Netherlands, but took more than 40 years to be translated into English. Last week, it appeared on the shortlist for the Marsh Award for the best children's book in translation. A new English "winter edition" comes out next week.
The way they marketed the English edition is fun: ... leaving more than 100 copies on London Underground trains for people to discover. The books carried a letter for the reader, sealed with wax, with instructions to spread the word via mouth and social media.
Tomorrow, First News, the weekly children's newspaper, is launching a Dragt-inspired letter-writing competition to encourage young readers to engage in an endangered art. The prize: the winner's height in books for his or her school's library.
The author, Tonke Dragt, is 84 and ill.
Her biographer says, ""She really lives in those books as well. You can ask her about the characters and she really knows them like family. If you like stories as much as she does, you almost don't need the real world." ... Tonke is someone who can't throw anything away," she recalls. "Everywhere, there were books and drawings. There were also dolls' houses. When she started a new book, she built a new little house herself so she could really know the way the doors opened, for example."
The author also did the illustrations--here is an example:
Writing in The Guardian, reviewer Phillip Womack: "The book is beautifully constructed and has passages of urgent writing that take their inspiration from fairy tales as well as the Arthurian legend."
The book tells the story of a teen-age boy's knightly quest. Womack concludes: "At the end of the book, a jester tells Tiuri a story about a man who chased a rainbow: 'he realised that what mattered was not the rainbow itself but the search'. And Tiuri's search is gripping, delightful and true."