ABC of Holland is a children’s book written and illustrated with the main purpose to show Holland as seen through kids’ eyes.
The original version of the book is in Dutch (ABC van Nederland) and was made in 2011 for our daughter Merle Sophie who was 7 months old when we left Holland for an adventure abroad in Bangkok, Thailand. We, as a Dutch family, were searching for a fun and playful way for her to get to know those typically Dutch things as windmills and wooden shoes; to give her a sense of cultural belonging, something more expat families seem to struggle with. It also gave us a chance to read to her in Dutch, which we found important because we were the only people talking Dutch to her over there.
For the illustrations we asked Melina Ruyter, a friend and former colleague of my husband, she’s a professional illustrator from Amsterdam whose style we like a lot!
Of course this first book had to be in Dutch. We wanted Merle Sophie to learn the Dutch word ‘molen’ and not ‘windmill’ and so on. But we also always meant to make an English version as well. This would give English-speaking children everywhere in the world the chance to read about Holland too. And for expat children in Holland and their families abroad, ABC of Holland is a friendly introduction that helps them get to know our little country and be familiar with the us, the inhabitants and the things we like ☺. The English version of the book took much more time to finish than we had anticipated! We realized that translating an alphabet book means you actually have to write a whole new book, oops…but we think we made it work! The new English text is in rhyme and by making the new version we also had the chance to make some visual improvements as well.
The book feels like it is “home made” by us. We’ve written it and produced it and by doing this we were deciding on every little detail of the book. We’ve had to deal with important questions like: Is a pancake more Dutch than “poffertjes” and which of these is more appealing to children and/or makes more sense internationally in general? And how many of the letters can represent food? What to do with the letters Q, X and Y in a fun and Dutch way? And how to solve the issue of having for optional words for the letter W, but none for the letter M? 26 issues to find answers to!
Now that the creation of the book is done we focus on finding the best places to sell the book; museum shops, (children’s) bookstores, gift shops and our own web shop. Our aim is to have points of sale at the best expat and tourist locations in the Netherlands and who knows maybe even internationally as well! So far so good, with over 40 shops in Amsterdam, Haarlem, Amstelveen, Edam, Alkmaar, Den Haag, Volendam and Zaandam we are already quite proud of what we’ve accomplished. The reactions have been very positive and after only 6 weeks we’ve already started to get the first re-orders!
Curious? You can find more info on: www.abcofholland.com
- ABC of Holland – Price €9,95
- Shipping costs to Australia for 1 -2 copies – € 9,95
- Shipping costs to Australia for 3-5 copies – € 17,95
This is a guest post for Dutch Australian by Rifka Burggraaff. Rifka is the author of the children’s books ABC of Holland and Het ABC van Nederland. She has a daughter Merle Sophie (4) and a son Mack (2). She lives with her husband and children in Amsterdam and loves to travel and experience life abroad. She is always thinking of new products and opportunities, and has a passion for health care advisory as well.