Books by Laura Watkinson

WINTER IN WARTIME by Jan Terlouw
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 4, 2020

"A nuanced perspective on World War II and a testament to the power of a young person to resist. (Historical fiction. 12-16)"
A Dutch teenager is caught in a web of wartime conspiracy. Read full book review >
PRINCESS ARABELLA IS A BIG SISTER by Mylo Freeman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 3, 2019

"A chuckleworthy royal roller coaster. (Picture book. 3-7) "
After only child Princess Arabella requests a younger sibling, she questions whether she wants to be a big sister after all. Read full book review >
A TIGER LIKE ME by Michael Engler
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2019

"Wildness is part and parcel of everyday childhood, embraced here with a roar. (Picture book. 4-8)"
This playful poem of a picture book captures a child's wildness and warmth as he pretends to be a tiger. Read full book review >
SPIKY by Ilaria  Guarducci
by Ilaria Guarducci, illustrated by Ilaria Guarducci, translated by Laura Watkinson
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2019

"Despite potentially appealing art and a worthwhile anti-bullying theme, friendship and coming-of-age stories are better done elsewhere. (Picture book. 3-6)"
At first this looks like one of those stories where the scary beast really isn't, but it turns out the creature aptly named Spiky really is as bad as he looks. Read full book review >
HEY THERE, EARTH DWELLER! by Marc ter Horst
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 9, 2019

"Earth science engagingly presented for middle-grade readers. (notes) (Nonfiction. 9-14)"
An appreciative introduction to the planet we call home. Read full book review >
THE SECRETS OF THE WILD WOOD by Tonke Dragt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Dec. 4, 2018

"An old-fashioned Arthurian-esque adventure for those who enjoy that genre's satisfying storytelling pleasures. (Historical adventure. 10-15)"
Young Sir Tiuri, recently knighted following the events in The Letter for the King (2015), finds the adventure he seeks deep in the mysterious Wild Wood. Read full book review >
PRINCESS ARABELLA AND THE GIANT CAKE by Mylo Freeman
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 24, 2018

"Sweet, with a few gaps. (Picture book. 4-8)"
Princess Arabella is back with her royal friends to create giant cakes for her grandmother's birthday in this Belgian import. Read full book review >
MIKA by Erik Kriek
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 2, 2018

"Old-fashioned in the beary best of ways. (Picture book. 2-7)"
A bedtime bear book with vintage flair. Read full book review >
FELIX by Giovanna Zoboli
by Giovanna Zoboli, illustrated by Simona Mulazzani, translated by Laura Watkinson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 28, 2018

"Overall, an agreeable world tour. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A house cat with just two lives left visits his extended family around the world. Read full book review >
PRINCESS ARABELLA GOES TO SCHOOL by Mylo Freeman
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 26, 2018

"Using bright colors and brilliant prints, Freeman encourages young readers to be themselves. (Picture book. 3-6)"
Princess Arabella learns that standing out is not necessarily a bad thing and that she can both stay true to herself and succeed as she starts her first day of school. Read full book review >
SCOUT'S HEAVEN by Bibi Dumon Tak
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 5, 2018

"This unusual look at a beloved pet's death may be helpful to some families. (Picture book. 6-8)"
First published in the Netherlands, this story deals with the death of a large, black dog named Scout and how the three children in Scout's family experience and ultimately accept her death. Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 3, 2018

"An irreverent fable that tells a timeless tale of war, friendship, and the redemptive power of love. (Fiction. 10-adult)"
An unlikely hero finds his humanity in this beautifully translated Dutch import. Read full book review >
THE SONG OF SEVEN by Tonke Dragt
by Tonke Dragt, illustrated by Tonke Dragt, translated by Laura Watkinson
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 6, 2018

"It's not for every reader, but the slow reveals will keep the pages turning for fans of Elizabeth Enright and E. Nesbit. (Mystery. 10-15)"
A young schoolteacher's drawn into a conspiracy to free an orphan and discover a treasure. Read full book review >
GET ON YOUR BIKE by Joukje Akveld
CHILDREN'S
Released: Feb. 5, 2018

"This realistic, constructive portrayal of handling an emotional conflict will resonate with kids. (Picture book. 5-8)"
This charming depiction of dealing with anger via exercise cleverly offers a participatory feature. Read full book review >
THE CALL OF THE SWAMP by Davide Cali
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 25, 2017

"A melancholy contemporary folk tale. (Picture book. 4-8)"
An Italian import confronts questions of identity, belonging, and family. Read full book review >
THE LIFE AND TIMES OF MARTIN LUTHER by Meike  Roth-Beck
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 11, 2017

"An excellent, historically accurate account of the beginnings of the Lutheran denomination of Protestantism. (Biography. 7-12)"
The 500th anniversary of the Protestant Reformation occasions a new biography of its prime mover. Read full book review >
ROGER IS GOING FISHING by Koen Van Biesen
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 4, 2017

"A clever story whose illustrations lack the warm fuzzies. (Picture book. 5-8)"
The main characters from Roger Is Reading a Book (2015) are back in this picture book, translated from the original Dutch, about a fishing trip that catches more than fish. Read full book review >
A HUNDRED HOURS OF NIGHT by Anna Woltz
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 26, 2016

"This won't linger, but it goes down smooth. (Historical fiction. 11-15)"
A Dutch teen flees scandal at home for the bright lights of New York only to encounter Hurricane Sandy. Read full book review >
THE DOG THAT NINO DIDN'T HAVE by Edward van de Vendel
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 8, 2015

"A sensitive reminder that imagination can provide comfort, though not in unlimited quantity. (Picture book. 6-8)"
Nino and his imaginary dog are inseparable companions—until a tangible pet comes along. Read full book review >
THE MYSTERY OF LIFE by Jan Paul Schutten
CHILDREN'S
Released: Sept. 1, 2015

"A glib and occasionally spotty picture but eminently readable and generally on target. (end references, index) (Nonfiction. 11-13)"
A lighthearted view of the universe's progress, from the Big Bang to the evolution of bacteria, bonobos—and "Joe Schmo from Buffalo." Read full book review >
THE LETTER FOR THE KING by Tonke Dragt
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 25, 2015

"Short chapters and frequent mild cliffhangers make this suitable for a middle-grade classroom read-aloud; but there's little here to captivate a 21st-century reader. (Historical adventure. 10-15)"
The English translation of a prizewinning 1962 Dutch historical adventure exhibits both old-school charms and flaws. Read full book review >
JUST FOR TODAY by St. John XXIII
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 27, 2015

"There's plenty of wisdom here for older children and adults of many faiths. (Picture book. 6-10)"
Landmann illustrates the decalogue of Angelo Roncalli, probably best known as Pope John XXIII and now St. John—a simple set of 10 precepts to live by. Read full book review >
ANIMAL SUPERMARKET by Giovanna Zoboli
CHILDREN'S
Released: April 16, 2015

"A tongue-in-cheek reminder that good food doesn't have to come in a box, jar or plastic bag. (Picture book. 5-7)"
Would a supermarket catering to animals stock pizza? Ice cream? Sugary snacks? Read full book review >
RED by Jan De Kinder
by Jan De Kinder, illustrated by Jan De Kinder, translated by Laura Watkinson
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 9, 2015

"Moral trumps story here. (Picture book. 5-8)"
A girl moves from instigator to bystander to hero in this anti-bullying picture book originally published in Belgium. Read full book review >
ROGER IS READING A BOOK by Koen Van Biesen
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 2, 2015

"A slight but tongue-in-cheek import with a mischievous twist. (Picture book. 5-7)"
A noisy neighbor can make reading a bit of a challenge—but there's a clever solution. Read full book review >
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WALL by Simon Schwartz
YOUNG ADULT
Released: March 1, 2015

"Though important both culturally and historically, unfortunately what should be haunting is less than. (glossary, timeline, map) (Graphic memoir. 12-18)"
A stark and pensive glimpse at a young boy's family as they immigrate to West Berlin prior to the collapse of the Berlin Wall. Read full book review >
MIKIS AND THE DONKEY by Bibi Dumon Tak
CHILDREN'S
Released: Oct. 6, 2014

"Those children who do connect with Dumon Tak's sweet, quiet tale are likely to find it will resonate deeply. (Fiction. 8-10)"
Inspired by a visit to a donkey sanctuary on the island of Corfu, this Dutch import offers a glimpse of a far-off land and a gentle lesson on caring for animals. Read full book review >
THE LEGEND OF ST. NICHOLAS by Anselm Grün
CHILDREN'S
Released: Aug. 8, 2014

"Visually attractive but unlikely to appeal broadly. (Picture book/religion. 5-8) "
An introduction to the life of an early saint historically revered by both Eastern Orthodox and Western Christian traditions. Read full book review >
HIDDEN LIKE ANNE FRANK by Marcel Prins
YOUNG ADULT
Released: March 25, 2014

"Terrifying, haunting and powerful. (foreword, glossary) (Collective memoir. 12 & up)"
Dutch survivors of the Holocaust remember their years as hidden children. Read full book review >
JESUS by Anselm Grün
by Anselm Grün, illustrated by Giuliano Ferri, translated by Laura Watkinson
CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2014

"The Life of Jesus, by Sophie Piper and Angelo Ruta (2013), and The Light of the World, by Katherine Paterson and François Roca (2008), are better introductions to the life of Jesus for a similar age group. (Picture book/religion. 4-8)"
First published in Germany, this theologically confusing introduction to the life of Jesus is told through disjointed episodes that don't have any connecting narrative to help the reader. Read full book review >
THE WAR WITHIN THESE WALLS by Aline Sax
YOUNG ADULT
Released: Oct. 1, 2013

"Gripping, powerful, shattering. (Historical fiction. 14 & up)"
The sights, sounds and smells of the Warsaw ghetto assail readers' senses in a raw, brutal telling of the unimaginable horror of that time and that place. Read full book review >
MISTER ORANGE by Truus Matti
CHILDREN'S
Released: Jan. 14, 2013

"A poignant story of art, growth and loss. (further reading, websites, list of museums) (Historical fiction. 10-14)"
A young boy discovers the power of art during wartime in Matti's second novel (Departure Time, 2010). Read full book review >
SOLDIER BEAR by Bibi Dumon Tak
by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman, translated by Laura Watkinson
ADVENTURE
Released: Sept. 1, 2011

A bear cub purchased by a pair of Polish free soldiers in the Iranian desert in 1942 becomes a private in the Polish army, a member of the 22nd Transport Company and an active participant in the war in Italy. Read full book review >
HEARTSINGER by Karlijn Stoffels
ADVENTURE
Released: Jan. 1, 2009

Although born to deaf-mute parents, Mee develops a unique talent for singing. While his strange songs can calm the ocean's waves, they fail to lift his widowed mother's somber heart. To escape this memory, Mee heads east, becoming the singer of sorrows. Whether singing over the lieutenant, the farrier's wife or the sailor's sweetheart, he sees their lives and loves before him, eases their mourners' grief, yet always remains alone. Heading west in search of Mee is Mitou, a girl born on the same day into a house of ceaseless insults. Using music to protect her from the "black-word plague," she has become a traveling merrymaker. In search of this musical pair is Prince Viereg, who hopes their gifts can turn the depressed Princess Esperanza away from her mirrors and back toward the world again. Stoffels's fresh Dutch voice, rendered fluidly and beautifully in Watkinson's translation, weaves together traditional folktale elements to creates an original, haunting story of love that is magical unto itself. Heartfelt through and through. (Fiction. YA)Read full book review >