Judith Eiselin - Jim (Illustrator Monique Bauman)
Judith Eiselin is one of those rare children’s writers capable of entering into the heads of their characters, in this case eleven-year-old Kiki Moerman. Kiki’s fourteen-year-old brother Jelmer is highly gifted but extremely sensitive. He goes off into his own dimension and can’t stand anything new or different. Family life revolves around him, to the extent that no one really seems to function as they should. Narrator Kiki, who believes ‘words are important’, feels ‘no one in this family fits together’. She starts to wish the others weren’t there at all.
Visiting her grandma, also called Kiki, she finds a grubby postcard in the wastepaper basket signed ‘Jim’ and hopes it was actually meant for her. Already wondering whether her quarrelling parents are her real mum and dad, she can now daydream about Jim, a cool brother who’s out there looking for her. It’s the start of an adventure-packed quest. Beautifully evocative scenes and subtle clues reinforce Kiki’s wishful thinking.
On the family’s summer holiday to the Channel Island of Sark, Kiki sees special signs everywhere in the form of letters, tickets and maps, all brought to life in Monique Bauman’s photographic illustrations. A dark cave and a rising tide are the prelude to an unexpected and moving finale that proves ‘you actually only ever know very little about what other people know’.
Judith Eiselin grew up with a twin sister, a journalist father and a mother who ran a puppet show. By the age of six she wanted to become a writer. After studying Dutch she was a children’s book reviewer at NRC Handelsblad for ten years before deciding to fulfill her dream. Her books, which include Jesleia’s Eyes (2004) and The 1001 Secrets of Eva Zout (2006), have been widely praised for their empathy and their style, which is contemporary without being trendy.
- ‘An exciting, well-written holiday adventure.’ – NRC Handelsblad