Outside in World | Browse Books
Use our Book Finder to search for books by Title (or part of the title), Author, ISBN, Age Range, Keyword, or Continent/Country. Then simply click the magnifying glass to start your search.
‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
by Ninke Van Hichtum
Age Range: 9-11
Afke’s Ten, a monument among Dutch youth literature, is set in the nineteenth century in the northern Dutch province of Friesland in the Netherlands in the farming community where the main language spoken is West Frisian and Dutch.
The story is set around Afke, her husband Heit and their brood of ten children, hence the title of the book Afke’s Ten. There’s baby Spike ‘the dolly’; Wiebe ‘the pet’; two sisters Sietske and Boukje; Jetse ‘the mischief’; Klaas ‘the bold’; Jouke, ‘the neat’; big brother Eeltje and the two oldest are Watse, who is a soldier and Wiepkje, who works as a housekeeper in a different village.
The family are very poor and life is hard for Afke and her family. There are nine chapters in total and each one is dedicated to different members of the family (one chapter covers the two sisters Sietske and Boukje). The story charts the everyday lives of the children, their mischievousness and exploits, but all united in their love for their mother. The last two chapters have an element of adventure when father Heit takes the children on a boat trip on the canal.
Ninke van Hichtum, the pen name of Sjoukje Bokma de Boer (1860 – 1939), wrote books and stories in both West Frisian (her native language) and Dutch and this story is very much based on her personal experience of the area she grew up in. The Nienke van Hichtum Award is named after her.
Afke’s Ten is a lovely poignant story of a time gone by when life was hard and resources were limited, but it has some magnificent tender qualities such as the love and the care amongst each member of the family. There is a colour plate at the beginning of the book together with charming black and white illustrations throughout that beautifully portray the idiosyncratic characteristic of each of the members of the family. This is a timeless story to be enjoyed by children and adults alike.