Sunday, March 16, 2014

Dutch Edition of "The Borrowed House"

Cover of the Dutch
In 2013, Hilda van Stockum's book The Borrowed House was translated into Dutch and has become available everywhere in Holland. My source - a relative in Holland - says that the translation is good. The translation was requested of the publisher (Mozaiek) by a teen novelist, Ineke Kraijo.

The English edition,
ranks 6th out of 123.
The Dutch title - Dutch people are still unforgiving about the Nazi Occupation of their country - is Het Gestolen Huis ("The Stolen House").

The book in English ranks #6 right now (March 2014) among the top 123 Books for Children about World War II on

This new translation is hugely significant for Hilda van Stockum and her family. In her obituary in Het Parool, the newspaper that came to prominence as an underground newspaper in Holland during World War II, Hilda van Stockum is described as someone famous throughout the world except in her own country. Although translations have been made into a dozen languages, none of her books had ever been translated into Dutch.

The new translation will be the first translation of one of her books into Dutch.  I hope it will not be the last. She would be so proud.
Ranks 11th out of 123 books for
 children on World War II..

The Goodreads list of the 123 Best Books for Children on World War II has three books by Hilda van Stockum. Two of them rank in the top 11. The Borrowed House ranks 6th and The Winged Watchman ranks 11th. The Mitchells ranks 36th.

People have asked me how the Goodreads voting works on lists on a particular topic. So far as I can figure out, two different metrics are used. One is overall popularity, based on general reviews. On this score, Hilda van Stockum books do very well. The second metric is voting on a particular list.

For example, in my own family, The Borrowed House and The Winged Watchman are both viewed as important WWII books because they use first-hand reports to describe the Nazi Occupation of Holland. But there is some disagreement whether The Mitchells is really a WWII book. It is about the same period of time, in Washington, DC, but it takes place in a country that was not attacked. The action is in Europe, where the adult men in the family are posted.

Voting about a list seems therefore to be partly whether a book meets the criterion for the list. Anne Frank's diary has moved from first to second to third place as new books about World War II come out. But her diary has by far the largest number of reviews. If you want to check out the rankings, go to the link in the third paragraph. If you want to vote, the site for the Goodreads list:

Ranks 36th out of
123 books on WW II.
If you would like a free HvS book sent to you to review for Amazon or to vote on a Goodreads list - let me know and I will send it - at least to the first 20 people who ask me. Email me at

These lists are looked at by librarians, teachers, home-schooling parents and curriculum designers. 

The important thing to know is that on this list, your vote counts.  A single vote can move a book several places up. 

Also, chapter books tend to be read over the summer as part of reading lists targeted by period or by country. For example, in England, World War II is required reading for 10-year-olds.