Nine Open Arms

Nine Open Arms


Written by Benny Lindelauf
Cover illustrated and designed by Dasha Tolstikova
Translated from Dutch by John Nieuwenhuizen

A 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book

The Boon family story and their indefatigable gallows humor are Benny Lindelauf's literary memorial to those persecuted by history.

A ghost story, a fantasy, a historical novel, and literary fiction all wrapped into one, this highly awarded novel for young readers begins with the Boon family's move to an isolated, dilapidated house. Is it the site of a haunting tragedy, as one of the daughters believes, or an end to all their worries, as their father hopes? The novel's gripping language, enriched by Yiddish, German, and Dutch dialect, plunges the reader into the world of a large, colorful, motherless family.

ISBN: 978-1-59270-146-9
5" (W) x 8" (H) • 264 pages • HCJ

Grade Level: 7-8+
Interest Level: 6-up
Lexile Level: 660
Guided Reading Level: Z

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A 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Honor Book

★ “Every element of the tale has a purpose, and in the end, the multiple layers of past and present separate and come together in surprising, often discomfiting twists and turns. . . A challenging and entirely unique Dutch import.” ―STARRED REVIEW, Kirkus Reviews

★ “Lindelauf’s masterful rendering of fraught yet loving sisterly ties, snappy dialogue, graveyard mysteries, and “traces of a tragical tragedy” from generations past combine to humorous and poignant effect in this gripping tale of eclectic families and inveterate wanderers in search of a welcoming home.” ―STARRED REVIEW, Publishers Weekly

Nine Open Arms is welcome proof that young adult publishers recognise the value of translated fiction, too. Originally published in 2003, Nine Open Arms has won several esteemed awards in its native Holland.” ―Emily Gale, Readings

“Delightfully wild and incredibly quirky, this book is one of a kind. ... Beautifully written, magnificently crafted, this Dutch novel is like nothing you have read before.” ―Tasha Saecker, Waking Brain Cells

“A family of nine moves into the titular rundown brick house in 1930s Holland and tries to figure out its mysteries, including the tombstone in the cellar, a forbidden room, and the homeless man who moves into the hedge.” ―The Horn Book

Fing’s tale, set in 1937, has an almost mythical feel yet her world is anchored in reality. As Fing’s family struggles to survive ‘the Dad’s’ endless incentives that lead to financial ruin, threads of the past ensnare them. Meanwhile, little sister Muulke pushes Fing to help her find 'tragical tragedies' around them and to their surprise, they do just that. The family is forced to move (out of financial necessity) into a house that is far from town. Despite disasters and insurmountable odds, the house, which is nine open arms long, feels like coming home for more reasons that Oma Mei is prepared to let on. As the family’s quirky way of living plays out, unanswered mysteries thread through their lives. As questions build, answers come from both the past and the present. I laughed out loud, sighed with shared regrets and then Nine Open Arms took my breath away. If you loved The Book Thief, then Nine Open Arms is for you. With its easy read and conversational tone, Fing will keep you hooked.“ —Kids’ Book Review


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