Nine Open Arms by Benny Lindelauf, Enchanted Lion, 2014. The Netherlands. 256 pages. Recommended for grade 4 and up.
It's 1937. A family of nine--Father, Grandmother, four older brothers and three sisters--move into a house outside of town at the end of a long and dusty road. Told from the perspective of the eldest daughter Fing (short for Josephine), this tale is a combination of ghost story, mystery, and family drama divided into three parts.
The narrator's voice is conversational and welcoming, "Without looking back, she held out her hand to me and we automatically linked arms. Just in case it did depend on us, we chanted to the rhythm of our footsteps, "Unpack, unpack, unpack."
At the beginning of the text there is a translator's note, along with a list of Dutch slang and a list of characters. The list of slang was helpful, as the words are sprinkled throughout the text.
This book is full of surprises, sorrows, and mystery. An excellent read for anyone who enjoys a story that is unpredictable with a side of family drama.
Visual artist & librarian.