The Hague painter and draftsman Marjolein van der Sluis has done a lot in her life. She exhibited in America, had her own company for years and taught at an elementary school. Now another wish has come true. She wrote a children’s book with homemade drawings and her own story. “The characters came to life on their own.”

The book that Marjolein wrote is called Miss Julia Star presents The Gift. The story is about Mandy from Hollywood Hills in America. Mandy is showered by her parents with gifts that they order for her online. Yet Mandy is not happy, because her parents are never at home. She only wants one thing for her tenth birthday: a white pony. To her surprise, there is indeed a white horse at the door that day. But, this is no ordinary pony. It’s the magical Miss Julia Star who comes to teach her an important lesson.

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Miss Julia Star and mandy. Illustration: Marjolein van der Sluis

America

“The story plays in America because the luxurious Hollywood Hills appeal to the imagination,” says Marjolein. “It’s a bit of a magical place after all. I myself have worked for years in America and my drawings and paintings have hung in several cities. People used to say: you can never do that. But, at the fourth gallery I asked I got my own exhibition. In the end, all the traveling up and down became a lot. I am glad that I now work peacefully in my hometown The Hague.”

Teacher and writer

In 2011 Marjolein started her own company with which she gave art lessons and wrote curricula. She also worked at a primary school for eight years. “I love working with children. Unfortunately, I had to stop taking it after knee and hip surgery. When I sat down, the idea arose to write a book. I spent about a year on that.”

“I started with the illustrations and that’s how the characters came to life,” Marjolein continues. “Thanks to my work as a teacher, I know what children like and what suits them. The story is mainly about emotions. Mandy can be very sweet, but she can also get very angry. The kids who have read the book have all given me a 10 so far.”

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Uncle Willem

On May 4 there was a book presentation at the Nieuw Waldeck library. None other than Edwin Rutten read the story there. “Edwin Rutten is my in-laws’ neighbor. That’s how I came into contact with him,” says Marjolein. “When I asked him to read my book, he was immediately enthusiastic. As a child I always looked at him as Uncle Willem. He still has as much energy and charisma as before. To hear him read my story was very special.”

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Marjoram with Edwin Rutten. Photo: New Waldeck Library

Marjolein expects more stories to come. “I still have so many ideas. Miss Julia Star can also help other children.” Miss Julia Star presents The Gift

is issued by

Book scout. The book is now for sale at Bol.com and will soon be available at Primera at the Appelstraat.

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