I Wish (Hardcover)

By Toon Tellegen, Ingrid Godon (Illustrator), David Colmer (Translated by)

Elsewhere Editions, 9781939810328, 105pp.

Publication Date: March 31, 2020

List Price: 22.00*
* Individual store prices may vary.


Bestelling Dutch children's author Toon Tellegen matches 33 imaginative prose-poems prompted by the statement "I wish" with luminous, old-fashioned portraits by Ingrid Godon in this beautiful, unique volume perfect for thoughtful young readers.

I Wish pairs writing with a gallery of portraits inspired by old-fashioned photographs - faces staring out at us with the serious, veiled expressions of a bygone time. Scattered among the paintings are young children, men and women, and babies, speaking through Toon Tellegen's yearning language. Like dozens of confessions poured from the page, the writing presents a glittering kaleidoscope of wishes, from imagined feats of heroism to reciprocated human love.

About the Author

Toon Tellegen is a Dutch writer and poet. He published his first collection of stories for children in 1984 and has published more than twenty collections of poetry to date. In 2001, his book Raptors (Raafvogels), translated into English by Judith Wilkinson, won the British Poetry Society's Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation. Tellegen was also awarded the Theo Thijssen Prize and the Constantijn Huygens Prize for his entire ouvre. About the translator: David Colmer translates Dutch literature and is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize. He received the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier, a PEN Translation Prize, and an International Dublin Literary Award.

Ingrid Godon is a Dutch children's book illustrator. Her first illustrated book, Wachten op Matroos, was published in 2000 and accompanied by André Sollie's poetry. It was awarded a Gouden Griffel, Boekenpauw en Boekenwelp. Her illustrations stand out for their poetic, sensitive depictions of people and places. When Ik Wou (I Wish) was launched in 2011, it was nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis award.

Praise For I Wish

"This Dutch import pairs portraits with poetry to articulate wrenching individualism, yearning, humor, desires, and pathos ... This probing psychological journey makes for an exciting exploration in empathy." — Kirkus Reviews

"A book of prose by Toon Telegen based on illustrations by Ingrid Godon offers timeless musings about life...it will be as simple or as complex as you need it to be for you. What you read in this book of wistful poetic prose is inspired by, and based on portraits with eyes that allow you to peer into delicious intimacy. The portraits themselves look unposed and perfectly candid. It is as if the artist caught her subjects off guard." — Picture this Post

"I Wish is a made up of a series of powerful portraits by the Belgian illustrator Ingrid Godon, accompanied by philosophical meditations written by Toon Tellegen. Surprising in every way, the book has gone through reprint after reprint and was nominated for the prestigious Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis in 2013." - Tzum (The Netherlands)

"Several years ago Ingrid Godon surprised friend and foe with a series of mysterious portraits of children...Connoisseurs of children's books already knew she was capable of much more than cute animal faces, but with these intimist, realistic portraits she has tapped into an entirely new style. Initially it seemed like I Wish would remain primarily an art project - until the author Toon Tellegen and the designer Kris Demey joined in and turned it into a gem of a book." - De Standaard (Belgium)

"Portraits that recall both family photographs and the Dutch and Flemish masters...Texts that reveal imaginary wishes that are far removed from the usual presentations of childhood happiness, speaking too of hurt, fears, lost joy, unfulfilled longing and hopes that might yet be fulfilled...An outstanding example of the literature of childhood, full of wisdom and of a brilliance that calls out for calm, quiet moments to enjoy it." - Jury Report, nomination for Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis