Because of the 150th birthday of Piet Mondriaan, the Mondriaanhuis has asked writer Bette Westera to write a children’s book about Piet’s childhood, who was born in Amersfoort.
For Bette Westera, the question of whether she wanted to write a children’s book about little Piet Mondrian was not a difficult question. Of course she wanted to! But it had to wait a while, because at the time she was terribly busy with the children’s book week gift and everything that comes with it. The acclaimed writer has been doing well for many years. She has written more than fifty books and has a long list of prizes and awards to her name, such as two golden pencils for the illustrated collections of poetry Dood Ordinary (2015) and Uit Samen (2020), which she made together with illustrator Sylvia Weve.
For the picture book about Mondriaan, Westera again sought collaboration with Weve. Westera: ‘Sylvia and I have enjoyed working together for twenty years. I start writing the story and she makes the drawings later. They are always very different from what I had in mind, much more catchy and surprising than I could have imagined.”
In preparation for the book, Westera visited the Mondriaan House several times, the birthplace of the later famous painter. ‘That was a small effort, after all, I live close by.’ While walking through the building and reading his biography, the writer got more and more image and feeling about the young Mondrian. The result is a book that tells in word and image about the everyday life of little Piet: his father teaching him to draw, the fish market around the corner. The illustrations look ahead to the artistic development he will go through later. Sylvia Weve has ingeniously incorporated his famous paintings into the drawings.