German / Germany

Die Kinder im Wind
(The children in the wind)

Steinhöfel, Dirk (text/illus.)
Stuttgart: Thienemann, 2013. – [224] p.
ISBN 978-3-522-20190-2

Childhood | Neglect | Memory | Graphic novel

Lavish and fragmentary, visually stunning and secretive, associative and intertextual: ≫Die Kinder im Wind≪ is not an easy, immediately accessible read. Instead it’s a thick volume with hardly any text but full of surreal pictures, some of which seem fairly realistic. The atmosphere is dark, dismal, and scary and there are very few bright moments.

The book is about children who were abandoned, emotionally neglected, and often physically abused. They are rescued by small wooden dolls and eventually brought to a blond woman who takes care of them. It isn’t clear which events take place in the here and now and which occurred in the past. Time seems to blur.

Dirk Steinhofel weaves motives and stock characters from fairytale contexts into his book; at the same time, there are also references to real-life happenings outside of literature. Altogether this creates moments of confusion that resonate for a long time and make this book something out of the ordinary. (Age: 12+)