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Mother Number Zero

Written by Marjolijn Hof

Translated by Johanna W. Prins

Translated by Johanna H. Prins

  • 180 Pages
  • 9781554980796
  • 7.5" x 5"
  • Reading age to 9
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Family / Adoption
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Love & Romance
  • JUVENILE FICTION / Social Situations / Adolescence


Publication Date April 09, 2011

A Society of School Librarians International (SSLI) Honor Book

Fay was adopted when he was a baby. He knows only that his birth mother escaped the war in Bosnia and that he arrived in his new home with nothing more than a squeaky toy and a few clothes. His older sister Bing was adopted too, from China, where she was found abandoned on the street.

When Fay's friend Maud discovers he is adopted, she urges him to search for his birth mother, but this creates mayhem at home, since there is no possibility of Bing ever being able to find her birth mother. Gradually Fay's complicated feelings about searching for his mother and his ambivalent feelings for Maud unfold. Hof's insight into human nature results in a truthful, sometimes funny, sometimes painful rendering of family life and the challenges of being adopted.

Selected for the Society of School Librarians International (SSLI) Honor Book Award 2011

Selected for the Vondel Prize for Translation 2014


Marjolijn Hof
Marjolijn Hof's first novel, Against the Odds (Een kleine kans), met with high critical acclaim, winning three major Dutch and Flemish children's book prizes. It was also nominated for the Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis (German Youth Literature Award) and has been translated into twelve languages. Marjolijn lives in Krommenie, the Netherlands.

Johanna W. Prins
Johanna W. Prins is a translator who lives in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and who has translated many books together with Johanna H. Prins.

Johanna H. Prins
Johanna H. Prins is a translator who lives in Syracuse, New York, and who has translated many books together with Johanna W. Prins.


"Readers able to look between the lines will find plenty to ponder here." Kirkus Reviews

"...[a] thoughtful family story." Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books

"This minimalist work demonstrates the best qualities of contemporary children's fiction emerging in Europe. Canadian readers are privileged that Groundwood has opted to translate and distribute the work here." CM Magazine

"thoughtful, ...original and touching" The Horn Book Magazine

"Told with heart, and sensitivity to the issues that still surround adoption [Hof] has created a story that will resonate with many and would be a wonderful book to share in families and classrooms." Sal's Fiction Addiction