Children's book writer Bibi Dumon Tak has won a prestigious American children's literature award for the translation of her book Soldaat Wojtek (Soldier Bear). It is the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the best translation of a children's book. Bibi Dumon Tak is ambassador for Alertis.
Bibi Dumon Tak started 10 years ago with a book about cows. Almost all of her books are based on true stories about animals. If children ask her why she writes about animals, she replies: "Because you have to write about the things you like the best. And in my case that means animals." In 2008 she wrote Soldaat Wojtek (Soldier Bear), a true story about a young bear that becomes a mascotte for the Polish Army and at the end is recognized as an official soldier. Research for this book led to contact with Alertis. After visting The Bear Forest she remarked: "If Wojtek had lived in these times he would hav ended in Rhenen, at the end of the war, instead of in a cage in a Scottish zoo. Alertis asked Bibi to become an ambassador, and she accepted immediately.
Soldaat Wojtek was translated by Laura Watkinson and was published last year in the USA as Soldier Bear. According to the jury, Susan Stan, Dumon Tak transformed a 'relatively unknown historical event' to a 'funny, bittersweet story'. Bibi hopes the winning of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award will lead to many more children who will read the story about Wojtek. Alertis congratulates Bibi on winning the award and is enormously proud of her ambassador!