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New youth books
​Extra-terrestrial Shopaholics in Berlin

Book covers
© Carlsen, dtv, Hanser, Schöffling, Beltz & Gelberg

A class outing, a road trip with a wolf, a spaceship in front of the Reichstag, a magical empire on an industrial wasteland, a model’s testimony. Our selection of newly published books for young people explores these and much more.

By Holger Moos

Class outings aren’t just about who’s sharing rooms. Some of them lead to dramatic upheavals. In Tamara Bach’s Sankt irgendwas (Saint Something) things go completely awry on class 10b’s school trip. The pedantic class teacher’s pedagogical obsessions reach sadistic proportions. He harasses his pupils, attempting to play them against each other until the situation escalates. Bach tells the story in concise, straightforward literary language and in a dialogue style that alternates with diary entries from various protagonists. The result is “a typical Tamara Bach book: very language-sensitive and elaborated” (jugendbuchtipps.de).
In Kurve kriegen. Roadtrip mit Wolf, Hans-Jürgen Feldhaus wrote a very entertaining and comical holiday read. Five young people, randomly thrown together and all somehow on the run from love, responsibility and life, drive through Switzerland, France and Italy to Corsica in an old VW bus. They’re accompanied by a half-tamed wolf that they want to release into the wild on the island. Irreverently told, with plenty of dialogues, and of course it all ends well for everyone.

mysterious creatures

A spaceship lands in front of the Reichstag in Berlin, and not only the kids Fipp and Vanessa, but the whole world is watching to see what the humanoid aliens are going to do. They don’t provoke a star war, but buy up almost the whole world, which is why Berliners call them Koofmichs (“buymees”). Whatever they accumulate, they dispose of immediately, creating a garbage dump behind their ship. This is the story told by Burkhard Spinnen in Fipp, Vanessa und die Koofmichs. To demonstrate the potential dangers of consumption, shopping frenzies and social media, the author relies “on satirical games with obvious pleasure and witty wordplay,” says Roswitha Budeus-Budde in the SZ. When we learn what the extra-terrestrials are actually up to, the ending remains pretty much open despite a showdown with dolls and little girls.
Sometimes when life gets too hard, all you can do is scribble in your diary or sketchbook like 16-year-old Maia. She’s the oldest of three sisters, each with a different father. Since their mother is constantly stressed, Maia shoulders a large part of the responsibility for her two younger sisters Ruth and Heidi. She also struggles with her weight and feelings of inferiority. But her two best friends Alex and Carla, whose real name is Engelbert, help her. Elisabeth Steinkellner notes a “relaxed and witty tone” in Papierklavier (Paper Piano) [...] that in no way belittles the seriousness of the situation. [...] An absolute favourite that shows that life takes place always and everywhere, even when nothing seems to be happening” (titel-kulturmagazin.net).

Three homeless people live on a dilapidated industrial site in the middle of the forest near a large city: wise old Tok-Tok, opulent Glü and beautiful Rosalinde. They oblige the narrator to defend their idyll against shady characters. But he soon gets caught between the front lines and discovers the secret of the women who save a fantastic creature so that humanity can survive. In Albert Wendt’s book for young people Tok-Tok im Eulengrund, you sometimes feel you’ve been transported to Prospero’s island; the author borrows bits from Shakespeare’s final masterpiece The Tempest. It “is a profound story for children and adults. The way that Albert Wendt combines the everyday and the fantastical, real and invented, the lost and the found, the way he juggles with words and balances on a false floor, the way he approaches places full of unexpected secrets: This is great storytelling,” wrote Siggi Seuss in the SZ.

MODELS aND do-gooders

For ten years, Anne-Sophie Monrad worked as a model on the world’s runways until in autumn 2018, with an Instagram post and an article in the FAZ, she protested against the inhumane conditions behind the scenes of the modelling business and gave her life a new direction. In Fashion Victim, she tells of her experiences in the industry, revealing its underbelly: exploitation by brutal modelling agencies, the struggle against the self to meet the absurd and dangerous slenderness requirements, assaults by photographers and the opaque work processes to the detriment of models.
In Benjamin and Christine Knödler’s book, young people fight for the environment, minorities and equality and against the gun lobby, discrimination and corruption. Young rebels. 25 Jugendliche, die die Welt verändern (25 young people who are changing the world) is the title of their non-fiction book for young people. It portrays 25 international figures of yesterday and today, known and unknown, who as children, teenagers or young adults used important inventions and ideas to try to make the world a better place. The carefully researched book also shows how the activities young people undertake for a better future have now become a global movement.

Logo Rosinenpicker © Goethe-Institut / Illustration: Tobias Schrank Tamara Bach: Sankt irgendwas
Hamburg: Carlsen, 2020. 123 p.
ISBN: 978-3-551-58430-4
Hans-Jürgen Feldhaus: Kurve kriegen. Roadtrip mit Wolf
München: dtv, 2020. 281 p.
ISBN: 978-3-423-74054-8
Benjamin und Christine Knödler / Felicitas Horstschäfer (Ill.): Young rebels. 25 Jugendliche, die die Welt verändern
München: Hanser 2020. 190 p.
ISBN: 978-3-446-26640-7
Anne-Sophie Monrad: Fashion Victim. Licht und Schatten des Modelbusiness: Ein Topmodel berichtet
München: dtv, 2020. 266 p.
ISBN 978-3-423-74063-0
You can find this title in our eLibrary Onleihe.
Burkhard Spinnen: Fipp, Vanessa und die Koofmichs
Frankfurt: Schöffling, 2020. 300 p.
ISBN 978-3-89561-513-9
You can find this title in our eLibrary Onleihe.
Elisabeth Steinkellner / Anna Gusella (Ill.): Papierklavier
Weinheim: Beltz & Gelberg, 2020. 160 p.
ISBN: 978-3-407-5579-7
Albert Wendt: Tok-Tok im Eulengrund. Das Geheimnis der Vogelfrau
Wien: Jungbrunnen, 2020. 155 p.
ISBN: 978-3-7026-5949-3