King and King (Koning & Koning), a young children’s book by authors Linda de Haan and Stern Nijland that was first published in Dutch but has since been translated into English and several other languages, is slated to soon get a Czech edition. The children’s book tells the story of young prince Bertie who must marry in order to inherit the kingdom. The twist is that he falls not for the princess but for her brother.
King and King has sold thousands of copies around the world, more than 20,000 in the United States alone, teaching young children about same sex-attraction and same-sex relationships. Brno-based translator Adéla Elbelová first saw of the book while abroad, buying it in a Belgian bookstore for her daughter. According to the translator, the book made it easier to explain in a simple and positive manner same-sex relationships to her little girl.
“It struck me as interesting and she liked it too, she didn’t even really express surprise and it was fine. I liked the book and at the time there weren’t any others like it on the Czech market. Now there are but I told myself I would still like to see the book published.”
According to the translator, the idea behind the book has been greeted positively by many but nursery schools, for example, would have to consult with parents before introducing a book like King & King to children. Hana Palátová-Šípková is the head of the Štolcova Nursery School in Brno:
“I think if we wanted to talk about something like this in class, we would have to discuss it with the parents first. It’s a sensitive issue and we don’t know how the idea would be greeted by everyone.”
Although there are bound to be those opposed to the children’s book (evidenced in some of the comments online) at least one parent, Petra Quittová, told Czech Radio she welcomed being able to read a book like King & King to her five-year-old daughter:
“I think homosexuality should be explained in a simple way to children and that a woman and woman and man and man can love each other. Today children can see same-sex couples on TV or on the street. I think the fairytale format is perfect for this. Of course some parents will be against the idea, but I think that preschoolers at five or six can easily learn about it.”
Meander publishing is reportedly looking into putting out the Czech edition of King & King; currently funds are being sought to see the project through to completion.
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