I read The Book of Everything (American edition, 2006, Arthur A. Levine Books) twice because I found it so moving. Written by Dutch author Guus Kuijer, it takes place in Amsterdam of 1951, when the Netherlands are still reeling from the effects of the Nazi occupation of their country. The story of nine-year-old Thomas revolves around his anguish over his father hitting his mother (and himself.) After one such episode we feel Thomas’s distress. “God was silent in every language. The angels tried to dry their tears, but their handkerchiefs were so soaked through that it started raining even in the deserts.”
A bleak subject, true, but somehow the reader reaches the last page experiencing the goodness of humanity mixed in with its faults. The writing is lyrical, funny at times, and a remarkable journey through the mind of a nine-year-old as he revises the religious ideas his father wishes to instill. I recommend this book to adults, as well as children.