Book: James Boekbinder

Het stempel (The stamp)

a story about parents and children

Together with Zhenya Pashkina, we've just published a graphic version of a non-fiction book by Judith Uyterlinde. You can read pages in English in our site:

Big white monsters - "Two white people enter the yard. They look like giants. They point at you and laugh..." James Boekbinder

'The stamp' is based on a true story as told by Judith Uyterlinde in her book 'The Woman who Says She's my Mother'. (In Dutch: 'De vrouw die zegt dat ze mijn moeder is'; in French: Cette femme qui dit être ma mère : L'héritage familial en question.)

The story

Judith is in the process of adopting a child, when her mother suddenly becomes gravely ill. On the eve of a life-threatening operation, she gives Judith a box of letters written by her own mother, Judith’s grandmother Bep Bloemendal. Written while Bep was imprisoned in a hospital in Rotterdam during WWII, these letters contain a dramatic family history that remained secret for decades.

As she reconstructs her family’s hidden past, she makes an unexpected discovery: for generations, the children in her family have lost their mother at a very young age and been raised by women who were not their biological parents. She thought that by adopting, she was doing something exceptional. In fact, she was following in the footsteps of her elders.

She finds herself pursuing the answer to a question that holds the key to four generations of her family’s experience: What does it mean to lose your mother at a very young age?

Creating the graphic version

To create the book, we're using a vast number of sources, from films and political posters to toys and ads. We have the cooperation of the author and her family, who provide us with photographs, handwritten letters and mainly, their own stories.

The site and blog:

Follow our work, look at pages, mail us, etc. - we're hoping to collect your mail, so if you like the work, we can send you special offers and get you to buy the book :))