“Roger is Reading a Book” / “Buurman leest een boek” by Koen Van BIESEN

first book i knowingly picked up for my Child Reads World book travel journey is from Belgium: Roger is Reading a Book / Buurman leest een boek. short and sweet, it is about a man who is trying to read a book but is constantly being interrupted. i read it to my little one and then read it three more times per request. the repetition was easy for crw to follow the story, the onomatopoeias were fun to hear AND read, and the twist ending was light humor to wrap up the story.

"Roger is Reading a Book"

“Roger is Reading a Book” / “Buurman leest een boek” by Koen Van Biesen

the second time i read crw the book, when i read Roger is Reading a Book, crw would complete the sentence “a book”. we went over the book in more detail and crw enjoyed looking at Roger without a shoe, the dog’s ears perking up or the glasses off of Roger’s face.

after i read this book, i really wished i could read it in the original Dutch language – well, even better if i could hear it read to me since i would unfortunately butcher the language. well, the original language has a CD which would be great if i could get my hand on it!

there is a clip of part of the book animated so you can see the book come to life which is really cool! it is also on the author’s book page with an interview of the author taking about the book as well.

it shows a little of the original Dutch version of the book. the animation is set to music instead of the book text. it works well but the only thing that would be even better is if the animation was for the whole book and the story was read aloud with the animation.


BELGIUM: Buurman leest een boek - Dutch version

cover from Eenhoorn.be

author/illustrator: Koen Van Biesen

U.S edition
– title: “Roger is Reading a Book
– © Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 2015
– translated by: Laura Watkinson

Original Belgian edition
– title: “Buurman leest een boek” (Neighbor is Reading a Book)
– © De Eenhoorn, 2012
– narration by: Warre Borgmans


this book was a recommendation from a speaker at the “Where the Wild Books Are” event at the New School in New York City. Betsy Bird, a librarian / critic / author of children’s literature, loved this book but she shared how her fellow librarians criticized the book because the illustration of Roger’s head were “not connected”. my little one was not phased by this — even after i purposely went over the pictures in more detail and purposely pointing out where the parts weren’t connected. it did not bother crw at all! instead i think it made the story come to life even more.

the book is obviously very loved as it has also been translated to French, German, Catalan, Korean and Chinese. children’s books are sometimes not only fun for children but also for adults. the expressive images was fun for me to describe to my little one! i also totally related to the book, remembering the times i needed some quiet time to get something done but noises next door or outside prevented me from focusing. what great storytelling! dankjewel Koen Van Biesen!

a little bit about Belgium


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