Hi. I am Maurits van Huijstee. I'm a Dutch writer. My story is about Diego Dazzler, a gifted boy and his quest against climate change. In the Netherlands, my books are a success. I am even allowed to say they have all turned into bestsellers, thank you very much. Now, thanks to my translator and editor, I'm ready to take my chances overseas.
In the Netherlands, its really hard to win the Golden Stylus, the award for the best children's book of the year over-all. Jan Paul Schutten has won it twice. He read Diego Dazzler, and gave me this quote: 'Absolutely recommended.'
One day before the start of the national kidsweek, The Telegraaf, Holland's biggest newspaper, decided to publish a story about me and my books. I have no idea who's that lady in the small picture.
Microbes can save us. It's true! Microbes, or bacteria, can make energy out of almost anything (out of plastic even), they can clean water and soil, they can make bio plastic and silk and more stuff, and they can extract CO2 from the atmosphere while doing so. In the story, discovering the secrets of microbes are crucial to save their world from climate change.
Together with Mike Jetten, winner of the prestigious Spinoza award in 2012, I am creating a series of lessons to teach kids the truth: bacteria aren't hooligans... they're heroes! At least, most of them.
'Writer, what's the greatest line you've ever written?'
In the Netherlands, you have the Netherlands... and then there is Friesland. They feel they're different from the rest of the Dutch. They even have their own language. So, when I was on tour in Friesland, and their newspaper published this story about me, I must say I was very proud.
Marjan Minnesma is one gutsy woman. With her foundation Urgenda, she sued the state for lacking to protect the Dutch citizens against the consequences of climate change - and they won! The case was covered in the media worldwide, from the BBC to Al Jazeera. Marianne has no time to read my books, as she is busy saving us - but her daughters love them. According to Marjan, my books have motivated her youngest daughter to follow into her mothers' footsteps.
This was a great moment... a stack of my books, on the counter of the famous Dutch book store Los, next to Dan Brown.
The former Prime Minister of the Netherlands, Jan-Peter Balkenende, is very much involved in sustainability. He likes my books - and I like him for it. Great man! I always voted for him.
This is Rebequin, where Diego lives. I've tried to create something that includes all the climate zones in the world. In the far south, you have 'Het Grote Witte Niets', the Arctic of Diego's world. Unfortunately, the ice mass is melting fast ...
Pieter Winsemius was the first minister of sustainable matters in the Netherlands. At age 73, he's still working working very hard. Nevertheless, he found the time to read part I of Diego Dazzler and to give me a great endorsement. This picture is taken in his yard, by his wife.
Writing is more than just typing words... In the past few years, I visited over 200 elementary schools to talk about climate change and read my books to them. To keep these kids focused, however, I needed to go out of my comfort zone from time to time...
At the release of Diego Dazzler part II, I drove through the Netherlands in a so-called 'banana bike'. I started at this school in Roermond, in the south of the Netherlands. After that I had another 250 miles to cover in a few days. As always, I was too optimistic about my physical abilities. It was a ride full of agony and pain... and at the same time, the best trip I ever made.
During the last national Kidsweek, the Dutch National Radio came to look me up while I was visiting an elementary school. Over half a million people where listening that morning as I read to a death silent class.
Maurits Groen, the great Dutch climate activist, co-founder of Waka Waka and number 1 in the sustainable top 100 in the Netherlands - and rightly so - loves my books. Great man, who has opened a lot of doors for me. He even introduced me to Bill McKibben.
I was asked to give a presentation at the start of the sustainable program of the city Almere. Always great when people are willing to pay you for these kinds of things.
Urgenda won the climate case against the Dutch state, and the lawyer who came up with the whole idea and pulled it through until the end is Roger Cox. This was really David against Goliath - and David won. Roger, his wife and one of his children love my books, and he was kind enough to give an endorsement in one word: 'Great!' Great man.
For half a year, I had the privilege to drive this car: the Burton. It's recycled for 99%, which made it the perfect promotion vehicle to visit elementary schools. The only downside was... they would only lend it to me during the winter.
Bill McKibben has read the first draft of Diego Dazzler and endorses my books - which makes me very proud. I admire this man. I think he has been very courageous to take on the fossil industry the way he does. As a matter a fact, from every dollar, pound or euro I will earn with the English translation, 10% of it will go to 350.org.
Olaf Schuiling (84) is the great professor who has been fighting for over 40 years for the usage of the mineral Olivine to suck carbon out of the atmosphere. His theory has been proven so many times, even the New York Times published an article of three pages about him. Besides microbes, Olivine plays a great role in the 3rd and 4th part of Diego Dazzler. Olaf Schuiling has read all my books, each one within one day, and thinks they're great. Thanks Olaf!
It's not often that you come to a class with three namesakes. Four times Maurits in a row... worth a picture!
In 2015, I took on the challenge to deliver the first copies of Diego Dazzler & The Master of Dreams - part III - in person. As I had no green wheels at my disposal, I called Mr. Roel Swieringa...
... who was so kind to lend me his 'green' Porsche 928, the only Porsche in the world that runs on green gas. Thanks again Roel!