Most of what is constituent for the publishing house in Wuppertal is implied in the name that was chosen by its founders in 1966. “Peter Hammer” is the literal translation of French “Pierre Marteau”. In the 17th century authors of oppositional works started to use “Pierre Marteau” as a code name to escape the sanctions by the authorities. It was this subversiveness which the founders thought to be most suitable for what they had in mind. Their intention was to publish books against the main stream. And this is what actually happened: For almost 50 years books about left wing political subjects and works from and about Africa and Latin America have been published.
When in 1989 Werner Holzwarth’s and Wolf Erlbruch’s picture book “Vom kleinen Maulwurf, der wissen wollte, wer ihm auf den Kopf gemacht hat” came out, this marked the beginning of an additional focus: Children’s Books. The books for young readers follow the emancipatory tradition of the publishing house in their own way: They take children seriously, they have confidence in their capability to sympathize with peculiar types and to look at the world from new perspectives. Children’s Books today are the largest and top-selling segment of Peter Hammer’s programme.
The continuing commitment to African and Latin American Literature, the exceptional list of Children’s Books and the careful book design of the independent publishing house was honored with the Kurt Wolff Award.
The authors and illustrators of the publishing house won important prizes, among these were: Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis, Troisdorfer Bilderbuchpreis, Oldenburger Kinder- und Jugendbuchpreis, Rattenfänger Literaturpreis, Hans-Christian-Andersen-Medaille, nationaler und internationaler Preis der Stiftung Buchkunst, Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, Friedenspreis des Deutschen Buchhandels.
Many of the books for children and young people tie in with the books for adults in that they tell stories about the encounter with foreign cultures. The picture books however have no thematic restrictions, but nevertheless a distinctive profile: They encourage young readers to adopt new perspectives, they are fun due to true surprises – with regard to both contents and aesthetics. The enthusiasm for Peter Hammer’s picture books has no age limit.
Among the authors and illustrators of Peter Hammer’s Children’s Books are: Aljoscha Blau, Nadia Budde, Leonard Erlbruch, Wolf Erlbruch, Will Gmehling, Yvonne Hergane, Annette Herzog, Hanna Jansen, Karin Koch, Andrea Liebers, Vitali Konstantinov, Tobias Krejtschi, Eva Muggenthaler, Christiane Pieper, Jens Rassmus, Arne Rautenberg, Béatrice Rodriguez, Viola Rohner, Brigitte Schär, Jürg Schubiger, Jens Soentgen, Susanne Straßer, Lutz van Dijk, Henning Wagenbreth, Dorota Wünsch.
Little Sophie sets off, on her own. She knows where she wants to go and she knows how to get there. But it doesn’t take long and a bear comes around the corner. A story about courage and self-confidence.
Tired, yet wide awake – the eternal bedtime issue! And there are many characters in this perky boardbook who cannot with all the will in the world fall asleep. Hedgehog, Fox, Donkey, Pelican and Crocodile are so tired. Only Seal is wide awake. Crawls out of bed – the teeth haven’t yet been brushed! One by one the animals drift out of bed and out of the bedroom. The door opens – the door closes.
This is a funny bed evacuation which can only be ended by a good night kiss. And a joke at the end may just make the fun start all over again ...
An elephant on a seesaw? An entire menagerie will be needed to elevate him! There comes penguin already. A funny boardbook with a wonderfully simple dramaturgy.
Viola – no longer a child, but not yet an adult – ponders life’s big and small questions. Her thoughts and emotions evolve around friendship and the fear of being ostracised. Around the trouble with her familiy and the love that comes from it. Around boys, looks and recognition. And the Where From and Where To, around life and death. And over and over again the question: Who am I, really?
Author and illustrator succeed in unfolding the young girl’s entire cosmos in twelve episodes and a unique interplay of text and images. An enchanting poetic diary in cartoon style.
The hyaena Cleopatra is content with her life next to the garbage dump where she runs a little shop. Here she finds everything she needs: bones with little bits attached for breakfast and wonderful things for her shop. Real dust from Paris, bells without clappers, insoles. But even though her new friend Ed has made her life even bright and sociable, she dreams of a wild country that she has never seen. Of hot winds and glowing sunsets. Unable to resist the alluring visions, she says goodbye and sets off on her journey. A touching story, wonderfully illustrated.
Since their father has moved out of the family’s house, Tilda and her brother are yearning for him. The moving but hopeful story about divorce children is told from the girl’s perspective. Sensitively written and accompanied by beautiful illustrations this is a helpful book for children after partens’ separation.
Minna good-humouredly tells of the exciting days between the farewell party in kindergarten and the first day at school and it is great fun to see how she grows a little day by day: when she watches over the washing machine, saves the day at the hair salon and – best of all – knows right on the first day at school with whom she wants to squat on the big red stone in the middle of the schoolyard in future. Dorota Wünsch’s cheerful images render the read even more pleasurable!
King will come! – this sentence, spoken by the mother, bathes everything in a new light. The boy and his family have been in this new country for three days. Only King isn’t here, his dog and best friend. But King will follow! But how is King to find the long way? Again and again, the boy sends messages into the wind with his paper telephone: Stay hidden until no more rockets are dropped. Only set off in the dark! In between, he begins to roam the street and bit by bit he unravels its mysteries until it is no longer alien to him.
A hopeful story, accompanied by warm-hearted images.
14-year-old Juni lives with her dad near Berlin. One day she meets Sahal, a refugee from Somalia, who is hiding on a Kreuzberg cemetery. Sahal is threatened with deportation, because the authorities consider him to be of legal age. On top of that he has been in touch with a criminal gang and Juni is certain: She must help him!
But the more she becomes acquainted with Sahal, the further she distances herself from her beloved father and finally she also bunks off. It is a happy coincidence that she meets Karl, an old friend who offers her and Sahal shelter and to whom she feels drawn in an entirely new manner. An exciting story borne by a refreshing, strong-willed girl.
Twelve-year-old Joaquín lives on an island in Lake Nicaragua and thanks to his many jobs, his family manages to survive. When he meets the fascinating German girl Rosa, daughter of an anthropologist, he delights in the opportunity to earn a littel extra money with interviews given to Rosa’s dad. When Rosa discovers that he invented a few things to embellish his accounts, Joaquin cannot handle the doubt in his integrity. Deeply offended, he runs away from home.
This ballad of Robert Louis Stevenson has been widely unknown until Henning Wagenbreth discovered it and provided it with overwhelming illustrations! The book tells the story of two bad boys. While Robin is a true roughneck who likes tussling and robbing, Ben is a coward who steals and betrays people whenever there is a chance to slip away unnoticed. Robin becomes a pirate, Ben lives the comfortable life of a deceitful apothecary. Many years later, when the friends meet again and compare the profits of their lives, the story ends in an explosive showdown! This Graphic Novel is a discovery – both literarily and artistically.
This story is about two friends who couldn’t be more different if they tried. Anotherway is tall, Different is short. She is made of cotton wool and he is made of stone. How convenient that one of them loves pudding while the other one loves carrots. And how much fun it is when one of them walks tall and straight, while the other one walks on his hands! With concise rhymes and cheerful illustrations, this boardbook is a very simple plea for diversity!
Maxima, the little blond first grader, brings light into David’s life. She drew a heart and wrote their names inside. The boy from Nigeria is so happy about her affection that he, finally, doesn’t feel lonely any more. But then David’s happiness comes to an abrupt end when Maxima turns her attention to a new girlfriend. Hanna Jansen tells a story about friendship in a sensitive way, Leonard Erlbruch enhances it with his buoyant illustrations.
Finn feels queasy with fear on his way to school – every morning. This has been going on for weeks because of the three boys from his class, who wait for him in the schoolyard to make his life a living hell. This morning is no exception but the day will end completely different than it started ...
Andrea Liebers tells a gripping school story about intimidation and fear and an unusual act of liberation. Susanne Göhlich’s illustrations are vivid, rich in detail, and capture the special emotional state of the characters.
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Peter Hammer Verlag GmbH
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