DC Family Reads

DC Family Reads

A book for the entire family to enjoy

National Poetry Month, DC Family Reads "I Wish." Check out this title in Overdrive. No holds, no waiting.
In celebration of National Poetry Month, this month's DC Family Reads is I Wish which was written by Toon Tellegen, illustrated by Ingrid Godon and translated from the Dutch by David ColmerDC Family Reads is a DC Public Library literacy program that complements DC Reads, featuring a book that families can enjoy reading, discussing and doing related activities together. This month's book with 33 poems and intriguing portraits is a 2021 Notable Book of Children’s Poetry by the National Council of Teachers of English. We encourage you to write a poem or to create art inspired by the book and to share it with Elsewhere Editions who will post it on their website.

In addition to the print and e-book copies, unlimited ebook copies are available for download on OverDrive from April 1-30 from DC Public Library's catalog. Click here to download a copy with your library card number. If you are a DC Public School student you can access the ebook through Sora.

See below for related information, programs and activity ideas for children and families. 

About the Book

In thirty-three delightful poems by Toon Tellegen, paired with luminous portraits by Ingrid Godon, children wish for courage, a sudden miracle, an extremely unusual pet, or the ability to become a song, hummed by all those in love.

I Wish pairs poems with a gallery of portraits inspired by old-fashioned photographs – faces staring out at us with the serious, veiled expressions of a bygone time. Scattered among the paintings are young children, men and women, and babies, speaking through Toon Tellegen’s yearning poems. Like dozens of confessions poured from the page, the poems present a glittering kaleidoscope of wishes, from imagined feats of heroism to reciprocated human love.

About the Author

Toon Tellegen is a Dutch writer and poet. He was a nominee for the 2020 Hans Christian Andersen Award. He has published more than twenty collections of poetry to date, including the 2001 winner of the British Poetry Society’s Popescu Prize for European Poetry in Translation, Raptors (Raafvogels), translated into English by Judith Wilkinson. Tellegen has also been awarded the Theo Thijssen Prize in 1997 and the Constantijn Huygens Prize in 2007, each for his full body of work.

About the Illustrator

Ingrid Godon is a Flemish children’s book illustrator. A born observer, her evocative drawings are charged with great seriousness and strangeness, with immense compassion for ordinary people. She was awarded the Boekenpauw Award and the Gouden Griffel in 2001 for her book with André Sollie, Wachten op Matroos. She also won the Boekenpauw Award in 2015 for Ik denk. Godon’s drawings in I Wish were exhibited at the museum M in Leuven and around Europe, and I Wish was nominated for the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpreis in 2011.

About the Translator

David Colmer translates Dutch literature, including literary fiction, nonfiction, children’s books, and poetry. He is a four-time winner of the David Reid Poetry Translation Prize, and received the 2009 Biennial NSW Premier, a PEN Translation Prize, and an International Dublin Literary Award. In 2014, Colmer was also shortlisted for the PEN Award for Poetry in Translation for Even Now, a selection of the poetry of Hugo Claus.


Tuesday, April 6, 1:30 p.m. | I Wish Book Talk with Author Daniel Handler
Tune in to Turning the Page DC where Daniel Handler aka Lemony Snicket will host a book talk for I Wish. He will share his reflections on the work, and also on the creations by Takoma Park Education Campus' fifth graders who created poems and drawings inspired by I Wish. Click the link above to learn more about the event.


  • Watch I Wish, the MovieClick here to view the movie.
  • DOWNLOAD THE PUZZLING POETRY, Treasure Chest App to create a poem in a fun way: More information about the developers and this gamified poetry experience here. The app is available in the Apple app store and Google Play store. It was developed by Studio Louter, a Dutch Poet and the foundation for literature and translated by David Colmer.
  • Submit Your Work: Did I Wish inspire you to create a poem or picture? Send it to Elsewhere Editions contact page to be featured on the I Wish page.

Thanks to the Elsewhere Editions, the Embassy of the Kingdom of the Netherlands in the United States, the Dutch Culture USA Never Grow Up! Program, DC Public Schools' Library Program and Turning the Page DC for making the events and activities for this DC Family Reads event possible.