Julie and Words

Petra Dvořáková

Petra Dvořáková: Julie and Words

Original title: Julie mezi slovy

Genre: children´s book


Host, 2013

ISBN: 978-80-7294-966-3

Pages: 128


Golden Ribbon for Teenage Fiction 2014 (awarded by the Czech Section of IBBY), Teachers’ Prize for Contribution to Children’s Reading 2014

Foreign editions:

Slovenian (MIŠ, 2016)


Ten-year-old Julie doesn’t have things easy. She (like many other children) has recently lived through the divorce of her parents; together with her younger sister she is trying to get used to her father’s new partner and her children. The situation is further complicated by the fact the disintegration of the original family unit is accompanied by a move from Prague, an environment of shopping malls, selective entry schools and other amenities of urban life, to an ordinary village where her fellow pupils at the small school have little idea about anything. Against the background of little Julie’s story the reader is acquainted with a veritable dictionary of terms from the adult world that often and inadvertently penetrate the world of children and may well be a source of worry as well as humour. The child reader encounters interpretations of words including ‘divorce’, ‘sex’ and ‘cyberbullying’ and terms such as ‘disability’, ‘dental hygiene’ and ‘credit card’. Young Julie herself inducts us also into a world of words that are strictly forbidden to children. By playful, gentle means Julie urges the reader to reflect on the meaning and use of words. Julie and Words touches on themes (e.g., divorce of parents, family breakdown, the forming of wider emotional ties to include parents’ new partners and their children) that are frequent in children’s literature but rarely fully grasped. It helps readers to come to terms with one of childhood’s most painful experiences.


Illustrated by Katarina Gasko

Katarina Gasko, born 1980, a regular contributor to children’s magazines, works with publishing houses in Slovakia, the Czech Republic and Canada.

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