Numbers in text

Christoph Drösser—Absolutely Record-Breaking: Your Life in Numbers

Your Life in Numbers

Your Life in Numbers


Christoph Drösser, author (NASW member)
Nora Coenenberg (illustrator)
Gabriel Verlag, Germany, March 18, 2022, $14
ISBN-13: 978-3522306065

Drösser reports:

This is the third kids’ book in a row that I have produced with my illustrator friend Nora Coenenberg for our publisher Gabriel, an imprint of Thienemann-Esslinger, Germany’s biggest publisher of books for kids. Our first book, 100 Kinder, earned us the German Youth Literature Prize in 2021, and our publisher keeps asking for more.

All our books have something to do with numbers and statistics. In this case, the seemingly simple idea is to tell kids how many dreams they will have in the course of their lifetime, how many tomatoes they will eat, how often they laugh, and how many rolls of toilet paper they will use. Some of the numbers are mind-boggling, hence the title! The book starts with the number 1 (everybody is born once and dies once) and ends with 3,363,840,000 heartbeats.

Christoph Drösser, photo by Liesa Johannssen

Christoph Drösser, photo by Liesa Johannssen

Of course, we don’t just quote numbers. Every chapter tells a background story to the number. Kids learn that giving precise numbers looks impressive but doesn’t really make sense since a lot of those are guesswork and estimates. We are looking at average people who lead average lives and live to an average age, and sometimes the average doesn’t make sense. For example, each of us will spend an average of 23 days in prison (that’s the number for Germany), but for the overwhelming majority of the population that number will be zero.

Also, many of these numbers are in our control. We are not projecting the current greenhouse emissions indefinitely, but assume optimistically that humanity will phase out CO2 by 2050 and our kids will emit zero carbon after that.

The book, unfortunately, currently is available only in German.

Writing those kids’ books has become a nice side job for me. I am preparing the fourth book in the series!

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Hero image courtesy of Christoph Drösser

March 14, 2022

Advance Copy

The path from idea to book may take myriad routes. The Advance Copy column, started in 2000 by NASW volunteer book editor Lynne Lamberg, features NASW authors telling the stories behind their books. Authors are asked to report how they got their idea, honed it into a proposal, found an agent and a publisher, funded and conducted their research, and organized their writing process. They also are asked to share what they wish they’d known when they started or would do differently next time, and what advice they can offer aspiring authors. Lamberg edits the authors’ answers to produce the Advance Copy reports.

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