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International publication of 'So, you're an orphan now'


Monday, 9 December 2013


On December 18th 2013, the autobiography 'So, you're an orphan now', written by Jojanneke Van den Bosch (Netherlands, 1975), will be internationally published. Van den Bosch became an orphan at age fourteen. The book reveals uncomfortable, confrontational and unexpected truths about growing up without parents in a modern country, and provides practical suggestions for people around them. The book provides outlines of the paradox between the existence and the invisibility of these young people and those who do not recognize them. The first edition was in Dutch and was released in January 2013.


  • Autobiography about growing up as an orphan in a modern country

  • Practical suggestions for people around today's young orphans

  • Read the introduction and two chapters for free before official publication


Project WesternOrphans

The book is written to raise awareness about today's orphans. It is a publication of WesternOrphans, which is a socially engaged, non-profit project of Eos Online Comm., the writer's company. WesternOrphans started its work in May 2007 in the Netherlands, and shares practical information about orphans and their bereavement over the loss of their parents. The platform is for friends and family, professional caretakers and teachers. The Dutch equivalent of WesternOrphans provides practical information for orphans who have to take care of their own, based on information of professionals, peers and crowdsourcing (assembling and sharing information online with many people). The project is an independent initiative.


Quotes from the writer

"This is a book for people who know young people who have lost one or both parents, and  who are trying to find an appropriate way to respond. It's often uncomfortable, when somebody deals with an enormous personal loss. This book, my story, reveals what can actually happen when someone loses their parents, and gives practical suggestions for people around orphans today."


"There have always been orphans, there are orphans today and there will always be orphans. it is a universal issue. The situations of orphans are each individual and unique. But there are specific themes in their lives, that shouldn't be overlooked by people around them. And orphans live everywhere, also very much so in countries in the Western world. I have talked to them, met them, in Ireland (in person) and in other countries (online). That is why I have decided to share my story across other countries as well, rather than just my own. It is a universal issue. Orphans are everywhere, trying to make the most of their lives. Also in the city where you live, whether it is in Rotterdam, New York, London, Dublin, or in smaller cities and villages."


"Changes are already visible. And we have only just started. I share this, because growing up without parents is hard enough as it is."


Results since the first (Dutch) publication of 'So, you're an orphan now'


  • The Ministry of Education, Culture and Science has agreed to contribute information and has ordered further research into specific issues concerning orphans, in dialogue with the author of this book.

  • Since publication, several orphans have already been saved from eviction from their parental homes because of this book and with the aid of WesternOrphans.

  • Since its first edition, 'So, you’re an orphan now’ has been covered in all national newspapers, local newspapers, national and local television, national and local radio shows and several professional journals and magazines (in the Netherlands). 

  • Many people have offered to contribute information and to help maintain the new website.


  • The print version of the book will be available on Amazon, among other online bookstores. Direct web links to the online stores will be added on the publication date (December 18th), under ISBN number 978-90-820232-1-3.

    Extra content: there will be extra information added to the printed version of the book. The reader gets a little extra background information via an app on the reader's smartphone.


  • The e-book will be available from December 18th in online book stores. Direct links will be placed on westernorphans.org once the book is published.


  • The special (limited) end-of-year print edition, issued with a festive extra will be available via the author directly.


Media about 'So, you're an orphan now'

(Most media that have covered the story are Dutch. This is because the first edition was published in the Netherlands.)


‘Van den Bosch breaks taboo about orphans.’

Nico Haasbroek, author and former editor in chief of the TV news for the Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation NOS, also appeared as a guest speaker at the book presentation for the first Dutch edition.


‘Jojanneke proves that young orphans are not pitiful (but that they do need adults).’

Daan Westerink, journalist, publicist, university lecturer and bereavement expert, also was a guest speaker at the book presentation of the first Dutch edition.


‘Until recently, Western orphans were an invisible group.'

RTL News [video item, in Dutch]


'An openhearted book. A book that wants to break taboos.'
National news broadcast on Radio 1 the Netherlands by Netherlands Broadcasting Foundation NOS [video item and article]


‘Many issues orphans are dealing with have been underexposed. Jojanneke shares them through her story.’ 

Dutch national newspaper De Volkskrant [pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4]

‘Jojanneke wrote about her experiences and founded a discerning platform featuring practical information for and about western orphans. For the six thousand children are orphaned every year. There are over tens of thousands of orphans living in Western countries.’

Dutch women's magazine VIVA (Dutch article, pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4 | 5 | 6]


'She wrote the book not only for orphans, but also for those around them, so they are more willing to help and het an idea about what they can actually do.'

Regional broadcaster RTV Rotterdam Rijnmond [television and radio item, in Dutch]


‘Western orphans are an invisible group. This book shows practical hiccups that young people have to deal with daily. The book is a practical guide for those who have lost one or both parents, and people around them.’

Dutch national newspaper Trouw


‘Chick on a mission.’  

Dutch magazine Glamour [article, Dutch. pages 1 | 2 | 3 | 4]


‘The book encourages the reader to engage in the lives of those whose parents have passed away.’

Dutch national newspaper AD [article, Dutch]






WesternOrphans | Jojanneke van den Bosch | T +31 6 4511 0845

westernorphans [at] gmail.com | Strevelsweg 700-611 3083 AS Rotterdam, Netherlands

Twitter: @westernorphans, @jojanneke  | Facebook: www.facebook.com/westernorphans


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Readers about 'So, you're

an orphan now'


'Things too often kept silent, Jojanneke receals freely. Friends, family, neighbours, teachers, professionals...people around young orphans often choose not to act. Not to speak up. Not to help. Or at least not enough. ‘So, you’re an orphan now’ hands suggestions that empower people around orphans to act appropriately. The more people know about these experiences, the more people will be able to break the silence. Breaking the silence about orphans’ issues can make an enormous positive impact in the life of a young person who has to live without one or both parents.’ 

Kirsten Moonen, professional pedagogue, on (Dutch) Goodreads


The best thing is what Jojanneke has done with the story herself.And how her social media efforts to help orphans and how she offers suggestions. I think I’ll go see how I can make a modest contribution.

Elisabeth de Ru on (Dutch) Goodreads