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Paul Maar: "Thoughts come more slowly than before"

German children's book author Paul Maar sits at a reading at the Leipzig Book Fair. / Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa
German children's book author Paul Maar sits at a reading at the Leipzig Book Fair. / Photo: Jan Woitas/dpa

Children's book author Paul Maar became famous back in the seventies with his stories about Sams. Nowadays, writing is no longer quite so easy for him, says the 86-year-old.

At 86, children's book author Paul Maar ("Das Sams") now realizes that he is no longer the youngest when it comes to writing. "Thoughts come more slowly than they used to. Age is already noticeable and it's not as if age is just a joy," said Maar on Sunday at the Leipzig Book Fair. Next year, he and his grandson Hannes plan to publish a picture book based on the play "Opa Bär und die Menz". It deals with the illness of dementia.

Maar is also repeatedly asked when a new book about Sams will be published. "I get letters from children almost every day asking me when a new Sams book is coming out," said the author. However, he thought that a new volume "really wasn't necessary". That's why he thought of something else - and recently published the book "The Enchantress's Daughter".

Maar's grandson Hannes drew the characters in his latest book. "I knew Hannes was good at drawing. He sends me a new drawing every other day via WhatsApp," said Maar. They used to draw together. "I remember times when he would sit on my lap - we would sit in front of a large sheet of paper."

He likes to tell stories about contrasting characters, said Maar. And there is another rule for him: "It is my principle that I am always on the side of the children when I write. And sometimes the adults don't come off well," said the children's author. But that's not so bad, in some cases it's even logical. After all, adults also decide things that are inexplicable from his point of view.

With his stories about Sams - a child-like creature with a proboscis nose, a face with blue dots, red bristly hair, frog feet and a bulging drum belly - Maar became famous back in the 1970s. Among other things, Maar was awarded the German Youth Literature Prize and the German Book Prize. There are eleven books in the Sams series so far. The most recent was published in 2022.

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