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About the book
  • Published: 31 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499276
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

King Matt The First

'A masterpiece. We need King Matt now, in our world, more than ever' Maurice Sendak, author of Where the Wild Things Are

This moving fable follows the adventures of Matt who becomes king when just a child and decides to reform his country according to his own priorities. Ignoring his grown-up ministers, he builds the best zoo in the world and decrees that children should be given chocolate every day. He fights in battles, braves the jungle, and crosses the desert, but perhaps the most life-altering thing of all is that the lonely boy king finds true friends. This timeless book shows us not only what children's literature can be, but what children can be.

King Matt the First was written by Janusz Korczak, a Polish orphanage director who died in Treblinka after refusing to abandon the children he cared for.

  • Pub date: 31 August 2011
  • ISBN: 9781446499276
  • Imprint: Vintage Digital
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 352

About the Author

Janusz Korczak

Janusz Korczak was born in 1878 and died in 1942. He was a Polish physician and educator who wrote over twenty books - his fiction was in his time as well known as Peter Pan, and his non-fiction works bore passionate messages of child advocacy. During the Second World War, the Jewish orphanage he directed was relocated to the Warsaw ghetto. Although Korczak's celebrity afforded him many chances to escape, he refused to abandon the children. He was killed at Treblinka along with the children. His works have not been forgotten, especially by teachers: there are Janusz Korczak societies in over a dozen countries.

Praise for King Matt The First

“Unforgettable to the last full stop. One of the great classics”

Michael Morpurgo, Children's Laureate

“Janusz Korczak is an important writer... His message is still relevant today, that children matter; indeed that they should be a priority in our culture, because it's only with a child's imagination that grown-ups can begin to conceive a better world”

Yann Martel, author of 'Life of Pi'

“Absolutely wonderful. A gripping and classic entertainment from start to shocking finish. Definitely a book for all ages”

Matt Haig, author of 'The Last Family in England'

“The spirit of Korczak, living on, could make a better world for all humans”

Publisher's Weekly

“Droll and melancholy, wry and touching, King Matt is a fable that offers a fierce, truthful picture of children struggling to make sense of grown-up nonsense... This small masterpiece is a rare tribute to the psychological depth and marvellous workings of a child's heart and mind”

Maurice Sendak, author of 'Where the Wild Things Are'

“For the world today, Janusz Korczak is a symbol of true religion and true morality”

Pope John Paul II

“A rediscovered kid's fantasy to enthral a new generation. Nearly seven decades before a kid named Harry pottered about with magic, Janusz Korczak's orphan boy King Matt the First captivated children all across Europe. Matt's message of hope shines past Korczak's tragic end in 1942 at a Nazi death camp with 200 Jewish orphans he refused to abandon”


“Matt is clearly an ancestor of Antoine de Saint-Exupery's Little Prince”

San Francisco Chronicle

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