Sally N. Kamerling

Children's Writer and Author of The Golden Cap

Golden Cap Reviews and Book Launch

The Golden Cap

Written by Sally N. Kamerling, Illustrated by Marie Sanderson

Age Range: 6-10 years

Paperback: 40 pages

Publisher: CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform

ISBN: 978-1518636004


The Children’s Book Review November 15, 2016


What to expect: Historical-Fiction, Family, Dutch Culture and Traditions, Immigration

The Golden Cap is a picture book story about Etje, a young girl living in Holland with her family in the late 1800s. At the start of the story, her father announces that the family is going to move to America, and from that point Etje’s world is turned upside down. As the family plans to move, Etje learns that her grandmother, Beppe, has requested that she remain in their small fishing village while her parents, sisters, and baby brother proceed with the move to America. What follows in the story are events that are framed by Dutch culture and the traditions of the time, along with a timeless representation of finding strength within family bonds.


Throughout the story, Sally N. Kamerling provides rich, sensory-filled depictions of Etje’s world. The vivid backdrop that is created makes it clear that Etje has a strong connection with her village and family, demonstrating how hard it would be to leave. The inevitable sadness that accompanies the family’s departure and subsequent arrival in America is felt through the writing, but with that sorrow there is also an optimism that shines brightly through Etje’s relationship with her grandmother.


Marie Sanderson’s illustrations in The Golden Cap are presented with a colorful softness that embodies the family’s love and emotion throughout the story. They compare life in Holland with the new reality of America, and are beautiful compositions accompanying the touching story.


The Golden Cap would be well suited for young readers seeking out a story about a family passing love down from one generation to the next. It would also be ideal for families looking for a story related to Dutch culture.

***** From an Amazon Customer

By Jennifer Jones / March 9, 2016

The Golden Cap is a golden gift to children with a Dutch heri-tage, and anyone who loves a good family story. The text and illustrations blend beautifully, and help us understand what it must feel like to want so des-perately to be in two places at the same time.



Etje, the oldest girl in a family of seven children living in a small fishing village in the Netherlands, faces a heart-rending problem. It is the late 1800's and her papa has decided to take the family to America where there is plenty of work and opportunity. But Etje's dearly loved grandmother wants Etje to stay with her in Holland. After much deliberation, Etje's papa allows her to stay behind with her Beppe, and that choice leads to events that form the heart of the story. This beautifully illustrated story book for ages 6-10 is sure to be treasured and remembered by children, teach-ers, parents and grandparents.

Book Launch in Fulton, Illinois

"What a wonderful visit we had in Fulton Illinois and what a place to launch

the Golden Cap! Fulton is an old Dutch town where some of the old traditions, like washing the streets, are re-enacted every year. The people were so welcoming and their theme was Dutch Hats! How appropriate and what a

great visit we had." — Sally




Photography by Kamerling Family


"A remarkable story! Loved reading it to fourth and fifth graders..."   — Ginny Warwick


"This is an enchanting children's book with captivating illustrations. Read it together as a family. It will leave you with a warm feeling and you will want to know more about the central characters..." — Ruth Grunberg


"This is such a lovely book. It's so well written and is a treasure for young and older readers..." — Jacobine Haas


"I'm so glad you told this precious family story so it may continue to live in the hearts of every reader." — Bernice Magee


"Wow, this is a beautiful and timely story of a Dutch family's immigration experience. Marie Sanderson's dreamy illustrations touch the heart. This book belongs on the shelves of every school library." — GOOD READS


"The Golden Cap is as precious as gold,. a treasure for everyone who reads it."  — BOOK BLAST

More Reviews

CENTER PHOTO: Sally and illustrator, Marie Sander-son, guest speakers at  Buffalo Books, Ithaca, NY


RIGHT TOP: Sally and Marie see their book displayed at the Ithaca Barnes & Noble.


BOTTOM PHOTO: Writer and Illustrator, Sally and Marie offer a presentation about their process of self-publishing their book, The Golden Cap at the Cortland Free Library,

Cortland, NY.



Photography by Kamerling Family




Artist/Illustrator Is Inspired By True Stories


Posted on June 13, 2016 in Arts & Entertainment, News

By Sue Smith-Heavenrich


Marie Sanderson is the guest artist at the gallery in Buffalo Street Books this month. The show features her illustrations and sketches from “The Golden Cap,” a book written by Cortland author Sally Kamerling. The opening gallery night happened to be the night of Ithaca Festival parade, but even so, plenty of people dropped by to look at the artwork and taste the yummy Dutch cookies Sanderson and Kamerling provided.


Sanderson, of Ithaca, has always enjoyed art, but found her career in music; she teaches clarinet lessons and enjoys working with her students.

But art has always been in her life.


“I’ve been drawing and painting since I was a kid,” she says, remembering drawing all over her bedroom wall. Over the years she’s taken art classes, and a few years ago took a watercolor class from local artist Camille Doucet.


“It was a eureka moment,” says Sanderson. “I loved working with colors.” Until then, she had been working in pen and ink, and pencil. Much of her work is inspired by the landscapes of this area. “I love the greens,” she says, explaining that she moved to Ithaca from a much drier California.


Sanderson’s studio is in her home. “It’s located at the north end of the dining room table,” she jokes. Watercolors are easy to work with, clean up well and don’t have noxious fumes. Lately she’s been experimenting with multimedia, combining pencil and watercolor.


“The pencil gives it more depth,” Sanderson says, but you won’t find any pencil in her current watercolors on display. Just color and wash, with the shadows and folds and unlined edges you’d see in the real world.


Becoming an illustrator just happened, says Sanderson. A few years ago a friend asked her to do some illustrations for a book, and she liked it. Soon after joining the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators (SCBWI), a colleague sent an email: an author was looking for an illustrator. That author was Kamerling and her story was a Dutch immigration narrative set in the early 20th century.


“I had just finished reading a novel about immigrants,” Sanderson says, “so I really identified with Sally’s story. The themes seemed like they’d be fun to paint.” “The Golden Cap” is Kamerling’s family story, about her grandmother who stayed in the Netherlands while her siblings immigrated to the United States. Later, as a young teen, the girl crosses the ocean by herself to meet her family in New York City. Sanderson, thoughtful for a moment, muses, “Most of us have immigrants in our family.”


Sanderson likes painting landscapes. She likes painting portraits and architecture. Illustrating this book allowed her to bring all of these together. But she needed to do some research. What were the canals like in the late 1800s? What kind of houses did the Dutch people live in, and what kind of clothing and shoes did they wear?


Then there’s the Statue of Liberty. “It was copper-colored then, because it was new and hadn’t tarnished yet.” Sanderson also had to learn bow from stern, as she was painting a steamship and needed to make sure it was docked correctly.


As a painter, one of the challenges Sanderson faced in illustrating a book is keeping the characters’ images constant. So she asked her granddaughter to be a model for the girl in the story. Sanderson also did photo research of expressions and gestures. Then she lucked out. “Right when I needed it, Rob Licht was teaching a figure-drawing class at CSMA (Community School of Music and Arts). I was struggling with how to make the gestures look realistic.” She appreciated the opportunity to look closely at a human skeleton, to study how muscles attach to the bones.


“It was very helpful,” Sanderson says, “especially since I wanted a realistic look for the illustrations.”


Working on the book project with Kamerling was an educational experience that Sanderson says will help her as she moves forward with her own project. “I’m working on a picture book that I can’t wait to illustrate,” she says. “My goal is to do five illustrations and submit them with the manuscript.” The illustrations will include landscapes and animals, “and I’ll probably experiment with mixed media.”


Sanderson’s work is on display through the end of the month. Buffalo Street Books is located in the Dewitt Mall, between Cauyga and Tioga streets in downtown Ithaca.



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