This guest post, over at Cynthia Leitich Smith's indispensable Cynsations blog, Our Children’s Books Put America (and English) First, is a must-read!
If a child’s bookshelf (or classroom, library or bookstore) holds books by authors from many countries, telling stories from around the world, that child stands a chance of growing up to see herself as part of the world, and connected to its inhabitants. She becomes inoculated against campaigns to have her see people of other countries as lesser or invisible. She grows informed about the history, variety, and complexity of humankind. She grows up globally-minded.And this startling fact:
She also becomes more likely to read international literature as an adult, and to see a reading diet of mainly American books as limited, as a diet of American food is limited.
Translations into English comprise less than five percent of U.S. children’s books published annually.And this call to action:
If we work in children’s lit, let us acknowledge that language is culture (try describing a culture without using a word of its language)—and that to offer cultural diversity, we must seek out source language diversity. Depending on our role(s), let us acquire, edit, fund, publish, sell, buy, borrow, request, gift, list, boost and review children’s books (picture books through YA) authored in languages other than English. Most importantly, let us share them with young people.Read the whole article here.
And then, go read a children's or teen book in translation! And, as Avery suggests, give one to a child or teen.
Illustrate and Write On,