|Lawrence with translated copies of his picture books featuring kids and their pets from LGBTQ families.|
In this excellent interview, SCBWI Switzerland Regional Advisor Elisabeth Norton spoke to Lawrence Schimel about the journey of two of his picture books, Bedtime, Not Playtime! and Early One Morning, translation, book rights, and much more.
One highlight, discussing the four language release in Switzerland (German, French, Italian, and, Rätoromanisch, sometimes also called Romansh or Romansch):
Lawrence: The publisher for these titles in Switzerland is an NGO, Dachverband Regenbogenfamilien, which doesn't normally publish books but knows that books like these were lacking in Switzerland. They had seen on social media as I posted about the 8 previous languages the books had been published in (Catalan, Croatian, Czech, Flemish, Galician, Latvian, Slovenian, and Spanish) and asked if the rights were still available for the Swiss languages, in order to publish them in time for IFED (International Family Equality Day) which is celebrated each year on the first Sunday of May. As a Swiss NGO, they were very aware of the importance of publishing in ALL of the Swiss languages, including Rätoromanisch. I don't know if these are the first LGBTQ books published in Rätoromanisch, but I do believe they're the first LBGTQ kidzbooks published in this language, which is quite an honor!
Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,