Wednesday, September 27, 2023

World Kid Lit Month 2023 - September is such a full month!

For our fourth and final post celebrating World Kid Lit Month 2023, translator and global reading activist Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp shares what’s been happening this week on the World Kid Lit blog, on social media and in the real world, and leaves with some tips for how to carry on your global reading journey this year…

On the #WorldKidLit blog this week…

Zosia Krasodomska-Jones takes a look at two new illustrated non-fiction books for younger readers. She writes: "We'll be getting off the ground with Sky High! before soaring to the end of the universe with Big Bangs and Black Holes. Both books bring science and technology to life with their brilliant illustrations, introducing children and teenagers to aviation and cosmology in an inspiring and captivating way. And not only are they bursting with fascinating facts, they also demonstrate why in some parts of the world, comic books are known as the ninth art.”

SCBWI member Nanette McGuinness writes “You’ve probably heard about the Caldecott Award (picture books), Newbery Medal (children’s literature), and the Prinz Award (books for teens). But did you know that there are also awards just for graphic novels? The best known are arguably the Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards, sometimes considered the Academy Awards of the comics world, and there are many others, such as the prestigious Harvey Awards, the Ignatz and Excellence in Graphic Literature.”

E who is nearly ten tells us about her favourite book of the moment, Oskar and the Things from Estonia. “It made me think of Captain Underpants (by Dav Pilkey) because Melvin Sneedly can draw anything and it comes to life.”

27 Sept: Great Colombian Kid Lit Author 

Claire Gaunt: This year I was really lucky. I got to visit Colombia. And our trip coincided with the Bogotá International Book Fair (FILBo). Which gave me the opportunity to meet some incredible, and incredibly dedicated publishers (Babel Libros, Cataplum Libros, Ediciones SM) and to get a feel for some of the amazing Colombian Kid Lit authors to watch.”


World Kid Lit Month around the world…

World Kid Lit Month was started six years ago by translators and children’s/YA publishing experts Marcia Lynx Qualey, Lawrence Schimel and Alexandra Büchler as a way of encouraging educators, librarians and readers in general to explore books first published outside the USA, particularly ones translated into English from other languages. Since then, the hashtag #WorldKidLitMonth has been gaining momentum, moving beyond the translator and children’s book blogging community into libraries, schools and organizations worldwide. It's fantastic to see people joining in and creating their own events and activities. Here are a few that we heard about thanks to the #WorldKidLitMonth hashtag… 

 ArabLit: 10 Arabic children’s publishers to know: Over at community literature journal ArabLit, Marcia profiled 10 publishers that have a focus on children's literature in Arabic. While some have been around since the 1980s and 90s, such as the Tamer Institute and Al Salwa Books, most are more recent. Indeed, it has been in the last 20+ years, since around the turn of the century, that the landscape of Arabic children's literature has  burst into flower....
Jill! World Kid Lit Month readings: The translated literature reading series Jill! continued their festivities with two more great readings: a picture book from Iran that deals with death and grief and a LGBTQIA+ coming-of-age graphic novel from Portugal. SCBWI member Lyn Miller-Lachman reads from her translation (from Portuguese) of Pardalita by Joana Estrela. Parisa Saranj reads from her translation (from Farsi) of Empty and Me by Azam Mahdavi (illustrated by Maryam Tahmasebi). Earlier in the month, the reading series featured Kelly Zhang, inaugural Translator Coordinator for SCBWI Canada East, reading from her translation from Chinese of Tilted Sky by Yao Emei.

Global literature aficionado, and librarian in Auckland, New Zealand (Aotearoa), Anne (@madhmstr) took the World Kid Lit Month bingo to another level by finding a book for every single category on the 25-topic grid! 

(You can download the bingo chart here - you can do it as an individual challenge, or with friends - lots of info on the blog)

Publishers Weekly: Passports to Diversity: Educators and Students Travel the World Through Translated Texts : “Sweden’s Pippi Longstocking, Italy’s The Adventures of Pinocchio, and France’s The Little Prince and Twenty Thousand Leagues Under the Sea, plus most of the world’s beloved fairy and folk tales—and a growing number of picture books sold around the globe—are translated texts. It seems that the more you look for them, the more you will find. In celebration of books in translation and World Kit Lit Month, we spoke with three educators who are infusing their classrooms and libraries with translated texts of all kinds. With each title, they’re introducing students to diverse global perspectives and cultures, and helping promote empathy.”  

We were thrilled to see the Publishers Weekly article featuring Lori Sieling who is a K–1 special education teacher, and global picture book explorer at My Kids Read the World, where she reviews the picture books they read from around the world with the aim of helping other teachers and students read beyond borders.

Over at the Children's Lit Association, Michaela Wipond published Places Where Dreams Grow: Toward an Ecofeminist Analysis of L.M. Montgomery’s Emily of New Moon -- Epekwitk (Prince Edward Island), where Montgomery was born and set most of her novels, is located in Mi’kma’ki, the ancestral and unceded territory of the Mi’kmaq People.  

At CLA, Hiroko Kawatani discusses climate literacy in connection with Japanese animated film and its novelization, Tenki no Ko / Weathering with You (2019) by Makoto Shinkai (1973-), one of the most popular animation directors in Japan.

Retired teacher 
Chris Lovegrove reviewed Kiki's Delivery Service by Eiko Kadono, translated from Japanese by Emily Balistrieri.

An AI program in charge of the school? What or who is Anyahita? Hungarian Literature Online celebrated 
#WorldKidLitMonth with an excerpt from Hungarian author Tibor Benjámin Szabó's YA novel EPIC 2: In a Labyrinth of Minds, translated by Richard Robinson.

Translator David Warriner shared his unboxing photo of
 Lost Inside My Head: “a stunning little gem of a book about growing up with ADHD”. David’s translation of Vigg’s autobiographical picture book is published by Orca Books this October.

The Readers Club at GGGDSD College, Chandigarh, India, organised a reading circle to celebrate #WorldKidLitMonth, where they discussed the importance of children's literature in developing reading habits as well as nostalgia for children’s books read in their youth.

What next? Ready for a year of reading the world?

This is just a taster of some of the many ways children’s literature lovers (of all ages) have been exploring books for young people from beyond their borders this month. So, what if one month isn’t enough? The world is a big place to explore, after all…

If you’re inspired to keep on reading, then take a look at these resources for reading ideas:

  • World Kid Lit blog - we have book reviews every month, often combining books from multiple countries under one thematic umbrella, like many of our blog posts this month
  • Outside in World: search for translated books by country of origin
  • Global Literature in Libraries Initiative: children’s book reviews every #WorldKidLitWednesday
  • Search by book prize, including GLLI Translated YA Book Prize, ALA’s Mildred Batchelder Award, and the UK’s Yoto Carnegie awards
  • Kids Read the World: join Lori and her young children as they read their way around the world, one picture book at a time
  • Planet Picture Book: Laura Taylor and her family explore the world through picture books

Our underlying aim at World Kid Lit is to bring diverse, inclusive world literature into classrooms and libraries, and onto kids’ bookshelves. So if you have the time to volunteer in your local school, and feel inspired to talk to students about books from another country, or your reading journey, please do suggest a short talk! We have a Resources for Schools page and one for Libraries. Do check back as we’re sharing new resources all the time, including ideas for global literacy workshops and short talks about translation.

Wherever your reading takes you, happy travels!

This is the last of four posts by the World Kid Lit team this September!  Read all four posts:

It’s September! Welcome to World Kid Lit Month!

We're Almost Halfway Through World Kid Lit Month 2023!

A World of Ways to Explore World Literature for Young Readers

World Kid Lit Month 2023 - September is such a full month!

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is a literary translator working from Arabic, German and Russian in English. A passionate advocate of world literature for young people and diversity in children's publishing and education, she is co-editor of ArabKidLitNow! and Russophone Kid Lit blogs, and writes about global reading for young people at World Kid LitWords Without Borders, and World Literature Today. She also promotes language learning and creative translation for young people through her workshops in schools.

Helen Wang is a UK-based translator of children's literature from Chinese to English. Her best known translation is the novel Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, 2016. She runs the blog Chinese Books for Young Readers.


Tuesday, September 26, 2023

Want More Kid Lit News and Reviews? Here's a Round Up of 24 more from Australia!

The list is called, "25 Best Australian Children Book Blogs and Websites" and our very own SCBWI: The Blog is the very first one included (that's why you get twenty-four more!)

screen shot of the article "25 Best Australian Children Book Blogs and Websites" with SCBWI: The Blog listed at #1

It's lots of fun to explore this Australian lens on our industry... and so many books by Australian creators! 

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Wednesday, September 20, 2023

A World of Ways to Explore World Literature for Young Readers

For our third post celebrating World Kid Lit Month 2023, translator and translation activist Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp brings us up to date with the new books on the blog, and highlights some of the amazing ways readers have been celebrating #WorldKidLitMonth offline in the real world... Thank you, Ruth!

On the blog this week...

Ekram Abdelgawad explores emotional connections between YA from Palestine and Japan… “After reading Thunderbird 2 and Soul Lanterns, I realized that the protagonists, Noor and Nozomi, have things in common. They are almost the same age. They are girls who care about their communities. They suffered losses and aspired for love and affection from people around them. They are kind, smart and willing to do things to make a difference. There must be some characteristics of a girl that is destined to save the world. I think Noor and Nozomi have them.”

15 Sept: Publishing translated children’s books in Wales
Megan Farr introduces “three children’s books that have been recently translated into Welsh or English from other languages and published in Wales, importing children’s literature from French (Québec), German (Switzerland) and Latvian (Latvia). Each book was discovered in different ways, Y Lloches (L’abri/The Shelter) via a reader recommendation; Y Parsel Coch (Das rote Paket/The Red Parcel) via a translated children’s literature panel discussion and Dog Town (Maskačkas stāsts) via recommendation through Latvian Literature. All three books enrich the children’s literature in Wales, s, bringing stories of refugee bears, a parcel that spreads kindness and talking dogs that save a district from gentrification.”

Shimanto (Robin) Reza: “It is of course weird and probably illegal to judge a book by its translator. But like Tess in My Especially Weird Week with Tess, I kind of like weird, so what the heck. By the end of Anna Woltz’s middle-grade novel – brilliantly rendered into crisp and punchy English prose by Annie M.G. Schmidt translator David Colmer – you’ll know that you need to dare to do things your own way to reach others. The Starling’s Song by Octavie Wolters, Englished by the prizewinning Michele Hutchison, takes us on a winged tour of the mysteries of our world. Where the starling charms us with its lyrical wisdom, Garré and Huysmans in The Wonderful World of Water, translated by versatile non-fiction translator Anna Asbury, kindle our wonder with their scientific elegy to H2O, the humble molecule of life.”

The inaugural Translator Coordinator for SCBWI Canada East, Kelly Zhang writes: “In Chinese culture, communal living and multi-generational households have been popular and commonplace since ancient times. Even in today’s fast-paced, urbanized society with smaller core family units, parents who are busy with work regularly send their kids to the care of the grandparents. Grandmas naturally become the best friend/playmate and trusted guardian of their grandchildren, enriching their lives with love and joy as they grow up. Here is a selection of Chinese picture books that portray several such wonderful grandmas and showcase the amazing, unique ways they share their light with their families and communities.”
20 Sept: Monstrously Good Books
Elementary school teacher and globe-trotting picture book fan Lori of Kids Read the World (where they have hit 67+ countries already, with many more to come!) writes: “What comes to mind when you hear the word monster? I usually think of a scary, evil creature that is trying to do someone harm. As the picture books we’re going to look at today show us, monsters can come in many forms. However, they also show us that monsters can be defeated, even the imaginary ones, which are sometimes the scariest. These books would be great to read with fearful little ones who need a safe place to talk about what’s scaring them, as well as those who like a little suspense in their stories.”

What's happening in World Kid Lit Month 2023? Highlights from around the world!

From reading an international picture book with a small relative, to a bilingual reading in your local library, to a book thread on social media … There are a myriad of ways people are engaging with world literature for young people. You can join in any time!
Growing year on year, #WorldKidLitMonth is finding ever more fans on social media, with bookstagrammers and others exploring world literature for kids, such as in these reels from
@abc_africanbooksforchildren, and @attic.anne who shares the books she discovers while playing #WorldKidLitMonth bingo!
Libraries have been sharing pictures of their international displays and events for children, such as Orpington Library, London, where young people explored what it means for a book to be translated from another language during their #WorldKidLitMonth-themed Chatterbox book club session.

Over at Words Without Borders, translators and world kid lit aficionados Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, Kelly Zhang and Hongyu Jasmine Zhu take us on a tour of Asia with the best of translated Asian literature for young people, including picture books, middle-grade and YA fiction, and graphic novels from South Korea, China, Kazakhstan, Vietnam, Turkey, Indonesia and Japan.
This September sees the launch of a new imprint for children’s books in translation! Transit Children’s Editions is a new imprint from San Francisco-based Transit Books, highlighting bold, imaginative, visually distinctive children’s books from around the world, coming September 2023. Check out their first translations from Danish, Korean and French over at their new website.
The National Nordic Museum in Seattle hosted a #WorldKidLitMonth themed panel discussion “Bringing Nordic Children's Literature to an English Readership”. “Pippi Longstocking and the Moomins continue to be favorites among English readers young and old.” In this panel discussion hosted by Kirkus Reviews’ Laura Simeon, three children’s literature experts - Mia Spangenberg, Lotta Gavel Adams and Dr Elizabeth DeNoma - discussed “aspects that make Nordic children's literature unique as well as the challenges and opportunities for bringing Nordic children's literature to English language audiences in the current publishing climate.”
Jill! Reading Series continues its annual #WorldKidLitMonth celebration with translators’ readings, including Kelly Zhang reading from the contemporary middle-grade novel Tilted Sky by Yao Emei, which she translated from Simplified Chinese and Melody Shaw, sharing her translation of the German picture book When Dad's Hair Took Off by Jörg Mühle, and Karen Marston, sharing ‘La Forêt de Yara’ (‘Yara’s Forest’) by French author Aurore Gomez. You can find these readings on the Jill! YouTube channel, as part of their #WorldKidLit2023 Playlist.

Over in the UK, children’s newspaper The Week Junior explored children’s literature translation in an interview with children’s author, translator and World Kid Lit blog co-editor Jackie Friedman Mighdoll. “It can take a few tries to match up a Japanese sentence with English,” she writes. “Japanese has more onomatopoeia than English does. There are also expressions that wouldn’t mean much to English ears. In Japanese, a fox says ‘kon kon’ - but what does a fox say in English? Rabbits go ‘pyon pyon’, which is really the sound of the hopping!”

These are just a few of the many ways that #WorldKidLitMonth has been taken up by various communities and organizations across the English-reading world.


This is the third of four posts by the World Kid Lit team this September! Read all four posts!

It’s September! Welcome to World Kid Lit Month!

We're Almost Halfway Through World Kid Lit Month 2023!

A World of Ways to Explore World Literature for Young Readers

World Kid Lit Month 2023 - September is such a full month!

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is a literary translator working from Arabic, German and Russian in English. A passionate advocate of world literature for young people and diversity in children's publishing and education, she is co-editor of ArabKidLitNow! and Russophone Kid Lit blogs, and writes about global reading for young people at World Kid Lit, Words Without Borders, and World Literature Today. She also promotes language learning and creative translation for young people through her workshops in schools.

Helen Wang is a UK-based translator of children's literature from Chinese to English. Her best known translation is the novel Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, 2016. She runs the blog Chinese Books for Young Readers.


Tuesday, September 19, 2023

The Chilling Effect of All These Book Bans - School Library Journal Releases Their 2023 Censorship Report

screen shot of the School Library Journal article, "Book Challenges Are Having a Chilling Effect on School Librarians Nationwide | SLJ Survey"

It's not just about the titles that get called out, or have their out-of-context salacious bits read aloud at public hearings. It's about the overall chilling effect of the challenges and bans that make librarians hesitant to bring in any other books that might be challenged -- and this directly impacts books that represent communities that traditionally have been under-represented, especially Black and LGBTQIA2+ communities.

As the lead paragraphs of the article by Marlaina Cockcroft that sums up the results of  SLJ’s 2023 Controversial Books Survey read:

“The surge in book challenges nationwide is having a chilling effect on school librarians, who are more likely to avoid buying books or to remove titles from collections because of their content than they were last year...

“Thirty-seven percent of librarians said book challenges influenced their purchasing decisions for the library, up from 27 percent in 2022, an effect that spans all grade levels. Twenty-four percent of respondents said they’d experienced harassment over books or displays in their library.”

The article -- and report -- are well-worth reading.

Illustrate, Translate, and Write On,

Wednesday, September 13, 2023

We're Almost Halfway Through World Kid Lit Month 2023!

Time flies! We’re almost halfway through #WorldKidLitMonth 2023! More and more people and organisations are joining in, and it’s brilliant to see #WorldKidLitMonth on social media, in the news, in the press, on the radio. If you’re new to World Kid Lit Month, we recommend jumping into our website and having a good nosy around. When something catches your attention, keep going, follow the links and see where it takes you. Enjoy!

Here’s a quick run through of our blog posts so far this month!

WKL team: However old you are, this is the month to explore the world by the kid lit express. Children’s and YA books are for everyone, and we can think of no better way to explore the world beyond our borders and beyond our own language.
Paula Holmes: I always find it interesting what brings joy. For me, maps have that gift. Any type, atlases, historical maps, folded maps, huge maps on floors. I am extremely partial to ones in books. Maybe my love of maps comes from a childhood of seeing the world through library books.  A map in a book, whether based on fact or fiction, brings incredible excitement as it puts me into the story, I am the navigator! A map can tell a story of a journey between two kingdoms, demonstrate the topography of a small city that was devastated by a tsunami, or describe the story of one intersection in Seoul, South Korea through generations of tailors. 

Georgia Wall: I have a vivid memory of Mrs. Mills, my owl-like primary school teacher, telling me in Reception class that the first time you hold a book you should always take time to sniff it out and maybe, secretly, taste it. What a fun, wonderful way to encourage everyone to try picking up a book! In this post I wanted to share a few of my favourite stories that also appeal to a range of senses and I hope, readers: books that invite you to pronounce words in a different language, that encourage you to grab a crayon or come up with your own creative response; books that beg to be touched and smelled and devoured over and over. If you’re also a book-smeller I hope you’ll find something you love!

Jackie Friedman Mighdoll: My kids love math – numbers, patterns, logic, coding! Since they were little, I’ve looked for stories that naturally include math concepts. There are plenty of counting books out there, but we’ve found the best math books do more than just count. They provide a variety of ways to engage young listeners and make them think – about the numbers and more. Today I highlight one classic and two new math picture books from Japan, Norway, and India.

Ayo Oyeku: Africa is not a country. It's a continent comprised of over fifty countries blessed with different languages, landscapes, rivers, national treasures, cultures, traditions, and shades of brown and black. In the popular tale of the blind men and an elephant, we are treated to a funny yet riveting story of how each blind man described the elephant based on which part they touched. Africa, often times, is like the proverbial elephant. In this review, we will be taking a journey across East, West and South Africa. Leaning on beautifully told and generously crafted stories for children. With the eye of the protagonist, we will explore what childhood means to children across Africa.

Charlotte Graver: Discussing topics such as war, conflict and societal upheaval with children can be difficult, with many opting to tell their children as little as possible to preserve their innocence and others choosing to ignore the topic all together. Whilst each approach should be respected, the problem with allowing this topic to become a taboo is that it does not reflect contemporary society wherein the effects of war are ever present. // It is therefore a good idea to gently introduce the topic to children from a young age, and literature can be the perfect vehicle to help achieve this. From autobiographically reflecting upon the events of war to hypothetically outlining its causes, books can help guide us in raising such a complex topic.

12 Sept: Girl Power!
Catherine Leung: My daughter has always enjoyed reading stories with strong female characters, even from a very young age, and one of her early favourites was the story of Chinese legendary folk heroine Mulan, who she admired in a picture book long before ever watching the Disney film. Even before she could read, she looked at the pictures so much the pages are now all falling out! // Strong female protagonists – whether they challenge stereotypes, are powerful, dreamy, funny, clumsy, flawed, independent thinkers, or possess an unusual talent – all have the power to inspire the next generation of readers as soon as they are old enough to hold a book!

Pinned to the top of the blog throughout the year is:

The 2023 List: Children’s and YA Books in Translation

WKL team: Here at Project World Kid Lit, we keep track of published translations for young readers. Here’s the 2023 list. // We compile this list to help readers find translated children’s & young adult books from around the world, whether it’s for a school or family reading project, or to celebrate #WorldKidLitMonth in September. It's arranged by publisher. // This year, so far, we know of over 200 books translated into English from 26 languages: Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, French, German, Hebrew, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Latvian, Lithuanian, Norwegian, Portuguese, Russian, Slovenian, Spanish, Swedish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Vietnamese. // If you know of any titles we’re missing, please send us the details. (We’re looking for children’s and YA titles publishing in 2023, that were translated into English from any language, anywhere).

This is the second of four posts by the World Kid Lit team this September! Read all four posts!

It’s September! Welcome to World Kid Lit Month!

We're Almost Halfway Through World Kid Lit Month 2023!

A World of Ways to Explore World Literature for Young Readers

World Kid Lit Month 2023 - September is such a full month!

Helen Wang is a UK-based translator of children's literature from Chinese to English. Her best known translation is the novel Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, winner of the Hans Christian Andersen Award, 2016. She runs the blog Chinese Books for Young Readers.