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.


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