Now we have a tradition going, this is our 2019 list of children’s books published worldwide in English translation from other languages.
We would love your help with this! Please send us any omissions or corrections via email or Twitter @worldkidlit.
So far our list includes books translated from Arabic, Bengali, Catalan, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Hebrew, Hungarian, Indonesian, Italian, Japanese, Latvian, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Spanish and Swedish, but we’re sure there are so many more still to include.
We include English translations of children’s and YA fiction, non-fiction and poetry, graphic novels and picture books: from any language, published anywhere in the world. Blurbs are taken from publishers’ websites unless stated otherwise.
The aim is to finish this list to share with booksellers, librarians and teachers, and you readers and lovers of #worldkidlit, by the end of July – well in advance of September, so you can get shopping in time to celebrate #WorldKidLitMonth with us!
IDA AND THE WHALE by Rebecca Gugger, illustrated by Simon Röthlisberger, translator not known (NorthSouth, March 2019) [From German, Switzerland]
What lies behind the sun, the moon, and the stars?
Ida can’t stop thinking about these and other very important questions. Then one night, a flying whale wakes her and takes her on an amazing journey—where some of her questions are answered and even more created.
This gentle, philosophical tale is a visual treat sure to fill curious little listeners with wonder.
A STORY THAT GROWS by Gilles Bachelet, translator not known (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, February 2019) [from French]
In this funny yet tender book, a stork reads to her chick in their rooftop nest, a walrus tucks his calf into an igloo cradle, and an alien tells his child a story in zero gravity. A whimsical bedtime book perfect for sharing
WHEN IT RAINS, story and illustrations by Rassi Narika, translated by Ikhda Ayuning Maharsi Degoul and Emma Wright (The Emma Press, March 2019) [Indonesia]
Kira always feels gloomy when it rains. She can’t read outside, can’t play in the park, and has to wear all her thickest clothes.
But one day her friends Ana and Ilo ask her to join them on an adventure outside during another downpour. Kira discovers the joy of all the things that happen outside when it rains – from the new friends she makes, to the umbrellas on the streets, to the thrill of lightning, and finally, the warmth found at the end of each rainfall.
With her delightful artwork and enchanting words, Rassi Narika spins a story of hope and discovery that will brighten even the rainiest of days.
VANISHING COLORS by Constance Ørbeck Nilssen, illustrated by Alain Duzakin, translated by Kari Dickson (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, March 2019) [Norway]
A haunting, poignant story about refugees
As a young girl and her mother take shelter for the night in their war-torn city, the whole world appears muted and dark. When the girl wakes in the middle of the night to find a bird watching her, she knows it’s the one from her mother’s stories, who flies down from the mountains to protect people from harm. She tells the bird what her what her life used to be like, before the war and destruction—she describes her favorite dress, the open market stalls, her dad playing music on the roof. As she continues to remember, colors slowly seep back into her life, and with them comes the courage to hope for a new beginning.
This evocative story is a wonderful conversation starter about an important and timely topic.
ENCYCLOPEDIA OF GRANNIES by Eric Veillé, translated by Daniel Hahn (Gecko Press, out March 2019) [France]
Eric Veillé explains it all in this offbeat book for the extended family to chuckle over–no matter what kind of grandma you have, are, or would like to be. From the author of My Pictures after the Storm, which received three starred reviews and which School Library Journal proclaimed “may be the funniest book of the year.”
THE BLUE BENCH by Alberto Asensio, translated from Catalan by Michael Sedunary (Berbay Publishing, Australia, out March 2019) [Original Catalan version: El banco azul]
The blue bench in the park is a silent witness to people falling in love, friendships forming, others saying goodbye.
Across the seasons; across the years; across generations: the only constant is the blue bench. This gentle story encourages mindfulness – the art of being present to what is – and speaks to the cycles of life and the wonder of finding out that it’s possible to go back and start again.
THE BIG LITTLE THING by Beatrice Alemagna, translated by Daniel Hahn (Tate, UK, out March 2019) [Original French version: La gigantesque petite chose]
`IT ARRIVED ONE MORNING WHEN NO-ONE WAS LOOKING’ It unexpectedly arrived. It brushed past someone in the street. It weaves its way in and out of people on the street. It catches people completely unaware. But what is this It? They call It . . . happiness!
A beautiful new book from award-winning illustrator and author Beatrice Alemagna that explores the wonderful way that happiness enters our lives and changes the way we look at the world.
BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! by Przemyslaw Wechterowicz, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Salariya, March 2019)
This is the rhyming story of two gorillas and their human chums dancing through the jungle and into a city as they’re joined by other dancing animals and people who can’t help but feel the rhythm of their song.
The vibrant and lively illustrations are inspired by African art and the rhythmic text with its musical refrains and repetitions is ideal for young readers to use to practise their early literacy skills.
SWEET DREAMERS by Isabelle Simler, translated by Sarah Ardizzone (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, 26 March 2019) [from French]
From the celebrated creator of Plume and The Blue Hour comes another enchanting animal book. Countless cozy animals are settling in for the night, but they all sleep in different ways. A bat dreams upside down, a hedgehog snuggles into a pile of leaves, and a humpback whale spins in its sleep like a ballerina.
With its poetic language and lush illustrations, Sweet Dreamers will dazzle young readers as they drift off to sleep themselves.
THE DOT, by Gulnar Hajo, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (Darf Children’s Books, out 8 April 2019) [Syria, translated from Arabic]
This is the story of a dot that got bored of sitting in the same place for ages without anything to do. So, it got up and started moving around. And that was when the fun started…
Syrian author Gulnar Hajo takes us on a playful journey about shapes. Through charming illustrations and sharp storyline, Hajo explores how the universe is constructed from dots, lines and shapes, and how they work harmoniously to create.
Originally published in Arabic by Bright Fingers, a publishing house she co-founded with her husband, Samer al-Kadri, in Syria in 2004, this is first time Hajo’s work has been published in English.
NOUR’S ESCAPE by Abeer Ali Al Kabani, illustrated by Gulnar Hajo, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (Darf Children’s Books, out 8 April 2019) [Syria, from Arabic]
This is the story of Nour, a little girl who didn’t have a family or a home. She lived on the street somewhere far away and long ago. Sadly, when you’re the main character in a book, you can’t escape from your story and go off and find a happier life. Or can you?
WHAT IF… by Thierry Lenain, illustrated by Olivier Tallec, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books, out 30 April 2019) [France]
What if it was the child who decided to be born? Here, from the belly of his mother, now round like an island, a child looks out at the world. Despite all of the trouble and heartache, he decides to be born, strong in his belief that he can help make the world a better place. Stunningly illustrated by Olivier Tallec, with strong colors and sketchy lines, WHAT IF… is a book that gives us a sense of purpose in being born, reminding us that our task is caring for the world and for each other.
THE SECRET CAT by Katarina Strömgård, translator unknown (Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, May 2019) [original Swedish: En hemlig katt]
Lucy wants a pet more than anything, even though her mom always says no. But one night, Lucy hears a scratching sound from behind her wallpaper, and a ghostly cat named Silvring appears. Silvring takes Lucy on an adventure and introduces her to a world filled with secret pets just like hers. Not all the secret pets are as friendly as Silvring, though.
Filled with magical realism, this beautiful book will resonate with animal lovers of all ages.
NOT WITHOUT MY TRACTOR! by Finn-Ole Heinrich and Dita Zipfel & illustrated by Halina Kirschner (Little Island, 6 June 2019) [Germany]
Tractor can do anything – move mountains, squash traffic jams, do the school run, act as a guard dog and dig swimming pools. If you’re moving from the country to the city, a tractor is the perfect pal! But our hero’s parents just don’t see it the way we do.
This hilarious book follows the lively and funny argument between parent and child about whether or not their beloved tractor can come to the big city. With every reason the adult gives, the child replies with a brilliantly imaginative response. Playful, unconventional, and with a mysterious twist, this is a story for kids who love tractors – and that’s all kids, right?
DUMPSTER DOG by Colas Gutman, illustrated by Marc Boutavant, translated by Allison M. Charette and Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books, out 11 June 2019) [France]
His name is Dumpster Dog. He sleeps outside, walks himself, and eats whatever he wants, whenever he wants. But a life outdoors isn’t everything—Dumpster Dog needs a friend. So begins Dumpster Dog’s search for a human companion. But he will soon learn that finding a good owner isn’t as easy as it sounds, and that the world can be a dangerous place.
SPIKY by Ilaria Guarducci, translated by Laura Watkinson (Amazon Crossing Kids, out July 2019) [Italy]
Spiky lives in the dark of the forest, where he spends his days being very, very bad, bullying the other forest creatures and sharpening the spikes on his body. Those spikes are handy for keeping everybody at a distance, and that’s just how Spiky likes it! But then one day the unthinkable happens: Spiky starts losing his spikes! Soon he is left looking as soft and as pink as a soft, pink marshmallow. What will Spiky do, now that he can no longer scare away the other forest creatures? Will he have to (gulp!) make friends? It’s a good thing Bernardo the bunny comes along to show him how it’s done.
SNOOZIE, SUNNY, AND SO-SO by Dafna Ben-Zvi, illustrated by Ofra Amit, translated by Annette Appel (Enchanted Lion Books, out 26 August 2019) [Israel]
What do you do when you’re feeling so-so? Do you curl up in a ball or talk with a friend? Snoozie is a cat who doesn’t like moving. Sunny is a dog who’s afraid of the rain. They’re very different, but they are the best of friends. One day, while out on their morning walk, they meet a small, timid dog who has been feeling “so-so” for quite some time. How will this chance encounter change all their lives? Snoozie, Sunny, and So-So written by Dafna Ben-zvi, illustrated by Ofra Amit, and translated from Hebrew by Annette Appel, is a delightful story about friendship and the trust and liveliness it brings.
A TIGER LIKE ME by Michael Engler, illustrated by Joëlle Tourlonias and translated by Laura Watkinson (Amazon Crossing Kids, September 2019) [Germany]
A little boy—um, no, a tiger!—tells us all about what he gets up to on an ordinary day: how he wakes up in his tiger den, what he eats for breakfast at his feeding spot, and how little tigers feel when they are wide awake, hungry, thirsty, or in the mood for adventures. But at night, even the wildest of tigers is happy to curl up in bed with Tiger-Mom and Tiger-Dad and become a cuddly little tiger cub.
Who Stole the Hazelnuts? by Marcus Pfister, translator not named (NorthSouth, September 2019)
The peace and quiet of the forest are shattered by a scream. Someone has stolen the squirrel’s three hazelnuts! Who could have committed such a terrible crime? The squirrel begins his investigation, and no one is above suspicion.
LIFE AS A MINI HERO by Olivier Tallec, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books, out 10 September 2019) [France]
Clad in bright suits that bespeak their daring deeds, these mini heroes live their daily lives assailed by all sorts of difficulty and disaster. Whether jumping rope on the playground, eating towers of ice-cream, or hanging upside-down from the ceiling, they are never short of plans and prospects! Sometimes, it’s true, they have to pause, which may be the greatest challenge of all.
ALONG THE TAPAJÓS by Fernando Vilela, translated by Daniel Hahn (Amazon Crossing Kids, out September 2019) [Brazil]
Cauã and Inaê are a brother and sister who live in a small community along the Tapajós River in Brazil. Here, the homes are on stilts and everyone travels around by boat—even to school! When the rainy season comes, they must leave their village and relocate to higher ground for a while. But after moving this year, Cauã and Inaê realize they’ve left behind something important: their pet tortoise, Titi! Unlike turtles, tortoises can’t swim, and Cauã and Inaê are really worried. So the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river to rescue him. Will they be able to save Titi?
This picture book, first published in Brazil, offers kids a unique look into the lives of children who live along Brazil’s beautiful Tapajós River.
CHIRRI & CHIRRA, ON THE TOWN by Kaya Doi, translated by David Boyd (Enchanted Lion Books, out 17 Sep 2019) [Japan]
In this fifth book of perhaps the most charming series ever, Chirri and Chirra venture down forest paths and through alleyways into a yarn shop and an old woman’s house, where they enjoy hot drinks and soup. When they’re done, they find a wonderful surprise hidden in the branches of a tree. Memorable for Doi’s luminous appreciation of the natural world as well as her respect for beautiful edibles, this new installment is sure to delight!
THE GOLDEN CAGE, by Anna Castagnoli and Carll Cneut, translated by Laura Watkinson (Book Island, 26 Sep 2019) [Italy]
Valentina the emperor’s daughter is an obsessive collector of exotic birds. Her servants track down every bird she desires – just one remains unfound: a bird that talks. Servants search far and wide to fulfill her impossible quest – and she beheads those who fail. In Valentina’s palace, heads roll every day! Will the golden cage ever be filled?
A deliciously dark European fairy tale with words as rich as its bold and luxurious illustrations.
The Revenge of the Black Cat: Swiss Myths by Katja Alves, various illustrators, translator not known (NorthSouth Books, 1 Oct 2019)
In this collection, Katja Alves retells some traditional Swiss myths–exciting, funny, and sometimes gruesome tales from all four regions of the country.
Illustrated by 19 young Swiss illustrators: Anda, Carole Aufranc, Silvan Borer, Paloma Canonica, Anna Deér, Lucie Fiore, Gregor Forster, Lea Gross, Sara Guerra Rusconi, Mira Gysi, Rina Jost, Patricia Keller, Rahel Messerli, Jakob Näf, Camille Perrochet, Eliane Schädler, Pia Valär, Adam Vogt, and Anna Weber.
OSCAR SEEKS A FRIEND by Paweł Pawlak translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones (Lantana Publishing, October 2019) [Poland]
What if you could turn the world the other way around and take a peek at what’s on the other side? Perhaps you’ll find something you never expected. Such as friendship. The sad little skeleton on the cover of this book might not look very promising, but when Oscar meets a lonely little girl, it’s the start of an adventure for both of them. Together they make an unusual journey to two very different worlds, each beautiful and necessary. And it all begins when the little girl’s tooth falls out… A perfect and unusual book for Halloween.
Snow for Everyone! by Antonie Schneider, illustrated by Pei-Yu Chang, translator not known (NorthSouth Books, 1 October 2019)
Jerusalem is a special place. It brings people together–and rarely snows.When one day it does snow, three friends have a playful debate about who the snow belongs to. When they ask some of the most trusted people in their community, they have a great surprise: the priest, the rabbi, and the imam all say the same thing.
Here is a joyful story about sharing–and how we are more similar than different.
A child grows and discovers the world. As he lies awake at night, he sees there’s enough room in the sky for all the stars and the moon. When he visits the ocean, he sees there is enough room for all the fish, even for the whales. As he grows up, he doesn’t understand why people fight for space. Surely, if we are kinder to one another, there will always be room for everyone?
This is a beautiful and profound picture book ― a testament of our time and a touching allegory for war and the refugee crisis. * Book trailer video here *
Are you lost? Come in! You’re in luck–there’s no one here just now. Shhh… Be as quiet as you can, and very, very careful!
In The House of Madame M, we explore a strange house: hallway, living room, kitchen, bathroom and bedroom. Each room is full of surprises to make even the bravest shiver. Are we in the house of an ogre? A witch? Something else altogether?
This visit to Madame M’s brings the thrill of finding what lurks in the wardrobe, behind the door, tucked under the furniture. Full of humor and detail, it will mesmerize readers of all ages.
MERRY CHRISTMAS, DUMPSTER DOG! by Colas Gutman, illustrated by Marc Boutavant, translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Enchanted Lion Books, out 5 November 2019) [France]
It’s Christmas once again. But this year, Dumpster Dog and Flat Cat have decided they’re going to celebrate in a house instead of their trash can! But can they find a home for Christmas? Enter the Noël family. Dumpster Dog scratches at their door, which is opened by the young Marie. How wonderful, she thinks, to finally have a disgustingly dumpy dog to leave under the tree for my brother. With that, she opens the door!
FRIDA AND ARTHUR THE DRAGON IN FRANCE by Tatjana Pregl Kobe, illustrated by Tina Dobrajc, translated by Suncan Stone (Cranachan, April 2019)
Fly to France with Frida and Arthur the Dragon in this exquisite narrative nonfiction picture book for 8-12s.
THE GHOUL by Taghreed Najjar, illustrated by Hassan Manasrah, translated from Arabic by Michel Moushabeck (Crocodile/Interlink)
TALES FROM THE HIDDEN VALLEY: UNDER THE WATER by Carles Porta, translated by Lawrence Schimel (Flying Eye Books (UK), out 1 May 2019) [Spain]
Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it… Spring has arrived, and our friends of the hidden valley are celebrating in musical style! Mister Cold and his band of friends have played and danced their way to the Garden of Fairies and all the way to the Ogre’s house. When Mister Cold suddenly disappears, and the gang find themselves in a spooky part of the woods, they fear the worst… until a new instrument joins their tune!
TALES FROM THE HIDDEN VALLEY: THE BAND by Carles Porta, translated by Lawrence Schimel (Flying Eye Books (UK), out 1 Jun 2019) [Spain]
Hidden in a remote place surrounded by high mountains, there lies a secret valley. There is an entrance, but you could pass by it a hundred times and still not see it…
It’s finally summer, and our friends from the hidden valley are gearing up for a dreamy summer afternoon! When a new, watery friend appears, Ticky, Mister Cold and the rest of the pals explore an exciting new underwater world. But a great monster lurks beneath the surface, and our joyous friends sure are causing quite a fuss! Will they be able to escape its terrible jaws? These are the last 2 in the 4-part series by Carles Porta. The first two were THE ARTISTS and HELLO MISTER COLD , both translated from Spanish by Daniel Hahn. There’s a lovely interview with Carles Porta on the Flying Eye Books website.
ARNICA, THE DUCK PRINCESS by Lázár Ervin, translated by Anna Bentley (Pushkin Children’s, out February 2019) [Hungary]
Princess Arnica is so sweet and gentle that when she smiles even wolves and bears forget their fierceness. Everyone loves her, but she loves only Poor Johnny. Luckily, he loves her too, and even more luckily she has a very sensible king for a father, who is happy for her to marry whomever her heart desires. So, no problems then?
Well, maybe just one – The Witch with a Hundred Faces has cast a spell on Arnica and Johnny which means that one of them, at any one time, must always be a duck, and the other human! Who can help them? Only the Seven headed Fairy. Will they be able to find her? You’ll just have to read the book and find out!
BROWN by Håkon Øvreås, illustrated by Øyvind Torseter, translated by Kari Dickson (Enchanted Lion Books, out 4 June 2019)[Norway]
Dressed in brown pants, a black-and-brown striped shirt, a brown mask and cape, and his mother’s brown belt, the superhero BROWN is born! Guided by his grandfather’s ghost, two cans of paint, and a little help from his friends, Brown can do anything! Just as long as nobody’s parents find out. The fantastical first book in the award-winning My Alter Ego Is A Superhero series from Norway, Brown has been sold into twenty-seven languages and is illustrated throughout by the now-familiar and beloved Øyvind Torseter.
LAMPIE AND THE CHILDREN OF THE SEA by Annet Schaap, translated by Laura Watkinson (Pushkin Children’s, out 30 May 2019) [NETHERLANDS]
Every evening Lampie the lighthouse keeper’s daughter must light a lantern to warn ships away from the rocks. But one stormy night disaster strikes. The lantern goes out, a ship is wrecked and an adventure begins.
In disgrace, Lampie is sent to work as a maid at the Admiral’s Black House, where rumour has it that a monster lurks in the tower. But what she finds there is stranger and more beautiful than any monster. Soon Lampie is drawn into a fairytale adventure in a world of mermaids and pirates, where she must fight with all her might for friendship, freedom and the right to be different.
FING’S WAR by Benny Lindelauf, translated by John Nieuwenhuizen (Enchanted Lion Books, out 11 June 2019) [The Netherlands, trans. from Dutch]
Poised to win a scholarship to the nearby teachers college, Fing has high hopes. It’s 1938 and her poor family of nine—one father, four brothers, three sisters, and a grandmother—has finally managed to eke out a living in the tiny cigar factory abutting their dilapidated home. But smelling success, her dreamer of a father is determined to expand and Fing’s dreams fall apart when she instead has to go to work for the Cigar Emperor, taking care of his new, German wife’s eccentric niece. The novel’s gripping language, enriched by Yiddish, German, and Dutch dialect, plunges the reader into the world of a large, colorful, motherless family as they navigate the changes World War II visits upon their little town on the border of the Netherlands and Germany. This stand-alone follow-up to Nine Open Arms, a 2015 Batchelder Honor book translated from Dutch, is a fantasy, a historical novel, and literary fiction all wrapped into one.
NOBODY CAN STOP DON CARLO, by Oliver Scherz, tr. Deirdre McMahon (Dedalus Press, out 15 Aug 2019) [Germany]
Carlo misses his father. His parents are separated, he is with his mother in Germany while his father is back in their native Palermo. His father is always about to visit but somehow never quite gets to Germany. Carlo gets tired of waiting and decides to do something about it and sets off for Palermo but without any money to pay his fare. What happens is a series of adventures when anything that could go wrong does but Carlo despite everything gets to Palermo. He finds his father who has a new partner and it is clear his family will never be reunited. There is no happy ending and Carlo is sent back to Germany to be reunited with his mother Carlo has learnt a lot about life and the adult world. The fat little boy accepts the life he has and comes to term with his reality. It is a story which will strike a chord with many readers as they take Carlo into their hearts.
DO FISH SLEEP? by Jens Raschke, illustrated by Jens Rassmus, translated by Belinda Cooper (Enchanted Lion Books, out 3 September 2019) [Germany]
Some people die when they’re very old, and some when they’re only in single digits. One thing’s for certain: none of us escape it. Sick since even before Jette can remember, her brother Emil now has died. The feelings that losing him evoke in her are huge and confusing. Most simply, it feels as though a dark raincloud has descended over her family. And then there’s the ridiculous fact that nobody seems to know what happens after you die, and yet adults often talk as if they do. Told in the first-person voice of a wry, observant 10-year-old girl, Do Fish Sleep? by Jens Raschke is an honest, darkly funny look into loss, memory, and the search for answers. Originally performed as a one-girl play, Do Fish Sleep? was a breakout success at the box office, and received both the 2012 Mülheimer Children’s Theater Prize and the 2014 MDR Children’s Radio Play Prize. Do Fish Sleep? has been a best-seller in Germany since publication and has been translated into several languages.
The Dark and the Light by Kerstin Hau, illustrated by Julie Voelk, translator not known (NorthSouth Books, 3 Sep 2019)
In the land of darkness lives a shaggy but lovable creature.
He is pining away because he has lost his home and has lived in the dark ever since. One day, the shaggy creature is overcome with curiosity and ventures out to the edge of the darkness. There, bathed in sunlight and bright colors, lives a very different and gentle creature. The two inhabitants of these different world become friends, and with his new friend, the shaggy creature overcomes his loss and finds his way back to the world of color.
A quietly poetic story, told by Kerstin Hau, which gives hope and courage in difficult times. With contrasting imagery by Julie Völk, this book shows that life can be light, colorful, black, grey, and everything in between.
THE MAGIC STORY SHOP by Katja Frixe, illustrated by Florentine Prechtel, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp (Rock the Boat, out 3 Oct 2019) [Germany]
The story shop is Clara’s favourite place in the whole world. Her good friends, Gustaf the rhyming cat and Mr King the talking mirror, are always here to share a joke or give her good advice. Mrs Owl always has a perfect book to match her mood as well as the yummiest chocolate cakes in town. But when someone tries to take away Mr King and tricks Mrs Owl, the bookshop is in danger. Clara and her family and friends must find a way to help Mrs Owl and save her shop.
TELEPHONE TALES by Gianni Rodari, illustrated by Valerio Vidali, translated by Anthony Shugaar (Enchanted Lion Books, out 8 October 2019) [Italy]
Reminiscent of Scheherazade and One Thousand and One Nights, Gianni Rodari’s Telephone Tales is many stories within a story. Every night, a traveling father must finish a bedtime story in the time that a single coin will buy. One night, it’s a carousel that adults cannot comprehend, but whose operator must be some sort of magician, the next, it’s a land filled with butter men who melt in the sunshine! Awarded the Hans Christian Anderson Award in 1970, Gianni Rodari is widely considered to be Italy’s most important children’s author of the 20th century. Newly re-illustrated by Italian artist Valerio Vidali (The Forest), Telephone Tales entertains, while questioning and imagining other worlds.
TEEN / YOUNG ADULT
I REMEMBER ABBU by Humayun Azad, illustrated by Sabyasachi Mistry, translated from Bengali by Arunava Sinha (Amazon Crossing)
GHADY AND RAWAN, Fatima Sharafeddine and Samar Mahfouz Barraj, translated by Marcia Lynx Qualey and Sawad Hussain (University of Texas Press, out 1 Aug 2019) [Lebanon; from Arabic]
The close-knit friendship of two Lebanese teenagers, Ghady, who lives with his family in Belgium, and Rawan, who lives in Lebanon. Ghady’s family travels every summer to Beirut, where Ghady gets to spend all his time with Rawan and their other friends, enjoying their freedom from school. During the rest of the year, he and Rawan keep in touch by email. Through this correspondence, we learn about the daily ups and downs of their lives in Brussels and Beirut, including Ghady’s homesickness and his struggles with racism at school, as well as Rawan’s changing relationship to her family. The novel offers a glimpse into the lives of Lebanese adolescents while exploring a range of topics relevant to young people everywhere: bullying, parental conflicts, racism, belonging and identity, and peer pressure. Through the connection between the two main characters, Sharafeddine and Mahfouz Barraj show how the love and support of a good friend can help you through difficulties as well as sweeten life’s triumphs and good times.
ALMA by Judit Berg, translated by Richard Robinson (Quality Chess UK LLP, 2019) [Hungary]
Judit Berg is an award-winning, best-selling children’s author from Hungary. In Alma, with the help of Judit Polgar, the best female chess player of all time, she shares the magic of chess with the readers in an exciting adventure story.
COLLISION by Victor Dixen, translated by Daniel Hahn (Hot Key Books, out April 2019) [France]
The third book in a heartstopping, high-octane new space series. Perfect for fans of Veronica Roth, Suzanne Collins, Amie Kaufman and Lauren Oliver.
The Genesis Programme reality TV show has brought twelve young astronauts to Mars, to face unprecedented hostility. An even greater danger is now threatening Earth, but the viewers are too glued to their screens and the rescue mission to see what is really happening.
Leonor is ready to risk everything to bring out the truth and warn the world. She can never admit defeat – but can she fight her last fight alone?
TREES FOR THE ABSENTEES, by Ahlam Bsharat, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Sue Copeland (Neem Tree Press, out 12 September 2019) [Palestine; from Arabic]
Young love, meddling relatives, heart-to-hearts with friends real and imagined – Philistia’s world is that of an ordinary university student, except that in occupied Palestine, and when your father is in indefinite detention, nothing is straightforward. Philistia is closest to her childhood, and to her late grandmother and her imprisoned father, when she’s at her part-time job washing women’s bodies at the ancient Ottoman hammam in Nablus, the West Bank. A midwife and corpse washer in her time, Grandma Zahia taught Philistia the ritual ablutions and the secrets of the body: the secrets of life and death. On the brink of adulthood, Philistia embarks on a journey through her country’s history – a magical journey, and one of loss and centuries of occupation. As trees are uprooted around her, Philistia searches for a place of refuge, a place where she can plant a memory for the ones she’s lost.
CASTLE IN THE CLOUDS by Kerstin Gier, translated by Romy Fursland (Macmillan) [German] [Possibly out in January 28, 2020
Way up in the Swiss mountains, there’s an old grand hotel steeped in tradition and faded splendor. Once a year, when the famous New Year’s Eve Ball takes place and guests from all over the world arrive, excitement returns to the vast hallways.
Sophie, who works at the hotel as an intern, is busy making sure that everything goes according to plan. But unexpected problems keep arising, and some of the guests are not who they pretend to be. Very soon, Sophie finds herself right in the middle of a perilous adventure—and at risk of losing not only her job, but also her heart.
Maresi Red Mantle by Maria Turtschaninoff, translated by AA Prime (Pushkin Press UK / Abrams USA) [Swedish from Finland]
The Beast Player by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano (Pushkin Press) [Japan]
THE FLOPS by Delphine Durand, translated by Sarah Klinger and Delphine Durand (Enchanted Lion Books, out 16 July 2019) [France]
A book full of advice about how not to make a flop’s life hard! What is a flop? A flop is malleable, can’t make a telephone call on its own, can’t wear a collar, and many other things besides. There are also hundreds of different sorts of flops. In a humorous, pseudo-scientific guide, Delphine Durand creates a world teeming with flops, describing their characteristics and lifestyles with great humor and precision
A HISTORY OF THE WORLD WITH THE WOMEN PUT BACK IN by Kerstin Lücker and Ute Daenschel, translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Jessica West (The History Press, out 16 Sep 2019) [Switzerland; German]
We’ve all heard of Cleopatra and Lucrezia Borgia and Joan of Arc. What about those women who made history who we may not have ever heard of? The Chinese empress Wu Zetian, who helped spread Buddhism through China, the Byzantine empress Theodora, originally a circus artist, or Mathilde of Canossa, one of the most powerful women in the Middle Ages. We learn about these women and more, from the Suffragettes and Ada Lovelace through to Margaret Hamilton, who wrote the Apollo moon landing guidance software and was only recognised decades later. This book tells the history of the world – with a difference. It reminds us that throughout the ages there were generations of unsung women: their place in history, whether minor or major, has often been underplayed and forgotten. It’s a book to read together with your children, or for intelligent adults to read for themselves to broaden their understanding of history and how we record and understand the events that happened around the world.
Wilhelm’s Journey, by Anke Bär, translator not known (NorthSouth, 3 Sept 2019)
When a young child finds her great-great grandfather Wilhelm’s journal detailing his voyage across the Atlantic as an emigrant sailing from Bremerhaven, Germany to America in 1872, she is transported back in time.
The journal entries capture young Wilhelm’s hopes of escaping poverty, the adventure and poignancy of leaving behind all that is familiar, the wonders of life on the open sea, the work of the sailors, the daily struggles of sleeping in steerage, sea sickness, insect infestations, and boredom, but also the children’s games and sense of community on board. And finally, the big day comes as the Columbia reaches the port of New York!
GREEK MYTHS AND MAZES by Jan Bajtlik, translated by Zosia Krasodomska-Jones (Candlewick Press, October 2019) [Poland]
Discover the legendary labyrinths and mythologized mazes of ancient Greece in a beautifully designed book of paths and stories. Each turn of a page lands the reader in a new and exciting Greek classic through which to chart a path, learning along the way. From the twelve labors of Heracles to the labyrinth of the Minotaur, from the trials of Odysseus to the Colossus of Rhodes, illustrations present ancient stories as new and puzzling quests to complete. Packed with intricate details and plenty of information about the history and mythology of ancient Greece, this tome will astound explorers and inquisitive minds of all ages. In the vein of the best-selling Maps, this brilliant oversize maze book invites readers to get lost among the twists and turns of beloved Greek myths.
CAN YOU HEAR THE TREES TALKING? by Peter Wohlleben, translated by Shelley Tanaka (Greystone Kids, 1 October 2019) [Germany]
Did you know that trees have parents, and tree grandparents with wrinkles? That tree kids go to school for hundreds of years? That there is such a thing as the forest internet? And that trees make us healthy and strong. Sometimes, even trees get sick, but we can help them heal.
Can You Hear the Trees Talking? shares the mysteries and magic of the forest in language kids will love and understand.
The Other Side: Stories of Central American Teen Refugees Who Dream of Crossing the Border by Juan Pablo Villalobos translated by Rosalind Harvey (Farrar, Straus and Giroux) [Central America]
SUPER GUPPY by Edward van de Vendel, illustrated by Fleur van der Weel, translated by David Colmer (The Emma Press, out 30 May 2019) [Netherlands]
From puddles to plasters to pets, the poems in Super Guppy stay close to home… but it’s a home full of fun, curiosity and adventure.
POEMS THE WIND BLEW IN by Karmelo C. Iribarren, translated by Lawrence Schimel (The Emma Press, Sept 2019) [Spanish?]
This is one of the titles funded by the Arts Council England grant won by Emma Press for their exciting, diverse range of global and translated poetry, much of it for children.
ALL BETTER! by Inese Zandere, illustrated by Reinis Pētersons, retold in English by Catherine Ann Cullen (Little Island, February 2019) [Latvia]
Everyone hates going to the doctor – taking their medicine, having their temperature taken, maybe having to go for surgery. None of it’s any fun.
This collection of beautifully illustrated rhymes helps to make being sick a little less scary, with poems about things like broken bones, the chickenpox and having an injection, and with characters that will make young readers laugh and smile.
Children can sing along to Owen’s Broken Bone Blues, meet Ultan Ulrich Ultrasound (he can look right into your insides with his magical powers!) and Eliza Analyser, who looks at all your cells under the microscope.
LITTLE PARSLEY by Inger Hagerup, illustrated by Paul René Gauguin, translated by Becky L. Crook (Enchanted Lion Books, out 3 September 2019) [Norway]
Contemplate a hedgehog’s bristles, a crab’s bad mood, a pea who believes it was meant to be a butterfly, and other wonderful images in Inger Hagerup’s poems. The combination of informal verse and Paul René Gauguin’s avant garde illustrations has proven to be an irresistible and endlessly delightful combination for children and adults alike. Alive with sound, shape, and color, Hagerup’s children’s poems are still known by heart by every Norwegian child and collections of her poetry can be found on every child’s bookshelf.
THAT SUMMER by Inger Hagerup, illustrated by Paul René Gauguin, translated by Becky L. Crook (Enchanted Lion Books, out 15 October 2019) [Norway]
Following Little Parsley, this new Hagerup volume was first published in Norway in 1971. At the time, it was a literary scandal for offering free verse to children, who were best suited, as the critics claimed, to the orderly rhymes of established poetic forms. Time and the inherently free and wild forms of youthful imagination have proven the critics completely wrong. Gorgeously illustrated by Paul René Gauguin, with his most antic line, as well as hand lettered, and playfully translated by Beck Crook, this collection of Hagerup poems is pure pleasure.
This list was compiled with huge help from Laura of Planet Picture Book, Lawrence Schimel, Daniel Hahn, Antonia Lloyd-Jones, and from various publishers. Thank you!
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