Goethe Institut ‘Books First’ programme

The Goethe Institut has produced three Books First readers: brochures showcasing new German-language books with sample translations and synopses. The books featured are all recent releases from Austria, Germany and Switzerland, and all with English-language rights available. There is an adult fiction reader, a comics/graphic novels one, and one highlighting German books for children and young adults which we focus on here.

Goethe insitut books first

These ‘readers’ are substantial with good-length sample translations and illustrations to give publishers a sense of each book and why it might appeal. As yet, the licences to these works have not been sold to the English-speaking world. To support the translation into English, the Goethe Institut offers English-language publishers a guaranteed translation grant within the framework of the BOOKS FIRST program.


GI readerThe children’s and YA reader, produced by a jury with the expert guidance of Michael Schmitt, literary critic and cultural journalist and Kendra Marcus, founder of BookStop Literary Agency, includes picture books, illustrated middle grade/junior reads, and teen/young adult novels.

The following authors and books are featured:

Dana Grigorcea & Anna Luchs, Mond aus! [Switch the Moon Off!Picture book, Baeschlin Verlag, 2016, 32 pages, age 3+, sample translation by Helena Kirkby

Finn-Ole Heinrich & Rán Flygenring, Die erstaunlichen Abenteuer der Maulina Schmitt – Mein kaputtes Königreich [The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt – My Broken Kingdom] Carl Hanser Verlag, 2013, 176 pages, age 10+, sample translation by Katy Derbyshire

Johannes Herwig, Bis die Sterne zittern [Until the Stars Tremble]  Gerstenberg Verlag, 2017, 256 pages, age 14+, sample translation by Fiona Graham

Stefanie Höfler, Tanz der Tiefseequalle [Dance of the Deep-Sea Jellyfish]  Gulliver / Beltz & Gelberg Verlag, 2017, 192 pages, age 12+, sample translation by Nani Schumann

Christa Ludwig & Sünne van der Meulen, Bellcanto, Verlag Freies Geistesleben, 2016, age 11+, sample translation by John Reddick

Martin Muser, Kannawoniwasein! – Manchmal muss man einfach verduften [Can’t Be True! Sometimes You Have to Duck Out!] Carlsen Verlag, 2018, 176 pages, age 10+,  sample translation by Rebecca Heier

Markus Orths & Kerstin Meyer, Zebra unterm Bett [The Zebra Under the Bed] Moritz Verlag, 2015, 72 pages, age 6+, sample translation  by Alexandra Roesch

Lorenz Pauli & Kathrin Schärer, Rigo und Rosa [Rigo and Rosa] Atlantis – Orell Füssli Verlag, 2016, 126 pages, age 5+, sample translation by John Reddick

Manja Präkels, Als ich mit Hitler Schnapskirchen aß [Eating Schnapps Cherries with Hitler] Verbrecher Verlag, 2017, 230 pages, age 16+, sample translation by Alexandra Roesch

Julya Rabinowich, Dazwischen: Ich [Me, In-between] Hanser 2016, 256 pages, age 14+, sample translation by Erin Bradshaw

Lukas Rietzschel, Mit der Faust in die Welt schlagen [Punching the World] Ullstein Verlag, 2018, 320 pages, sample translation by Helena Kirkby

Christina Röckl, Und dann platzt der Kopf [And Then the Head Explodes] Kunstanstifter Verlag, 2014, 72 pages, age 5+, sample translation by Madeleine LaRue

Michael Roher, Tintenblaue Kreise [Ink-Blue Circles] Luftschacht Verlag, 2017, 184 pages, age 11+, sample translation by John Reddick

Silke Schlichtmann & Ulrike Möltgen, Bluma und das Gummischlangengeheimnis [Bluma and the Secret of the Jelly Snake] Verlag Hanser, 2017, sample translation by Alexandra Roesch

Silke Vry & Martin Haake, Verborgene Schätze, versunkene Welten. Große Archäologen und ihre Entdeckungen [Buried Treasures, Sunken Worlds: The Great Archaeologists and Their Discoveries] Gerstenberg Verlag, 2017, 160 pages, age 10+, sample translation by Madeleine LaRue


Of the above books, Finn-Ole Heinrich & Rán Flygenrin’s Groana Schmitt was featured in UK BookTrust’s In Other Words project, where there was also a sample translation by Katy Derbyshire to download.

We have already featured Dazwischen-Ich on this blog, with a review by Claire Storey, who also has a translated sample available.

One comment

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s