Many kids around the world have seen summer trips to see family and friends curtailed. But, through World Kid Lit Month — celebrated each September — young readers can still travel the world through books:
By the World Kid Lit team
First launched in 2016, World Kid Lit Month is a month to celebrate and promote world literature for children and teens, especially fiction, poetry, and nonfiction translated to English from other languages.
In the words of author and translator Daniel Hahn:
“Only a few percent of the world have English as a first language. Deciding you’re interested in reading only books by people who happen to have been born into the same language as you is as arbitrary as deciding you’re only going to read books written by people whose surnames start with vowels. Not that there aren’t quite a lot of them, but don’t you think you might be missing out?”
And Alexandra Büchler, director of Literature Across Frontiers and a founding member of WorldKidLit:
“By reading beyond our borders we explore the vast diversity of voices and perspectives that complement and contrast with our own. Global kid lit offers a window onto the world and a reflection of other cultures, but it also expands the opportunities for children to find the texts that speak personally to them.”
We will focus on four main things this World Kid Lit Month:
- ARMCHAIR TRAVEL: Pick a destination and fly there with a book
- BIBLIODIVERSITY: Kids deserve diverse and inclusive books
- GLOBAL READS FOR A GLOBAL OUTLOOK: What better way to explore our planet than by reading?
- FOUND IN TRANSLATION: The key to opening up new worlds and new stories
Also, for the first time, we will have #WorldKidLit Live!, two live panels at the start and end of the month. Our first panel, “How Translations Happen,” is tomorrow at 4 p.m. BST. It features Charlotte Ryland – Director, Stephen Spender Trust (UK); Shelley Tanaka – Author and Fiction Editor, Groundwood Books (Canada); Radhika Menon – Publishing Director, Tulika Books (India); Emma Wright – Founder, The Emma Press (UK); and it will be moderated by Marcia Lynx Qualey – Co-Founder, World Kid Lit (Morocco).
On this first event, we will discuss what publishers look for in translated children’s literature. How do market standards differ across regions? What are the unique challenges brought on by the pandemic, and how does it affect the kid lit universe? Our expert panelists join us from India, Canada and the UK to give us their perspectives.
How can you get involved?
Readers and educators are encouraged to get involved in September by sharing photos of the translated children’s books on their bookshelves (#shelfie). There’s also the #WorldKidLitMonth challenge: read and review one children’s or young adult book translated into English from another language.
More ideas and resources will be posted on this book throughout the month, making it easier than ever to pick a country and fly there with a book.
As you join us, please consider using the hashtags: #WorldKidLit, #WorldKidLitMonth, #ReadtheWorld, #ArmchairTravel, #InTranslation #shelfie. As always, #NameTheTranslator.