February Round-up

It’s been a busy month again with lots of reviews, interviews and articles. And there’s more in store with events happening over the next few days and more coming up in March. If you have anything for next month’s round-up, please let us know.


Congratulations to Julia Marshall who has been awarded the Storylines Margaret Mahy Medal. The Margaret Mahy Medal is New Zealand’s most prestigious honour for children’s authors, illustrators and publishers. Julia is the founder of Gecko Press which has published some of our favourite World Kid Lit books, including Clothide Perrin’s Inside the Villains, translated by Daniel Hahn, and Yours Sincerely, Giraffe, by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake and translated by Cathy Hirano. As well as publishing children’s books, Julia also translates from Swedish. For more details about the award please see the Storylines website here.


On Wednesday 10th Feburary, the recipients of the PEN Translates awards were announced by English PEN. Among the 14 books to have won this accolade is The Djinn’s Apple by Djamila Morani, translated from the Arabic by Sawad Hussain (Neem Tree Press). This book originates from Algeria and we believe it is the first YA book to be translated from Algeria – Congratulations Sawad! You can read an extract in Words Without Borders (in the April 2020 issue which focused on children’s and YA literature in translation). Full details of all the winners can be found on the English PEN website.


On Thursday 18th Feburary, the longlists for the CILIP Carnegie and Kate Greenaway Medals were announced. Book Island’s The Bird Within Me by Sara Lundberg, translated by BJ Epstein was longlisted for the Kate Greenaway medal, the only translated book on either longlist. The shortlist will be announced on 18th March 2021. For more details please see the award website.


September 2021 will see the launch of a new publishing house. Based in Brooklyn, USA, Red Comet Press will average 10 to 15 new releases annually. According to Publishers Weekly, “the list will balance books in translation as well as original titles by American book creators”. Among their first releases are two books originally published in France (Cat & Dog: A Tale of Opposites and Mister Fairy) and two that originated in Italy (Before We Sleep and The Secret of the Magic Pearl). For more details, see their website: www.redcometpress.com

Book Reviews

Stories from a Reforming SalalaLa Bastarda by Trifonia Melibea Obono, a YA novel translated from Spanish [Equatorial Guinea] by Lawrence Schimel. Review by Chido Nyaruwata

FallenStar StoriesDragonfly Eyes by Cao Wenxuan, translated from Chinese [China] by Helen Wang (Walker Books).

Book Trust – New children’s books we love, includes The Kiosk by Aneta Melece, translated from Latvian [Latvia] by Elīna Braslina (Gecko Press)

Just Imagine – Jo Bowers also features The Kiosk by Aneta Melece, translated from Latvian [Latvia] by Elīna Braslina (Gecko Press)

Juliet’s Book Journey – Books reviews as Juliet works her way around Asia, stopping off in Japan, Mongolia, Russia and Taiwan among other places.

A Library LadyThe Snowman and the Sun by Susan Taghdis,illustrated by Ali Mafakheri and translated from Farsi [Iran] by Azita Rassi (Tiny Owl). Review by Anne Thompson.

Marginalia from the Los Angeles Review of Books – N.A. Mansour on Sonia Nimr, reviewing Wondrous Journeys in Strange Lands, translated from Arabic [Palestine] by Marcia Lynx Qualey (Interlink).

Lots of love this month for Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile, by María José Ferrada’s illustrated by María Elena Valdez, translated from Spanish [Chile] by Lawrence Schimel (Eerdmans):

Global Literature in Libraries Initiative – #worldkidlitwednesday book reviews this month included:

  • The Map of Good Memories, Written by Fran Nuño, illustrated by Zuzanna Celej, translated from Spanish by Jon Brokenbrow (Cuento de Luz, 2016). Review by Klem-Marí Cajigas
  • The Moose of Ewenki written by Gerelchimeg Blackcrane and illustrated by Jiu Er, translated from Chinese by Helen Mixter (Aldana Libros/Greystone Kids, 2019). Review by Laura Taylor
  • Dragonfly Eyes by Cao Wenxuan, translated from Chinese [China] by Helen Wang (Walker Books). Review by Nanette McGuinness.
  • Stars and Poppy Seeds by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, translated from Ukrainian by Oksana Lushchevka (Abrams Books). Review by Nanette McGuinness.

Meytal RadzinskiThe Magic Doll: A Children’s Book Inspired by African Art by Adrienne Yabouza, illustrated by Élodie Nouhen, translated from French [Central African Republic] by Paul Kelly

Claire Storey – Review of The End by Mats Strandberg, translated by Judith Kiros (Arctis Books)

New York Times – ‘Kindred Spirits: 2 Collections of Native Mythology for Children and Their Adults’, including The Sea-Ringed World: Sacred Stories of the Americas, by María García Esperón, illustrated by Amanda Mijangos, translated from Spanish [Mexico] by David Bowles (Em Querido)

Interviews and articles

Times of Israel – ‘World’s 1st female rabbi led a 16th century Mosul yeshiva for Kurdish Jewry’. Journalist and novelist Sigal Samuel honors her Iraqi Jewish heritage with picture book about Osnat Barazani, whose life was a real-life early Yentl story set in the Middle East – Osnut and Her Dove (Levine Querido)

Johanna McCalmont – Write-up on the Montreuil Children’s Book Fair – #SLPJ2020

Chinese Books for Young Readers – Interview with Yue Wang on Feminist Adaptations of Traditional Tales in Contemporary Chinese Fantasy Narratives

SCBWI Japan Translation Group – Interview with Michael Blaskowsky, Translator of Sato the Rabbit. Interview by Andrew Wong

Brittle Paper – Three African Books Win English Pen’s Flagship Translation Awards

Words Without Borders – Interview with Yael Berstein of new independent publisher of Latin American picture books, Tapioca Stories. Eighth instalment in a series of interviews with children’s book publishers with a focus on translation.

Online recordings and readings

Istituto Italiano di Cultura Washington (YouTube) – series of 12 animations of Batchelder Award winning book Telephone Tales by Italian author Gianna Rodari, translated by Anthony Shugaar, illustrated by Valerio Vidali (Enchanted Lion).


Byre World: Children’s Literature Without Borders
Wednesday 24 Feburary, 7pm GMT
Clémentine Beauvais writes children’s and young adult fiction in French and English. She is the best-selling author of In Paris with youPiglettesLes Royales baby-sitters, and the French translator of J.K. Rowling’s The Ickabog. In this masterclass, Clémentine will discuss her work as author-translator with Elise Hugueny-Léger (Department of French) and will share her tips for writing stories for children.
Free event. Book your space here.


THE ART OF TRANSLATING STORIES FOR CHILDREN: Russian books for children and young adults

Thursday 25 February, 5-6.30pm GMT

Russian Kid Lit blog co-founders Maria Wiltshire and Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp talk to European Schoolbooks about their favourite picture books, middle grade and young adult fiction and non-fiction in Russian, recommending ones which have been translated into English. Ruth and Maria will talk about their language-learning journeys and about their experiences of translating Russian children’s books.  Free event. Register here for the zoom link.


The Accidental Show
Saturday 6th March, 10am GMT

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and Claire Storey will be appearing on James Campbell’s The Accidental Show helping to celebrate World Book Day in the UK. The Accidental Show is a weekly comedy show / creative workshop for primary-aged children (6-11). Ruth and Claire will be sharing some of their favourite books in translation and talking a bit about what it’s like to translate books for children.
For more details see James Campbell on Twitter or Facebook.


A Window to the Sky (with Translator + Editor of SATO THE RABBIT)
Sunday March 7th 2021, 4pm EST
Join us for a conversation about the whimsical Sato the Rabbit series and the art of translating children’s literature with translator Michael Blaskowsky & editor Shizuka Blaskowsky. This event will be hosted live on Crowdcast by Enchanted Lion.
$8 Buy your ticket here


Reading Children’s Literature in Translation
Monday March 8th 2021 – 4pm GMT

In this seminar we will explore the translation and reception of literature aimed at children and adults, and think about the different agents and readers involved in these process. With Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp, translator from German, Russian and Arabic into English, and Helen Wang, translator from Chinese into English.
Hosted by the Department of Spanish, Portuguese and Latin American Studies, University College Cork, Ireland.
Free event. Register here


Webinar: There’s a World of Books Out There: What We Can Learn by Reading and Writing Translations
13th March 2021, 11:00 am – 12:30 pm PST

In this webinar with Jackie Friedman Mighdoll, we’ll take a tour of children’s’ books in translation, looking at which international books get translated into English, where you can find them, and what we can learn from reading world kidlit. Free for SCWBI members. See website for more details.


World Kid Lit LIVE
24th March 4pm BST

New releases

Beautiful Day! Petite Poems for All Seasons by Rodoula Pappa, illustrated by Seng Soun Ratanavanh, translated by the author (Abrams) [originally in Greek / Greece]

Agnes’s Place by Marie Larsen, illustrated by Jenny Løvlie, translated by Kari Dickson (Amazon Crossing) [originally in Norwegian / Norway]

The Three Water Drop Brothers by Lee Eun-hee, illustrated by Yoon Mi-sook, translated by Asuka Minamoto (Enchanted Lion) [originally in Korean / Korea]

The Blue Stone Dream by Maria Helena Weber, translated by Elton Uliana, designed by Vera Rotta and edited by Sana [originally in from Portuguese / Brazil]. This book is about the coronavirus pandemic and is free to access online.

Riley Can’t Stop Crying by Stéphanie Boulay, illustrated by Agathe Bray-Bourret, translated by Charles Simard (Orca)

Niños: Poems for the Lost Children of Chile by María José Ferrada, illustrated by María Elena Valdez, translated from Spanish [Chile] by Lawrence Schimel (Eerdmans)

Soul Lanterns by Shaw Kuzki, translated from Japanese [Japan] by Emily Balistrieri (Penguin Random House)

The Easter Bunny’s Present Hunt by Mieke Goethals, translated from Dutch (Clavis)

Impossible by Isol, translated by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)

This is how I know: A book about the Seasons / Mii Maannda ezhi-gkendmaanh by Brittany Luby, illustrated by Joshua Manjeshig Pawis-Steckley. Bilingual in Anishinaabemowin and English (Groundwood)

The Big Bad Wolf in my House by Valérie Fontaine, illustrated by Nathalie Dion, translated by Shelley Tanaka (Groundwood)

Peace / Paz by Miranda Paul and Baptiste Paul, illustrated by Estelí Meza. Bilingual in Spanish and English (NorthSouth)