World Kid Lit Month 2021: Thanks to all who contributed!

Just in case you missed it, we wanted to have another look back at September, which was an exciting and very busy #WorldKidLitMonth! There was a real buzz on social media and we had a wealth of contributions here on the blog from children’s and YA literature experts across the globe. Today we want to give a special thanks to everyone who has contributed to the project, and to invite you to get involved in the year ahead…

By Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp

Some of the instagram posts tagged with #WorldKidLitMonth

World Kid Lit Month had its 5th birthday this year, and more children’s literature and YA lovers than ever came to join the party!

We tried to include as many of the tweet threads, blog posts, events and articles as we could in our end of the month round-up, but here we thought we’d have another look back at what we published here on World Kid Lit blog: over 30 blog posts in one month!

Co-editors Claire, Jackie and Ruth managed a packed schedule with at least one blog post every day throughout September. Book reviews included children’s fiction from AfghanistanGermany, Netherlands (here and here), PeruRussia and Ukraine, as well as teen fiction/YA from Algeria, India, Italy, Korea, Latvia, Mauritius, Nigeria, Palestine, Somalia and Wales (UK).

Three of our book reviews last month were by young readers, aged between 7 and 11, and we’d love more reviews like this from readers around the world. If you have a budding book reviewer in your family or in your class, please do get in touch. We’re always open to reviews of books first published in non-majority-English-speaking countries, by reviewers of all ages. See here for some of our other Reviews by Younger Readers.

At least three of our blog posts last month highlighted books not yet translated into English, flagged with the tag #TranslateThis! If you have a book you’d love to see translated, please consider writing a #TranslateThis post to draw publishers’ attention to it. Our submission guidelines are here.

Ramey Daoud introduced  Geri Fai Omir, a project teaching Nubian

Over the course of September, we featured authors who are activists for their language, including ArabicNubian (spoken in Sudan and Egypt), Cabo Verdean Portuguese and Creole, and Welsh.

We focused on the process and challenges of literary translation, talking to award-winning translator Nanette McGuinness about her work on LGBTQ graphic novels and Hugh Hazelton about translating Indigenous Guatemalan poetry. 

We profiled publishers of global children’s books, with interviews with Greet Pauwelijn of the UK’s Book Island, Claudia Zoe Bedrick of US indie press Enchanted Lion Books, Marilyn Brigham of Amazon Crossing Kids, Dušanka Stojaković of South African press New Africa Books, and Manuel Soriano from Uruguayan Spanish-language publishing house Topito Ediciones. We also ran a feature on Baby Raven Reads and Inhabit Media, two Indigenous publishers of North America. 

We have a growing number of regular contributors to the blog and Project World Kid Lit more broadly, and they wrote for us on a range of topics, such as translators Georgia Wall on global YA and Anam Zafar on how (and why) to celebrate World Kid Lit Month in your school. Titas Bose, a scholar of Indian children’s literature, shared her personal reflections on reading Soviet picture books in Bengali, and author and literacy advocate Dai Varela introduced us to the literature of Cabo Verde.

The busy September schedule is when we often welcome many new contributors to share their perspectives on world literature for young people, and this year we were delighted to share practical guides on such topics as how international publishers can sell English language translation rights, why we should #ReadTheWorld, and how to learn a language through reading: Finnish, for example.

This year we saw more libraries and librarians engaging with World Kid Lit Month than ever before, and we were delighted to welcome Rabeea Arif from CILIP, the UK’s library and information association, with her introduction to working internationally in libraries, and Elisabet Risberg from the International Library of Stockholm with her top tips on sourcing Arabic-language books for children and teens, including 25 must-haves for your collection.

September was also an occasion to celebrate the organizations that support children’s literature globally. Avery Fischer Udagawa introduced us to SCBWI (the Society of Children’s Book Writers and Illustrators) and their efforts to make translation part of the publishing conversation. Brenda Dales, former chair of the USBBY Outstanding International Books committee, introduced us to the work of the International Youth Library in Germany, IBBY (the International Board for Books for Young People), and its US chapter, USBBY.

A glimpse at @worldkidlit instagram account in September, #WorldKidLitMonth

We’d like to extend our sincere thanks to everyone who has contributed to Project World Kid Lit – the blog, the Facebook group, the conversations on Twitter and Instagram, – both during #WorldKidLitMonth in September and throughout the year. Thank you everyone for sharing your expertise and your passion!

We see this project as a hub bringing together various communities and sectors, and it is growing steadily thanks to the enthusiasm and participation of hundreds of individuals. Well, thousands! The blog has nearly 5000 subscribers, our Twitter account has over 3000, Instagram which we only started last year has over 700, and the FB group has over 1200 members. Our YouTube channel would love more subscribers! We’d like extend our thanks to Anam, Mohini, Marcia and Helen, our tireless social media administrators!

Please do keep spreading the word about #WorldKidLitMonth and the concept of world literature for kids (#worldkidlit), so that we can help English readers everywhere hear about new and classic books for young people first written in other languages.

It’s never too late to get involved with this project. Please share your knowledge of children’s/YA books published in a country or language you know about, or translated from a language of interest to you. We’re particularly keen to include more info on publishing beyond Europe and by book creators of colour.

We welcome submissions in various formats: book lists, or reviews of translated books for young people, for example. Or you might want to tell us about a project that intersects with the work we’re doing here, or interview someone in the library, education, academic or publishing sectors. Please note that everything we do at World Kid Lit is pro bono and voluntary, and we cannot pay for contributions to the blog. We hope you’ll get in touch with us via social media or by email: worldkidlit@gmail.com.

And happy travels, wherever your reading takes you this year!