WHAT IS IT AND WHY SEPTEMBER?
World Kid Lit Month is the perfect time to explore world literature for kids and teens: books, authors and illustrators from other countries, and books and comics translated into English from other languages.
On social media, in schools, libraries, bookshops and at home, September is the time to find out about global reading for young people. It’s a time to discuss why we should look beyond the books published in our own country and also how to find books first published elsewhere. Above all, it’s a dedicated time to shine a light on a vibrant and diverse area of children’s publishing which can be difficult to navigate.
World Kid Lit Month was launched in 2016 by global literature experts Marcia Lynx Qualey, Lawrence Schimel and Alexandra Büchler. In the US, September is National Translation Month. European Day of Languages also falls in late September, and worldwide there is a celebration at the end of the month for International Translation Day.
#WORLDKIDLITMONTH IN YOUR COMMUNITY
Please encourage your local school, library and bookshope to mark #WorldKidLitMonth in your community! You can find many pre-prepared book lists and resources on this site, and on others we link to here. On the right hand bar of this website, you’ll find links to various ways to find books: by continent, by country, by source language, by age group.
We aim to make it easier for English readers to find great books from a diverse range of authors, illustrators and translators from around the world. There are many reasons for exploring world literature, with the following four themes tending to stand out in particular:
This reason for global reading is even more compelling this year during the continued coronavirus pandemic, with restrictions on travel. We might long to visit other shores; why not fly there with a book instead?
At the start of the new school year for many, September is a great time to consider whether the books we suggest to young people are as diverse and inclusive as they could be, in terms of ethnic diversity of the creators and characters, but also disability, sexuality and gender. Children deserve to see themselves reflected in the books they read, and including books in translation on our bookshelves helps open up the world in all its multicultural, multilingual diversity.
Translated literature also opens up genres that are less well represented in English-language publishing, for example comics and graphic novels for all ages, picture books for older readers and narrative nonfiction. A broader range of genres and styles of writing can also inspire and appeal to reluctant readers.
However, translation in children’s publishing is still lamentably undiverse: the vast majority of translated books for younger readers are translations from European languages and of books by white authors in Western Europe. When we explore what’s out there in translation, it’s worth also asking why there isn’t more in translation from Asia, Africa and the Middle East, or from Indigenous languages, and how can we help to make that happen?
As we face global challenges such as climate change, movements of refugees, and the Covid-19 pandemic, more than ever we need collaboration among nations and understanding of other perspectives. How can a culture of reading globally foster a sense of our place in the world from childhood on? Can young people’s exploration of other countries’ art and literature contribute to a world where we interact in a more just and equitable way?
We’re seeing a growing interest in translated books for young readers. However, the majority of books that are being published in translation are from countries within Western Europe. While this cultural exchange is vital, we also advocate for more books in translation from beyond Europe, from a much broader range of countries and cultures. Join the global conversation to highlight forgotten gems and new books for translation!
HOW TO GET INVOLVED IN #WorldKidLitMonth
- Read the World: In your class or at home with your family, why not set off on a reading tour of the world, reading a book in translation from every continent? Print out our regional book lists and stick the book covers to a map or globe as you progress on your reading journey!
- Show us your shelves: do you have any translated kids’ and YA books on your bookshelves? What language were they first written in? Please share pics on your social media! #WorldKidLitMonth #namethetranslator
- Read and review a children’s or young adult book translated into English from another language. It needn’t be long: just a photo and a few words on Twitter or Instagram, a longer review for your blog or school newsletter, or a guest review for World Kid Lit blog ~ we welcome reviews by readers of all ages!
- See the blog for 10 Ways to Celebrate World Kid Lit Month in your school!
- Watch World Kid Lit Live! Hear about how books for young people travel about the globe in a series of panel discussions and events online
- Spread the word! Please tell your friends about World Kid Lit month, especially educators, booksellers and librarians 🙂
- Journalists and bloggers, you’ll find free graphics and the press release in our public press pack here
- You’ll find many more ideas and resources on this website, making it easier than ever to pick a place in the world and fly there with a book
WORLD KID LIT LIVE
Details coming soon about this year’s World Kid Lit LIVE for #WorldKidLitMonth.
Can’t wait until then? Catch up on all our previous #WorldKidLitLIVE panels.