Welcome, teachers and education professionals!
Celebrated worldwide in September, #WorldKidLitMonth is the time to diversify the books available to your pupils, to include books first written in languages other than English.
In the same month as International Translation Day, World Kid Lit Month could be the time to plan and set off on a class reading journey, taking in books from around the world. It’s the perfect time to consider how your school’s or your local community’s language landscape can be celebrated and represented in the books you read and discuss.
Please check back here in June 2021 for more resources for primary and secondary schools, and do also explore the many resource pages across the website. For example, you can search for books by age category, by country of origin, language of origin, and you’ll also find reading lists for regions of the world.
Why celebrate World Kid Lit Month in your school?
1. Children deserve to feel they and their families are represented in the books they encounter at school and in the library, and that includes reflecting ethnic diversity, disability and neurodiversity, diverse family structures, and also cultural and linguistic diversity.
2. Books translated into English from other languages are a window onto the world! Only 5% of the world’s population speaks English as a main language, so if we read in translation we vastly open up the range of authors and perspectives on offer.
3. Reading and discussing books that have been translated is the perfect route into exploring creative translation and all the exciting ways that we can use our foreign language decoding skills to discover literature, music and films from around the world.
4. Getting to know the work of authors, illustrators, poets and graphic novel artists who work in languages other than English is a powerful way to value other languages and centre students’ multilingual experiences and family heritage.
5. Reading children’s and YA books from around the world can enrich the humanities curriculum, offering different perspectives and #ownvoices experiences of history, and bringing the geography, social and religious studies curricula to life.
These are just a few reasons to celebrate #WorldKidLitMonth in your school and to use the month as the time to research and set off on a reading adventure with your students!
World Kid Lit Recommends …
Here you’ll find some downloadable PDF tick lists to help you on your reading exploration of the world.
We’ll soon be adding reading lists for Asia, Africa and the Middle East, as well as language-specific bilingual reading lists for various languages. Please check back here in June 2021!
- Junior Fiction in Translation | 20th Century Classics
- Junior Fiction in Translation | 21st century favourites
- Children’s Books in Translation from the Americas
- Children’s Books in Translation from Central and Eastern Europe
- Children’s Books in Translation from Scandinavia
Translating literature in the classroom
World Kid Lit Month and International Translation Day are the perfect occasion to explore creative translation in your classroom! With structured resources, anyone can have a go at translating a picture book or a poem, an extract of a graphic novel or a dialogue from a chapter book or middle grade novel. Translation activities can be a great way to introduce or support a second language, even with very young children including pre-readers.
Here we recommend a few organizations working to support schools and teachers who would like to introduce their students to the process of translating a creative text, from decoding/codebreaking, translating the gist, and editing creatively for style and register.
- Stephen Spender Trust’s Creative Translation in the Classroom: workshops and teacher training for primary and secondary schools, with a focus on English literacy or MFL
- Shadow Heroes: an education initiative that supports young people in embracing all sides of their linguistic and cultural heritages
- Stephen Spender Prize for Poetry in Translation: Categories for 18-and-under, 16-and-under, 14-and-under, Open (adult)
- Queen’s College Translation Exchange
- Pop Up Festival of Multilingual Literature
- Gŵyl Haf festival of translated literature and arts
- The Children’s Bookshow
- Words Without Borders campus