In the UK it is Children’s Book Week from 7-11 October. How many of those books are translated from other languages?
Not many, unfortunately.
Here are my top 3 for 2013:
One of my favourites as a young child was the Thomas series. Like Pippi and Mrs Pepperpot, he is Swedish. The author, Gunilla Wolde, describes how the books came into being here. Sadly they are now out of print in English.
The first book I bought for my niece was this fantastic animal dictionary, also published in English as Animals Speak. It’s so good, I got one for myself too. It shows children that not every sheep in the world says “baa” and not every dog says “woof”. Did you know an elephant says “tw, tw” in Welsh and “kree, kree” in Estonian? The Slovene author and illustrator Lila Prap describes how she got the Irish Gaelic translations here.
For older children and teenagers, the “French Harry Potter”, Oksa Pollock, is the latest thing. The first of the six books was translated into English this summer. Sue Rose, the “language magician” who did the job has some great insights into getting those wizardly names right here.
Oksa is published by Pushkin Press, which just started publishing children’s literature in translation in the UK; they include some great authors from around the world.