In her post for the Hub introducing readers to the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI), Lyn Miller-Lachmann explained why books from other countries, both translations and English-language imports, are important to teens. As a follow-up, this post will share some of my favorite resources and tips for finding global books with YA appeal.
USBBY Outstanding International Books List
Start with the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) (the U.S. chapter of IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People) Outstanding International Books List, an annual list of about 40 translations and English-language imports for readers K-12. Every year the annotated list appears in the February issue of School Library Journal. The USBBY Outstanding International Books award page links to the SLJ list and also includes a printable bookmark and a very cool Google map showing where the books are set.
You may have heard of these two novels from the 2017 list that have received a lot of buzz: Socorro Acioli’s The Head of the Saint (Delacorte), from Brazil, translated by Daniel Hahn; and The Lie Tree (Amulet Books/Abrams), from UK author Frances Hardinge. But chances are, you have yet to discover Jesper Wung-Sung’s novel The Last Execution (Caitlyn Dlouhy/Atheneum), translated from the Danish by Lindy Falk van Rooyen and based on the true story of the execution of a teenager in Denmark. Or Anna Woltz’s A Hundred Hours of Night (Arthur A. Levine/Scholastic), translated from the Dutch by Laura Watkinson. This is one of those fascinating books that reflects our own country back to us through outsider eyes – in this case, the eyes of a 15-year-old Dutch runaway trapped in New York City during Hurricane Sandy.
Batchelder and Marsh Awards for Translated Books
The Mildred A. Batchelder Award is the U.S. award that recognizes a publisher for the best children’s translation of the year. Very often Batchelder winner and honor chapter books are perfect for tweens and teens, but sometimes the picture books are appropriate for older readers, too. The 2017 Batchelder winner, Cry, Heart, But Never Break (Enchanted Lion Books; written by Glenn Ringtved, illustrated by Charlotte Pardi, and translated from the Danish by Robert Moulthrop) is a good example. The strangely comforting figure of Death tells four children whose grandmother is terminally ill an allegorical story to ease their pain. This poignant and nuanced book provides a great prompt for a teen discussion about life, death, and storytelling.
Translation awards from other countries can also turn up gems. In the U.K., this year’s Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation was awarded to Helen Wang for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower by Cao Wenxuan, first published by Walker in the U.K. and scheduled for release by Candlewick in the U.S. on March 14. Perfect for tweens, it is the first of this celebrated Chinese author’s books to be translated into English. Continue reading Going Global: Resources for International YA Literature