Reference guide aims to bring international books and children together

A new, annotated bibliography of international youth literature, co-edited by iSchool Lecturer Annette Goldsmith, Theo Heras, and Susan Corapi, will help teachers, parents and librarians find books from other countries, written or translated into English, to share with kids.

“Looking for titles for a display on Norway? Check the geographical listings. Need international titles about bullying? Check the subject index. Want to create a pathfinder of works by award-winning translators? Check the awards section. Intending to visit children’s literature sites during a trip to Japan? Check the special collections entries at the end of the country section. Want to find an exciting read regardless of country? Dip into the annotations until you find something new that strikes your fancy,” said Goldsmith in her upcoming article about Reading the World's Stories for the US chapter of the International Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) newsletter.

The fifth volume in the Bridges to Understanding series, Reading the World's Stories is sponsored by USBBY to promote intercultural understanding and bring visibility to new literary voices. This volume covers recommended books published in the US between 2010 and 2014. 

More than 40 children’s book experts wrote the annotations for 800 entries; many of the books have won awards or achieved other recognition in their home countries. The books were selected to appeal to youth ranging from birth to 18 years of age.

“The cover features artwork donated by Belgian author/illustrator Klaas Verplancke – a gift from the heart, like everything else connected with the book. The cozy image of various species coming together to share a book reflects both our storytelling theme and the sense of warmth and community that Theo, Susan and I felt as we proofed, corrected, and convinced our editor to make yet one more last-minute change,” said Goldsmith, noting that all work by the editors and annotators was donated during the five years it took to complete the project.

Goldsmith, whose dissertation explored decision-making by US children’s book editors in acquiring translated books from other countries to translate into English, has witnessed a recent, positive shift in attention to the importance of translations the market demand for international children's books for children. She attributes the change to the translator-led the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI), an activist group that aims to raise the profile of translations in libraries. She is one of the leaders of GLLI and wrote a guest post for the ALSC Blog explaining why this is an idea whose time has come.

Translators are uniquely placed to help editors identify books for translation and provide selection and programming resources for librarians. “Now, translators are familiar with these books and are more likely to pitch a book to an editor. These translators are live-wires; they are up on the latest books and raring to go.”

Goldsmith’s next related project is helping organize the annual biennial USBBY conference, which will take place at the iSchool in Seattle, October 20-22, 2017.

To order the book, visit Rowman & Littlefield Publishers.