New arrival: Hieronymus

I’m very pleased to see this latest arrival, Hieronymus by Marcel Ruijters, which I translated for Knockabout in the UK. Packed with great characters and so many, many little details from Bosch’s famous – and not so famous – works, this book is a fascinating exploration of the artist and the man. As 2016 is the 500th anniversary of Bosch’s death, we can expect a lot more new titles celebrating his weirdly wonderful works. Excellent.

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USBBY conference in New York

Last month I was lucky enough to attend the 11th IBBY Regional Conference in New York, where I participated in a panel discussion on children’s literature in translation, at the invitation of Claudia Zoe Bedrick of Enchanted Lion Books in Brooklyn and Anita Eerdmans of Eerdmans Books for Young Readers in Grand Rapids, with thanks also to the Dutch Foundation for Literature for their support. Claudia provided the moderation for the session, and my fellow panel members were Mara Faye Lethem, who translates from Spanish, and Ajia, who’s translated many great books from English into Chinese. We had a wide-ranging discussion and covered lots of aspects of translating children’s books – and why it’s so important for readers of all ages to encounter new voices that they might not have heard before. Holly Thompson and Lyn Miller Lachman have both written fantastic roundup posts about the conference. Excitingly, I had some lovely chats with other IBBY members who were keen to hear more about translated children’s books and were already cooking up more plans to encourage translation for children. Watch this space…

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Anton Van Hertbruggen wins Silver Medal in the US

Anton Van Hertbruggen has been awarded a Silver Medal by the Society of Illustrators in the US for his illustrations for The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have, a beautifully illustrated story about a boy and his imaginary dog, written by Edward van de Vendel and translated by me.
For its annual exhibition, The Original Art, the Society of Illustrators selects illustrations from the best children’s books published in the US that year. This year the selection included two Flemish titles: not only The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have, but also Red by Jan De Kinder, translated by me. A professional jury awards one gold and two silver medals to the selected works. Anton Van Hertbruggen is the first Flemish illustrator to win one of these medals.
The Dog That Nino Didn’t Have and Red were both published by Eerdmans, with the support of the Flemish Literature Fund. The two books were also featured in the American Booksellers Association’s 2015 ABC Best Books for Young Readers Catalog.

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Hoorah! Publication day!

I’m so delighted that my translation of Tonke Dragt’s classic The Secrets of the Wild Wood is out today, published by Pushkin Children’s Books. I love this book and couldn’t be more chuffed that it’s now available to English-speaking readers.

There’s also a special new paperback edition of the prequel, The Letter for the King, published to coincide with the new release:

And David Fickling is taking Tiuri and Piak to America in this lovely new edition with a cover design by Jeffrey Alan Love:

I chatted to Sanne over at Books and Quills about Tonke Dragt and translating children’s books.

Good travels, little book! Hope you find lots of nice readers.

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New arrival:First Man

My translation of Simon Schwartz’s First Man: Reimagining Matthew Henson just arrived in the mail from Lerner Books. It’s based on the amazing true story, one I’m ashamed to say I’d never heard before, of Matthew Henson, the first African American to travel to the frozen wastes of the North. Beautifully illustrated, this graphic novel tells how Henson was sidelined by white explorers and forgotten by history. This is a finely written account of his life and Henson is a most deserving subject. So glad I could be part of the project.

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Vincent in Auvers

I recently had the pleasure of being invited by the Van Gogh Museum to Auvers-sur-Oise to join the event marking 125 years since Vincent van Gogh’s death and to celebrate the publication of the wonderful Van Gogh Atlas, which I translated. It was quite something to be in Auvers and to feel like I was walking in Vincent’s shoes.

It’s a very special place, and if you’re interested in Vincent’s art and life then I absolutely recommend a visit.

Vincent van Gogh, born in Zundert, NL, in 1853, died in Auvers-sur-Oise, France, in 1890.

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Hoorah! New picture books!

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The Bear!

My mother-in-law (hello, Jane!) recently found this photograph that she took a long time ago of Voytek the bear, the star of Bibi Dumon Tak’s Soldier Bear, which I translated for Eerdmans Books for Young Readers. After his army adventures, Voytek retired to Edinburgh Zoo, where my mother-in-law met him as a girl. It’s wonderful to have a family connection to the story I so enjoyed working on!

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The Other Side of the Wall

I really enjoyed translating Simon Schwartz’s The Other Side of the Wall (Graphic Universe), a German graphic novel about a young boy growing up in East Berlin before the fall of the Wall. A cracking read!

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We need more international picture books!

I was interested to read this recent article from the School Library Journal about “Where the Wild Books Are”, an event focusing on the translation of children’s picture books.

This discussion echoed many of the issues we talked about at the SCBWI Europolitan conference in Amsterdam earlier this month. Diversity was one of the key themes of the conference and I noted how important it was for translation to be part of the debate about diversity within children’s books. If books are translated, we have access to so many new and diverse voices.

There was a panel discussion on translation at the conference, which I moderated. The theme was “Publishing Here, There and Everywhere” and we talked about what kind of books cross borders easily and what can form barriers, echoing many points in the article above. The panel members were agent Brooks Sherman, who had just been to the Bologna book fair for the first time and told us about his experiences there; Majo De Saedeleer, the former director of the Belgian Reading Foundation (Stichting Lezen) and initiator of the fabulous O Mundo reading project; and publisher Greet Pauwelijn from Book Island in New Zealand, who also delivered a great closing keynote about the differences between picture books from Europe and America. It’s fascinating to see so many of the points that Greet made coming up again at the “Where the Wild Books Are” event in New York, and I think it bodes well for the future of picture books in English translation. Hurrah!

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