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ERIC Number: EJ748674
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2006
Pages: 7
Abstractor: ERIC
Reference Count: 22
ISSN: ISSN-1521-7779
Reading Outstanding International Children's Books
Bond, Ernie
Journal of Children's Literature, v32 n2 p70-76 Fall 2006
This article describes the task of creating a list of books that will awaken in readers a desire to know more about the world and those who share it. The author was part of a committee assigned this task in 2005 at the Children's Book Council (CBC) and the United States Board on Books for Young People (USBBY) to compile the first annual Outstanding International Booklist. The goals of creating such a list include exposing young readers and those who work with them to high-quality books from around the world, introducing them to authors and illustrators from other countries, and expanding their cultural knowledge and intercultural understandings. The author explains that, before international books reach children and young adult readers in the United States, they must pass through publishers, parents, librarians, teachers, and booksellers who judge what children will or will not understand or like in a book. International books have a reputation for not selling well and editors cite high costs and low profits as reasons for not publishing international books. Questions about language, authenticity, and controversial topics are other barriers to publishing. Several books on the Outstanding International Booklist are exceptions to the rule that publishers avoid the controversy. In discussing issues of authenticity, the author notes that, while American publishers tend to choose books that have won large awards in other countries and have "universal" themes, they often focus on only a few key images of what is to be, for example, Irish or Australian. The industry tends towards the homogenization of children's literature to fit a universal American standard. This article examines problems associated with translation--in how altering a text and the meanings conveyed can have a ripple effect that may strip the narrative of its context. The USBBY-CBC committee will continue to create an annual Outstanding International book list in the hopes that the significance of this literature will be recognized by publishers and that the number of literary works from around the globe being republished in the USA will increase. The article concludes with a list of works cited and children's books mentioned.
Children's Literature Assembly. 940 Vandalia Road, Morgantown, WV 26501. Tel: 304-291-2393; Fax: 304-291-2393; e-mail:; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - General
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: United States