Children's Literature and The Batchelder Award
March 22, 2012
Mildred L. Batchelder had a goal to "eliminate barriers to understanding between people of other cultures, races, nations, and languages." A former director of the Association for Library Service to Children, she also worked at various libraries and served thirty years with the American Library Association starting in 1936. Today the Mildred L. Batchelder Award is given yearly to a book that was written in a language other than English in a country other than the U.S., and then translated into English for U.S. publication.
One of my favorites is the French 2006 honor book Nicholas by Rene Goscinny. It’s about a schoolboy named Nicholas, who is nearly always getting into trouble. There is an equally good 2008 honor book by the same author called Nicholas and the Gang. In this book, Nicholas has a variety of adventures including attending the birthday party of the little girl next door. Both books of short stories are humorously illustrated by one of my favorite artists, Jean-Jacques Sempe.
Ronia, the Robber’s Daughter by Astrid Lindgren is also (in my opinion) a terribly good story. It was first published in Swedish and won the Batchelder Award in 1984. It’s about a girl named Ronia, who lives in a castle with her father and his band of robbers. Then one day, Ronia becomes friends with the son of a rival robber chieftain.
The 2012 Batchelder Award winner is called Soldier Bear by Bibi Dumon Tak. First published in Dutch, Soldier Bear is based on a true story about a Syrian bear cub adopted by Polish soldiers during World War II. The bear spent five years as their mascot in Iran and Italy.
There is also a 2012 honor book by Annika Thor. The Lily Pond was first published in Swedish and is about a thirteen-year-old Jewish refugee from Nazi-occupied Vienna named Stephie Steiner. She learns to live life in the Swedish city of Gothenburg and worries about her parents, who were not allowed to emigrate.
For more information on the Mildred L. Batchelder Award, you can go to the American Library Association’s website, where you can find a complete list of award and honor books. Also, please check our catalog for these wonderful stories. They can help you access a whole new world in children’s literature!
Amy Jo : )
Blue Springs South Branch