Recently, I served on the 2019 Mildred L. Batchelder Award committee. Administered by the Association of Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), the Batchelder Award is awarded to a United States publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originating in a country other than the United States and in a language other than English and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States during the preceding year.
The Department of Public Instruction has a big focus on equity, especially in regard to the lives and experiences of children. By sharing high-quality texts with youth and families, libraries encourage conversations and discovery. These award-winning titles offer many ways to explore how humans are the same, and different, all over the globe.
Considering accessing these titles through WISCAT or purchasing for your library’s collection.
Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Public Library Development Team
The ALA press release for the 2019 Batchelder Award follows.
The Fox on the Swing, published by Thames & Hudson, Inc., written by Evelina Daciūtė, illustrated by Aušra Kiudulaitė, and translated by The Translation Bureau
Originally published in Lithuanian in 2016 as “Laime Yra Lape,” the book was written by Evelina Daciūtė illustrated by Aušra Kiudulaitė and translated by The Translation Bureau. The book tells the story of Paul, who lives a fairly ordinary life with his parents, but whose routine is interrupted by a moody and deep-thinking fox who challenges Paul’s perspective on happiness and predictability. His friendship with the fox vacillates between moments of whimsy and philosophical ponderings in this exceptional picture book.
“The outstanding writing in this book reflects a deep respect for childhood and the importance of adaptability and absurdity,” said Batchelder Award Committee Chair, Tessa Michaelson Schmidt.
2019 Honor Books
Run For Your Life, published by Yonder, an imprint of Restless Books, Inc., written by Silvana Gandolfi, translated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz
Originally published in Italian in 2010 as, “Io Dentro Gli Spari,” “Run For Your Life,” was written by Silvana Gandolfi and translated by Lynne Sharon Schwartz. “Run For Your Life” is a deeply affecting contemporary novel set in Italy and inspired by real-life mafia events. The stories of Santino in southern Sicily and Lucio in northern Livorno are told in alternating chapters until they connect in a surprising and compelling way.
“This highly-absorbing page-turner is more sophisticated than it appears at first glance,” said Michaelson Schmidt.
My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder, published by Graphic Universe, a division of Lerner Publishing Group, Inc., written and illustrated by Nie Jun, and translated by Edward Gauvin
Originally published in Mandarin, and then published as a French translation in 2016 as, “Les Contes de la Ruelle,” “My Beijing: Four Stories of Everyday Wonder,” was written and illustrated by Nie Jun and translated from the French by Edward Gauvin. There’s a story around every corner in this graphic novel about a young girl navigating life with a mobility limitation who lives in a hutong neighborhood of Bejing with her devoted grandfather. Yu’er engages with family and friends to explore the wonders and difficulties of everyday life--without losing sight of her dreams.
“Especially noteworthy is how the four stories integrate tough realities, humor, magic, and delight in depicting their adventures,” said Michaelson Schmidt.
Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure, published by NorthSouth Books, Inc., written by Torben Kuhlmann, illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann, and translated by David Henry Wilson
Originally published in German in 2018 as, “Edison: Das Rätsel des verschollenen Mauseschatzes,” “Edison: The Mystery of the Missing Mouse Treasure,” was written and illustrated by Torben Kuhlmann and translated by David Henry Wilson. In a quest for treasure, Pete, an excited and persistent young mouse, appears in the Professor’s class at the University of Mice. A simple request for assistance turns into a complex and technical adventure with a unexpected conclusion that parallels one of the most important inventions of all time.
“This lavishly illustrated text brilliantly marries intergenerational teamwork with science and discovery,” said Michaelson Schmidt.
Jerome By Heart, published by Enchanted Lion Books, written by Thomas Scotto illustrated by Olivier Tallec, and translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Karin Snelson
Originally published in French in 2009 as, “Jerome Par Cur,” “Jerome By Heart,” was written by Thomas Scotto and translated by Claudia Zoe Bedrick and Karin Snelson. This subtle, yet powerful picture book portrays the unabashed love and unconditional friendship between young boys Jerome and Raphael.
“The succinct and clear writing impressed us with its tenderness and honesty.” said Michaelson Schmidt.
Members of the 2019 Batchelder Award Committee are: Chair Tessa Michaelson Schmidt, Wisconsin State Library, WI Dept. Public Instruction, Madison, Wis.; Sandra Farag, Ingram Library Services, La Vergne, Tenn.; Lorrie Anne Hansen, Skokie (Ill.) Public Library; Madeleine Ildefonso, Los Angeles Public Library/Central Library; and Kathy G. Short, University of Arizona, Tucson.