Books in Translation Honored by the Batchelder Prize

The American Library Association honors children’s books published in other countries and translated into English with an annual prize called the Batchelder. Here are the 2022 winners.

Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba, illustrated by Miho Satake, and translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa, published by Restless Books. Temple Alley Summer is the winner of the 2022 prize.

The author is much beloved in Japan and we’re lucky to read her in English. It’s a mystery, maybe a ghost story, also magic. “Just then,” the main character Kazu tells, “I saw a figure step from behind the curtains. Wearing a kimono. A white one….I think I saw the face. But I didn’t see the eyes.” I feel pulled into a Joan Aiken novel. Kashiwaba lives Iwate Prefecture, Japan.

The Sea-Ringed World:  Sacred Stories of the Americas, by María García Esperó, illustrated by Amanda Mijangos, translated by David Bowles. Published by Levine Querido. The Sea Ringer World is a Batchelder honor book. These are creation myths of the early peoples who lived in the Americas before Europeans arrived. They come from the Taino, Andean, Maya, Nahua, Bribri, Hopi, Ojibwe, Alutiiq, Inuit, and more traditions. Mijangos’ illustrations are breathtaking.  One myth from the Nahua tradition opens with:

Four goddesses

and woman combined.

Her name Quilaztli,

mighty, divine.

She can be a snake,

an eagle too.

She can be a star

or plants for food.

Precious bones

she knew to grind,

And then she shaped

all humankind.

Sato the Rabbit is a second honor book by Yuki Ainoya, translated by Michael Blaskowsky, published by Enchanted Lion Books. It begins, “One day, Haneuro Sata became a rabbit.  He’s been a rabbit ever since.” This story is enchanting and is also from Japan. As a rabbit, Sato envisions the most ordinary things as transformed.  He sails on waves of grass. His watermelon becomes a boat in which he rides. A puddle becomes a passageway to the sky!

Here are three more honor books:

Coffee, Rabbit, Snowdrop, Lost by Betina Birkjaer, illustrated by Anna Margrethe Khjaegaard, translated by Sinead Quirke. Enchanted Lion Books. From Denmark

In the Meadow of Fantasies by Hadi Mohammadi, illustrated by Nooshin Safakhoo, translated by Sara Khalili. Penguin Random House. From Iran.

The Most Beautiful Story, by Brynjulf Jung Tjønn, Illus by Øyvind Torseter, translated by Kari Dickson, Enchanted Lion Books. From Norway.

Leave a comment

  • (will not be published)