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10 Translated Books - 2007

 

Under 5

 

Alligator Mike
Jurg Federspiel, Illustrated by Petra Rappo Translated from German
North South

Mike was playing with his ball when it bounced into a rubbish bin.  He jumps in after it and discovers too late that the bin doesn’t have a bottom, so he ends up plummeting straight down a tunnel, deep underground beneath New York City. Here Mike discovers a whole colony of alligators; some green and some turned white from their stay in the sewer, who are all a long way from their home in the swamps of Florida. An unusual story by Jürg Federspiel with lovely, comic illustrations by Petra Rappo.

 

The Visitor
Sonja Bougaeva

Translated from German by Monica Smith
Gecko Press

Two sisters live happily, but somewhat chaotically, together on an island where they are completely self-sufficient.  One day the mail boat brings them a letter from their cousin John who is planning to visit them.  At first the sisters are delighted to have a visitor but they are soon in for a shock as he turns their world up-side-down.  Russian born author and illustrator author Sonja Bougaeva has produced an insightful picture book that deals with an age-old problem of the guest who outstays their welcome.
 

6-8

The Grey Boy
Lluis Farré, Illustrated by Gusti

Translated from Catalan by Judith Willis
WingedChariot Press

When Joshua is born, his mother and father are astonished to see that their new baby is grey.  What is even more worrying is that, as the little boy grows up, it becomes clear that he isn’t just grey on the outside but on the inside too.  After various attempts by his parents to get a response from Joshua, it is his pet hamster who manages to break the cycle.   A quirky and thought-provoking book by Catalan author Lluis Farré with an unusual narrative that can be interpreted on several different levels and complimented by Gusti’s layered artwork. 

 

Selma
Jutta Bauer

Translated from German
Gecko Press 

Selma the Ewe is a wise and sensible animal who possesses the key to happiness.  She is content with her life and when she is asked what she would do if she won a million pounds she replies that she doesn’t believe this would enhance the quality of her life. German author and illustrator Jutta Bauer has produced a simple concept in a straightforward way.  Through her whimsical cartoon-like pen and ink line drawings, with their gentle wash of colour, she is able to show us the secret of being happy and content with life. *

9-11


Emil and Karl
Yankev Glatshteyn

Translated from Yiddish by Jeffrey Shandler Scholastic 

Set in Vienna just before the start of the Second World War, two boys – Emil, who is Jewish and Karl who is an ‘Aryan’ live in the same apartment block and become friends.  Through Karl’s communist father’s resistance to the Nazis and the ‘racial laws’ both boys end up alone and must find a way to survive. Yankev Glatshteyn was a Polish Jew who immigrated to America before the Second World War.  After a visit to Poland in 1934 he wrote Emil and Karl in which he chillingly anticipated the Holocaust that was about to unfold.  A story of compassion, friendship and triumph over adversity.

 

 

Puppet Theatre
Maija Barić, illustrated by Kristiina Louhi

Translated from Finnish by Matti Westerlund Hawthorn Press

Puppet Theatre by Finnish author and puppeteer, Maija Baric is a step-by-step art activity book to puppet making for children to use at home or for teachers to use in the classroom.  With wit and ingenuity, Baric gives examples of how to transform everyday items such as wooden spoons, ice cream sticks, and pieces of string, socks, old clothes and scraps of material, paper and potatoes into theatrical puppets. Each instruction is meticulously illustrated in beautiful watercolour by Finnish artist Kristiina Louhi.

 

12+


 

Tina’s Web
Alki Zei

Translated from Greek by John Thornley
Aurora Metro Press

Thirteen-year-old Tina’s happy life in Germany falls apart when her parents announce they are splitting up.  Tina suffers from bronchitis and as her health deteriorates it’s decided that she should go and live in Greece with her paternal Grandmother for a year. Tina becomes a rebel: she shaves off her hair, plays truant from school and refuses to listen to her grandmother. Tina just doesn’t care about anything anymore because she has found the answer – an amazing little blue pill. Tina’s Web by Alki Zei, who is one of Greece’s most popular children’s writers and a former dissident, successfully explores the problems of drugs, family breakup, cultural differences and the clash of generations.

 

When the Snow Fell
Henning Mankell

Translated from Swedish by Laurie Thompson Andersen Press

Joel Güstafson’s journey of discovery about himself and the small town in Northern Sweden in the 1950s is beautifully observed by master storyteller, Henning Mankell.  Joel first appeared in Bridge to the Stars (2005) and Shadows in the Twilight, also published in 2007. When the Snow Fell is the third titles in the series. Now nearly 14 Joel makes three New Year resolutions.  To see a naked lady, toughen himself up and to see the sea.  The humorous interludes are offset by the more serious undercurrents of Joel’s life and the autobiographical voice of the author is never far away. The final book in the series is Journey to the End of the World. (2008).

14+

My Brother Johnny
Francesco D’Adamo

Translated from Italian by Siân Williams
Aurora Metro Publications

Fourteen-year-old Belinda, (well almost), is a bit of a rebel and a punk.  Bored with life in the small provincial Italian town where she lives with her family, her life is turned upside down when her older brother Johnny returns home unexpectedly.  Johnny is regarded as a local hero.  He has been flying bombing missions in the war ‘Over There’, but when he returns home a shadow of his former self, everyone wants to know why, becoming even more confused when he sets up an anti-war protest in the local piazza.  A provocative, powerful and relevant novel by Francesco D’Adamo with a message that is universal and should be read by everyone.

 

 

Over a Thousand Hills I Walked with You
Hanna Jansen
Translated from German by Elizabeth D. Crawford Andersen Press
 

At its heart, this novel is about the Rwandan genocide of 1994, one of the world’s most recent and bloody periods in history. Based on the true story of eight-year-old Jeanne d’Arc Umubyeyi, known to her family and friends as Dédé, she is the only member of her family who survived the carnage. The story is retold with a clarity and honesty by her adoptive mother, Hanna Jansen, from Dédé’s perspective. Harrowing in its restraint, Dédé’s story is a moving and inspiring one, because against all the odds she survived and was able to build a new life in Germany with her adoptive family.

 



 2007 Anniversary Book List Mar17

 

 

 

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*Out of print

 

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