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‘Children’s literature in translation: a window into the cultural changes of ‘68’, online public lecture by Dr Sophie Heywood



This public event co-hosted by The Centre for Literacy and Multilingualism (CeLM) and the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing (CBCP) celebrating International Mother Language Day at the University of Reading took place on 22 February 2021. You can listen to the lecture here

Books play an important role in our understanding of how society changes, both at the time of the change and in the long view of historical events. In this public lecture Dr Sophie Heywood will illustrate how the global upheaval caused by the protest movements of 1968 fuelled an explosion of radical creativity in children’s literature. By tracing the journeys of key books such as Where the Wild Things Are and The Little Red Schoolbook as they travelled across different countries, Dr Heywood will explore the crucial role that translations and cultural exchange played in the ‘children’s ’68’. How did concepts of what was ‘radical’ in children’s books change across time, place and context? And what were the long-term legacies of this watershed moment on children’s culture in Europe?

Sophie Heywood is Associate Professor in French at the University of Reading, and co-director of the CBCP.


Around the World in 18 Books Online


The recording of Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp’s talk Around the World in 18 Books: An introduction to literary translation in children’s and YA publishing is now available to watch here.


You can access the handout with details on the books discussed and links to organisations and resources on children’s literature in translation.

Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp is a Literary translator (Arabic, German, Russian) and diversity in publishing activist with WorldKidLit

Introduced by Patricia Billings, co-founder of Milet Publishing, author of bilingual children’s books, and a trustee of Outside in World


This seminar was organised by the Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing in partnership with Outside in World, the organisation dedicated to promoting and exploring world literature and children’s books in translation.


Around the World in 18 Books

The Centre for Book Cultures and Publishing at the University of Reading is pleased to announce the details for an online public talk by translator and diverse publishing activist, Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp: https://research.reading.ac.uk/centre-for-book-cultures-and-publishing/event/literary-translation-in-childrens-and-ya-publishing-an-online-public-talk-with-translator-and-diverse-publishing-activist-ruth-ahmedzai-kemp/

Entitled 'Around the World in 18 Books: an introduction to literary translation in children’s and YA publishing', Ruth will open a door onto the global children’s publishing industry, looking at how publishing rights are sold from one country to another, how translations are commissioned and funded, how marketing and age-banding varies between territories, why there are so few translations from outside of Europe and so few translated books by non-white authors, and how that could change.

Besides translators and researchers, this whirlwind book tour is aimed at a general audience including booksellers, librarians, teachers and parents, indeed anyone keen to diversify their children’s bookshelves.

The talk will be at 5-6.30pm UK time, Thursday 10 December, and there will plenty of time for questions and discussion. Please join the seminar here using Microsoft Teams. Information on joining Teams meetings without an account can be found here.

This seminar is organised by the CBCP in partnership with Outside in World, the organisation dedicated to promoting and exploring world literature and children’s books in translation.

All are welcome - please do spread the word, and we look forward to seeing you there!


Wendy Cooling

Our Patron Wendy Cooling has sadly passed away after a short illness. Wendy was a passionate supported of Outside In World and also a friend who will be missed greatly.

Official Announcement - Tuesday 23 June 2020

Pioneering children’s book “dabbler” Wendy Cooling dies, leaving far-reaching legacy

Pioneering children’s book “dabbler” (her words) Wendy Cooling has died, after a short illness. There are few more beloved people in the world of children’s books than Wendy, and her passing will be mourned by authors, illustrators, publishers, librarians, teachers and all those colleagues who worked with her on the ground-breaking projects that marked a long and uniquely impactful career.

Her most outward legacy is the creation of Bookstart – the BookTrust project she pioneered 28 years ago – which today places books into the hands of over two million children in the UK every year and has inspired equivalent programmes throughout the world, including Japan, Colombia, Thailand and Taiwan.

From the early days of her career as an inspirational secondary school teacher, through to the Reading Roadshows addressing the needs of children in foster care; from the many anthologies of stories and poems for children she edited to her utterly unforgettable book talks at conferences, Wendy never ceased to keep breaking down the barriers preventing any child from any background accessing the widest possible range of reading.

Growing up in rural Norfolk, she eagerly waited for the monthly visits from the library van. She left school aged 16 and studied for A levels at night whilst working for the Civil Service in London. Throughout her career, she wore her expertise with incredible modesty and a light touch. “If you can read,” she said, “you can do anything. Reading is a resource for life.”

In 2006, Wendy received the Eleanor Farjeon Award. In 2009, she was made MBE for Services to Children’s Literature.

Wendy Cooling was, quite simply, a powerhouse who transformed the lives of millions of children.” Diana Gerald, CEO of BookTrust.

Her belief that every child deserved a rich life of reading and books was utterly compelling.” Jonathan Douglas, Chief Executive of the National Literacy Trust.

Her contribution to children’s reading is utterly unique and unlikely ever to be replicated.” Hilary Murray Hill, CEO , Hachette Children’s Group and Chair, Heads of Children’s Publishers Group

A whole generation of readers – and their parents – have Wendy to thank for bringing books into their families.” Meryl Halls, Managing Director, Booksellers Association of the United Kingdom & Ireland Ltd

Her knowledge was overwhelming, her warmth infectious. A life so well lived.” Michael Morpurgo

Wendy was passionate about putting books in the hands of all our children. Meeting her made me feel I could have a place and a space as an author in the world of children’s books.” Malorie Blackman.

Wendy was a passionate champion for children’s books, and the transformative magic of reading. Her legacy will be far-reaching.” Cressida Cowell, Waterstones Children’s Laureate.


Carla Poesio

It is with great sadness that we learned of the death of one of our Patrons, Carla Poesio.  She was a staunch supporter of Outside In World providing a much needed international perspective on children’s books. Carla was a specialist of children's literature at an international level. She was one of the founders of the Bologna Children’s Book Fair and worked with the fair for over 50 years. She has been a chair of the Andersen Prize for children's literature; a committee member of IBBY and author of numerous articles and books on children's literature.


Winner of the 2017 Marsh Award for Children’s Books in Translation  


Winner of the 2017 Marsh Award for Children’s Books in Translation  is Helen Wang for her translation of Bronze and Sunflower, by Cao Wenxaun, Walker Books, 2016 (Translated from Mandarin Chinese)




Riveting Reads: A World of Books in Translation 

The School Library Association has just published an edition of Riveting Reads dedicated to books in translation. Edited by Joy Court and Daniel Hahn it is packed full of titles for all age groups. A must for schools and libraries. 


 #MoreNotLess - Reader Engagement Project 'Girl Detached'

Girl Detached is our ‘Book of the Month’ for January to coincide with the new reader engagement project #MoreNotLess.Author Manuela Salvi will be asking readers to have their say and you can sign up to her blog or follow a link on Twitter @Manuela_Salvi to read more about it.

Exploring Tiny Owl Publishing

Laura Davies tells Outside In World why she is such a fan of Tiny Owl books in her fascinating article and book reviews.  

Chinese Books for Young Readers

A new online resource (website plus blog) launches this week: Chinese books for young readers (children's and YA books created in Chinese). Set up by an international group of three, Helen Wang (based in the UK), Anna Gustafsson Chen (based in Sweden) and Minjie Chen (based in the USA) who read Chinese books for young people, in Chinese and English – the new website and blog will provide a lot of information available about Chinese books for children, in various places and in various languages. The aim of the resource is to try to bring that information together. The first five blog posts are:

(1) Chinese books for young readers
(2) Gerelchimeg Blackcrane
(3) Chinese children's literature and the UK National Curriculum
(4) Happy Mid-Autumn Festival!
(5) The Reason for Being Late


Guardian Children’s Books focus on translated children’s literature
24 - 28 March 2014

The Guardian children's books site is devoted to reading for pleasure and is written for children and mainly by children – all the reviews are written by children under the age of 18. They are celebrating the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award from 24 March  by running a whole week devoted to translated literature.


Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award launches reading guides for works by recipients

Today, the Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award (ALMA) launches reading guides for twelve works by ten previous recipients. The reading guides are written by members of the jury who are experts of children's and young adult literature.

– The Astrid Lindgren Memorial is not just an award focusing on a specific writer, illustrator or organisation when the award is presented, it is an ongoing reading promotion project, says director Helen Sigeland. We are promoting the best books in the world for young people in as many ways as possible. Hopefully these reading guides will inspire teachers and librarians to include these books in curriculums, reading clubs and workshops. And maybe they can give publishing houses ideas for translations!













The reading guides contain an introduction of the author, description of the contents, a suggested interpretation and topics for discussions. The guides are based on the following books: Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak, Maikäfer, flieg! (Fly Away Home) by Christine Nöstlinger, O Meu Amigo Pintor (My Friend the Painter) by Lygia Bojunga, Northen Lights by Philip Pullman, Basu ni Notte by Ryôji Arai, The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson, The Ghost's Child by Sonya Hartnett, The Devil Latch by Sonya Hartnett, Alors? by Kitty Crowther, Lénfant Racine by Kitty Crowther, The Arrival by Shaun Tan and Het Boek Van Alle Dingen(The Book of Everything) by Guus Kuijer.

The reading guides can be downloaded for free at http://www.alma.se/en












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