We are all aware of the vast number of languages our home grown children’s writers have been translated into – at last count, JK Rowlings’ Harry Potter can be read in 67 different languages and JM Barrie’s Peter Pan countless! But, according to an article in The Guardian this week, what English children are missing is the stories from the rest of the world.
The reason for this, according to prize-winning author David Almond, is lack of translation. A recent statistic from Literature Across Frontiers claimed that only 2.5% of publications in the UK had been translated from another language. Even in the hugely multi-cultural US, that figure only rises to 3%. So why are foreign language books, particularly those for children, not being translated?
According to Adam Freudenheim, managing director at independent publisher Pushkin Press, there is a misconception that “children somehow won’t ‘get’ literature from other countries”. Tell that to readers of Pippi Longstocking! Pushkin are determined to put this right with the launch of a new imprint, Pushkin Children’s Books, aiming to bring children’s literature of the world to British shores.
So, have you read any translated children’s books? Perhaps you have brought favourites with you from another country and now share them with your own children? Let us know!
image: mexikids @ www.sxc.hu