ORIGIN early 17th cent.: via French from Italian gazzetta, originally gazeta de la novità (because the news-sheet sold for a gazeta, a Venetian coin of small value)

Thursday, February 10, 2011

The Batchelder Award?

Every year, we await the announcement of the Newbery and the Caldecott awards. "Moon Over Manifest," by Clare Vanderpool, is the 2011 Newbery Medal Award winner for the most outstanding contribution to children's literature, and the Caldecott Award for the most distinguished American picture book has been awarded to Erin E. Stead for "A Sick Day for Amos McGee."

But the American Library Association bestows many other awards for children's literature: among others, the Printz Award, for excellence in literature written for young adults; the Coretta Scott King Award, for an African American author of outstanding books for children and young adults; the Alex Awards, for the ten best book that appeal to teen audiences; the Theodor Seuss Geisel Award, for the most distinguished beginning reader book… and the Mildred L. Batchelder Award

What was that last award?

One of those "other awards" receiving very little attention and even less press is one that interests me particularly. It is the Mildred L. Batchelder Award for an outstanding children's book first published in another language other than English, and then translated and subsequently published in the United States. I was extremely pleased to see that this year's winner was for a book originally published in French, and then translated from French to English.

This year's Batchelder selection is "A Time of Miracles," released in France in 2009 and entitled Le Temps des Miracles, written by Anne-Laure Bondoux and published by Bayard Jeunesse Millézime, translated from the French to English by Y. Maudet, published in English in the US by Delacorte Press Books.

Despite the glowing reviews the book received in France when it was published in 2009, American publishers are still leery of taking on the risk of a book translated from another language for American readers. "A Time of Miracles" is not the first book Delacorte Press has taken a risk on, and this publisher is to be commended for expanding young readers' horizons by offering them literature that speaks to the universal heart, yet through the prism of a culture other than our own.

Bravo, Anne-Laure Bondoux!
Bravo, Y. Maudet!
Bravo, Delacorte Press Books!


  1. Sheila McGrory-KlyzaFebruary 15, 2011 at 8:48 AM

    I agree about how important it is to introduce young Americans to literature that is created beyond our borders--not only because there is so much excellent literature out there, but also because of the exposure it gives them at an early age to other cultures and traditions. This exposure is crucial from an educational standpoint, and also for global understanding.

  2. I'm always grateful for books that expose kids to a way of life and cultural traditions outside the realm of their own experiences. The film industry also struggles in the same way. I'd love to see more films that originate elsewhere in the world!