Found in Translation

  • 04
  • Aug

J.K. Rowling, Roald Dahl, Philip Pullman, Lewis Carroll, A. A. Milne, Julia Donaldson, Jacqueline Wilson… We’re fortunate in the UK to have so many great books for children written in English by authors from home shores.

But, there are many much-loved books that were written by authors from mainland Europe and originally penned in another language. Just think of Hans Christian Andersen, Tove Jansson, Herge, Erich Kastner and Astrid Lindgren.

To celebrate International Translation Day on Monday 30 September, Islington libraries are highlighting a collection of 70 children’s books that have been translated into English.

Books in the ‘Found in Translation’ list have been grouped into three age bands – 0-5, 5-8 and 8-11 – just as a guide and will be available to loan from Archway, Central, Finsbury, N4 and South libraries.

Here are some of our top picks from the list. Make sure you head down to your local library to see all 70 books!

Ages 0-5

Beatrice Alemagna / The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty
Eddie knows her mum would love a Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty for her birthday. The only problem is that she doesn’t know what a Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty is, or where to find one! Join Eddie as she tours the whole town, trying to track down the perfect present.

Werner Holzwarth / The Story of the Little Mole Who Knew it Was None of His Business
A terrible catastrophe befalls the little mole one bright, sunny morning. It looks a
little like a sausage, and the worst thing is that it lands right on his head. Our plucky
little hero sets out to find who has left their business on his head.

Jorge Luján / Trunk to Trunklet
A book about animal mummies and babies that’s funny, lively, poetic, and deeply intriguing. The art was made using frottage, hand drawing, and computer techniques. The textures produced are deep and immersive yet immediate, drawing the reader into the rich visual world of the book.

Ages 5-8

Kim Fupz Aakeson / Vitello Scratches a Car
Vitello and his mum have a new car. Well, nearly new, anyway. But the important thing is that it can’t be scratched, not if Vitello doesn’t want to be grounded, or sent to the children’s home, or worse.

Jacques Duquennoy / Little Ghost Party
Little Ghost is hosting a dance party and you’re all invited! By simply tilting the book, children will be captivated by moving various parts of each guest to replicate the dance moves, or create their own! In addition, young readers will practice associating directional phrases with motor skills.

Olof Landstrom / Boo and Baa Get Wet
Whenever Boo and Baa decide to do something, it usually gets all muddled up. Whether it rains, or they get lost, things always get straightened out, even though Boo and Baa don’t quite know how.

Ages 8-11

Andrea Camilleri / The Story of the Nose
Kovalyov wakes one morning to discover that his nose has disappeared. It has mysteriously found its way into a loaf of bread on the barber Yokovlevich’s breakfast table. The barber attempts to dispose of it, but when Kovalyov steps out onto the St Petersburg streets, he finds his nose, now the size of a human, wearing a gold-embroidered uniform and travelling around in a carriage.

Astrid Lindgren /Pippi Longstocking
Pippi is the only girl in the world who can do exactly what she likes. She is nine years old and lives in a cottage with a horse and a monkey. Her friends Tommy and Annika have to go to school and go to bed when they’re told, but they still have time to join Pippi on all her great adventures.

Anna Starobinets / Catlantis
Baguette is just a regular house cat. He likes to sit in the window, watch the birds, and eat three square meals a day. But what’s a regular house cat to do if he falls in love with a beautiful street cat who has some very strange and dangerous demands? Baguette must travel back through the Ocean of Time to the lost island of Catlantis. He must find a way to save the nine lives of all cats before it is too late. And he must outwit the wicked black cat Noir, who is hot on his tail. Only then can he hope to win the paw of Purriana.


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