By Claire Storey
cropped-wkl-website-bannerIn September every year, Project World Kid Lit celebrates #WorldKidLitMonth. But what is it, and how can you get involved?

World Kid Lit is a collective of interested individuals – mainly translators – who work to highlight the importance of translated literature for children and young people. Only 5% of the world speak English as a native language which means as English speakers, unless we translate, we’re missing out on a whole world of books. Translated books are a great way to look into the lives of people in different countries and see those cultures reflected authentically on the pages.

There is much discussion about diversity and inclusion in the books our children read, a point that is vitally important in a city such as Derby with rich multicultural and multilingual communities. It is important that all children see themselves reflected in the pages they read, but just as important is that they are also seen by other children around them.

#WorldKidLitMonth in September is the perfect opportunity to explore the world through children’s books and we invite you to join in the celebrations.

  • Read the World: In your class or at home with your family, why not set off on a reading tour of the world, reading a book in translation from every continent? Print out our regional book lists and stick the book covers to a map or globe as you progress on your reading journey!
  • Show us your shelves: do you have any translated kids’ and YA books on your bookshelves? What language were they first written in? Please share pics on your social media! #WorldKidLitMonth #shelfie #namethetranslator
  • Read and review a children’s or young adult book translated into English from another language. It needn’t be long: just a photo and a few words on Twitter or Instagram, a longer review for your blog or newsletter, or a guest review for World Kid Lit – we welcome reviews by readers of all ages!
  • Watch World Kid Lit Live! Hear about how books for young people travel about the globe in a series of online discussions · Join the conversation online: Twitter, Instagram, Facebook page and our Facebook discussion group
  • Spread the word! Please tell your friends about World Kid Lit month, especially educators, booksellers and librarians
  • Journalists and bloggers, you’ll find free graphics and the press release in our public press pack

To help you embark on your reading journey, I’ve put together a few suggestions of where to start:

Picture 1Ready, Steady, School! by Marianne Dubuc, translated by Sarah Ardizzone – French / Canada (Book Island)

Perfect for little ones starting school in September. There’s so much to look at in this huge picture book.


Picture 2Tomorrow by Nadine Kaadan, translated by the author – Arabic / Syria (Lantana)

This book is about Yazan who can’t go out to play any more because of the conflict where he lives. A really important book to share together.



Picture 3Dear Professor Whale by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake, translated by Cathy Hirano – Japanese / Japan (Gecko Press)

If you’ve been enjoying the Olympics this summer, you can find out what happened at the Whale Point Olympics organised by Professor Whale and his friends. Who will win?


Picture 4Inside the Villains by Clotilde Perrin, translated by Daniel Hahn – French / France (Gecko Press)

We often think of lift-the-flap books for little kids. This incredible work of art by Clotilde Perrin shows that older children can enjoy picture books too!



Picture 5Akissi, Tales of Mischief, More Tales of Mischief and Even More Tales of Mischief by Marguerite Abouet and Mathieu Sapin, translated by Marie Bédrune and Judith Taboy – French / Cote d’Ivoire (Flying Eye Books)

Akissi’s not going to take no from anyone. She plays football and climbs trees even though the boys say she can’t. A great set of three graphic novels with a strong female protagonist.

Picture 6Picture 7The Murderer’s Ape and The False Rose by Jakob Wegelius translated by Peter Graves – Swedish / Sweden (Pushkin Press)

This saga tells the story of much-loved protagonist Sally Jones. She’s a gorilla, but not just any gorilla. Go with her as she journeys across the seas to carry out an important mission. And for fans, the great news is that Sally Jones’ next adventure is due out in the autumn – hurray for more adventures with The False Rose.

Picture 9The Beast Player and The Beast Warrior by Nahoko Uehashi, translated by Cathy Hirano – Japanese / Japan (Pushkin Press)

Winner of the 2020 Global Literature in Libraries Initiative (GLLI) Translated Young Adult Book Prize, this is a must for lovers of epic fantasy stories.


Picture 11Dragonfly Eyes by Cao Wenxuan, translated by Helen Wang. Chinese / China (Walker Books)

This work of historical fiction is a family saga spanning 50 years, taking the reader from the France of the Golden Age, through the Cultural Revolution to poverty-stricken Shanghai. The power of family, strength and determination really shine through.


Picture 12Here the Whole Time by Vitor Martins, translated by Larissa Helena – Portuguese/ Brazil (Hodder)

This queer novel from Brazil won the GLLI Translated Young Adult Book Prize in 2021, and deals with topics such as body confidence and bullying. This is one of my favourites. You can’t help but fall in love with Felipe!


Picture 13Bicki Books, various authors and translators – Latvian / Latvia (The Emma Press)

Each of these cute postcard sized poetry books contains a different poem and unique, stunning illustrations. Perfect to enjoy or give to friends in party bags.

Picture 15Aquí era Paraíso / Here was Paradise by Humberto Ak’Abal – Maya K’iche’, translated into Spanish by the author then translated into English by Hugh Hazelton / Guatemala. Illustrated by Amelia Lau Carling (Groundwood Books)

New out in August, this bilingual collection of poems by celebrated Guatemalan Maya K’iche’ poet Humberto Ak’Abal is beautiful. Drawing on nature as well dealing with topics of death, poverty and love. My favourite is Bird Songs. Which will be your favourite?

When you’re buying your books, don’t forget to support our local independent book shops, Bearded Badger Books in Belper, or Five Leaves Bookshop in Nottingham.

You’ll find many more ideas and resources on the World Kid Lit website, making it easier than ever to pick a place in the world and fly there with a book.

Claire_StoreyLet's Chat

Claire Storey is a literary translator working from German and Spanish into English with a particular interest in books for young readers.

Claire regularly volunteers in schools talking about careers with languages and was named Outreach Champion by the Institute of Translation and Interpreting in April 2021.

Claire is also excited to be a Mainframe Champion.

Find out more www.clairestoreylanguages.co.uk On Twitter @ClaireStorey16