Tag: international

11 Most Popular Children’s Books From Around the World

In celebration of International Children’s Book day, we look at eleven countries, from Saudi Arabia to India, and their most popular children’s books.

All across the globe are stories to share with our young generation. Focusing on countries with the most amount of reading overall, according to research found by online publication The Independent, we picked these countries listed below.

 

 

11. From Saudi Arabia:  The Green Bicycle, written by Haifaa Al Mansour

 

Image via Amazon

 

Spunky eleven-year-old Wadjda lives in Riyadh, Saudi Arabia with her parents. She desperately wants a bicycle so that she can race her friend Abdullah, even though it is considered improper for girls to ride bikes. Wadjda earns money for her dream bike by selling homemade bracelets and mixtapes of banned music to her classmates. But after she’s caught, she’s forced to turn over a new leaf (sort of), or risk expulsion from school. Still, Wadjda keeps scheming, and with the bicycle so closely in her sights, she will stop at nothing to get what she wants.

Set against the shifting social attitudes of the Middle East, The Green Bicycle explores gender roles, conformity, and the importance of family, all with wit and irresistible heart.

 

 

 

10. From Hungary: Vuk The Fox Club, written by István Fekete

 

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Meet Vuk, the little fox cub whose family has been killed by the “Smooth skins”. He is not alone, though, his uncle Karack takes good care of him, takes him to his own home and teaches him to hunt. By the end of winter after surviving a dangerous fox-hunt Vuk himself is an experienced hunter, not only can he protect himself but frees his sister from the Smooth skins’ captivity. When Chelle, his future mate comes along, Vuk is a grown up fox, one of the bravest in the woods.

 

9. From France: Pomelo Begins To Grow, written by Ramona Bandescu

 

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What happens as a little one begins to grow? Do parts of the body grow unequally? If the outside grows, does that mean the inside is changing too? Children love it when they begin to grow! But they also have questions and maybe even worry a little too. Pomelo Begins to Grow explores this rich material with playfulness and humor, without undercutting the importance of the questions.

 

 

8. From Sweden: The Grand Expedition, written by Emma Adbåge

 

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They have made a very serious decision―they are going on an adventure. All by themselves, just the two of them. Dad might offer a suggestion or two, but this expedition is just for them!

Of course, they will have to bring coffee and pickles and blankets and a cozy tent. And, just in case, a jump rope to use as a lasso. They set up camp in the lee of a small mountain (or, in their backyard) and get ready for an evening of fun. But when the pickles are gone and the mosquitoes come out, what’s to be done? The Grand Expedition is the quietly comic story of two kids and their dad and the everyday adventures that make life great.

 

7. From Russia: The Old Genie Hottabych, written by Lazar Lagin

 

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This amusing and fascinating children’s book is often called the Russian “Thousand and One Nights.”

Who is the old Genie Hottabych?

This is what the author has to say of him: “In one of Scheherazade’s tales I read of the Fisherman who found a copper vessel in his net. In the vessel was a mighty Genie -a magician who had been imprisoned in the bottle for nearly two thousand years. The Genie had sworn to make the one who freed him rich, powerful and happy.

“But what if such a Genie suddenly came to life in the Soviet Union, in Moscow? I tried to imagine what would have happened if a very ordinary Russian boy had freed him from the vessel.

“And imagine, I suddenly discovered that a schoolboy named Volka Kostylkov, the very same Volka who used to live on Three Ponds Street, you know, the best diver at summer camp last year . . . On second thought, I believe we had better begin from the beginning . . . “

 

6. From Czech Rebublic: This Is Paris, written by Miroslav Sasek

 

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With the same wit and perception that distinguished his charming books on London, New York, and San Francisco, here this famous Czech painter presents his impressions of Paris in This Is Paris, first published in 1959 and now updated for the 21st century.  We see its famous buildings, its beautiful gardens, the museums, the sidewalk cafes, and the people who live there — artists, the concierges, the flower girls, and even the thousands of cats. Take a tour along the banks of the Seine, or through the galleries of the Louvre, or to the top of the Eiffel Tower.  Elegant, vivid pictures of one of the most beautiful cities in the world, This is Paris!

 

With a series of books entitled, This Is…, Sasek makes his own artistic impressions of various cities.

 

 

5. From Egypt: Arabian Nights and Days: A Novel, written by Naguib Mahfouz

 

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The Nobel Prize-winning Egyptian writer Naguib Mahfouz refashions the classic tales of Scheherazade into a novel written in his own imaginative, spellbinding style. Here are genies and flying carpets, Aladdin and Sinbad, Ali Baba, and many other familiar stories from the tradition of The One Thousand and One Nights, made new by the magical pen of the acknowledged dean of Arabic letters, who plumbs their depths for timeless truths.

 

 

4. From the Philippines: Tall Story, written by Candy Gourlay

 

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Andi is short. And she has lots of wishes. She wishes she could play on the school basketball team, she wishes for her own bedroom, but most of all she wishes that her long-lost half-brother, Bernardo, could come and live in London where he belongs.

Then Andi’s biggest wish comes true and she’s minutes away from becoming someone’s little sister. As she waits anxiously for Bernardo to arrive from the Philippines, she hopes he’ll turn out to be tall and just as crazy as she is about basketball. When he finally arrives, he’s tall all right. Eight feet tall, in fact—plagued by condition called Gigantism and troubled by secrets that he believes led to his phenomenal growth.

In a novel packed with quirkiness and humor, Gourlay explores a touching sibling relationship and the clash of two very different cultures.

 

 

3. From China: Guji Guji, written by Chih-Yuan Chen

 

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Guji Guji is just your ordinary, everyday, run-of-the-mill duck…um, crocodile…um, duck… In this engaging story about identity, loyalty and what it really means to be a family, Guji, Guji makes some pretty big decisions about who he is, what he is, and what it all means, anyway.

 

 

2. From Thailand: Hush! A Thai Lullaby, written by Mingfong Ho

 

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Vivid ink and cut paper illustrations accompany the bedtime story in rhyme of one mother’s efforts to keep all the animals from the mosquito to the elephant quiet when their noise threatens to wake up her baby.

 

 

And last but not least, the country with the most  reading and their most popular children’s book is…

1 From India: Of Course It’s Butterfingers, written by Khyrunnisa A.

 

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Even when Amar Kishen-better known as Butterfingers-isn’t stumbling through misadventures, he sure has disaster tailing him every step of the way.

And now that he’s back, his ‘brilliant’ ideas land him in trouble (as usual), whether it’s messing around with an Egyptian mummy, playing cricket with an all-girls team, dropping a watch in a swimming pool or saving a rock star’s life!

Join the irrepressible Butterfingers in this exciting new installment of side-splitting short stories.

 

 

Each of these books would make a great addition to your child’s library, no matter what country they are from.

 

Together let’s enjoy the love of reading with our kids, without any borders.

 

Featured Image via Street Roots

Women, Small Presses Dominate Man Booker International Prize Longlist

Founded in 2016, The Man Booker International Prize exists to spread fiction in translation to worldwide audience. The Man Booker Prize itself, established several decades earlier in 1969, “guarantees a worldwide readership” and an enormous spike in book sales; the international version aims to offer the same visibility to an international author whose work may otherwise remain lodged behind the language barrier—tragically inaccessible to the general populace. The Man Booker International Prize aims to change that.

 

In 2019, translated fiction sales jumped 5.5%

 

Given the nature of the award, its winners are inherently diverse: drawn from throughout the world and writing in languages that may be less accessible to a Western audience. While some nominees are from Western Europe and South America, many are also from Scandinavia, Eastern Europe and Asia, regions whose languages are not taught as frequently in Western schools. The publicity surrounding this prestigious award typically grants its winner an international readership whose value cannot be understated—for instance, a novel written in Polish, a less widely-spoken language, may have an incredibly limited audience regardless of the quality of writing. Poland also has a lower population density than a larger country like China, further limiting the market of possible buyers.

This year in particular, the award’s diversity is more than a matter of geography. Women comprise eight of thirteen longlisted nominees, and all but two books are small press publications. In the age of self-publishing and indie bookstores—an age of increasing ability to shirk the confines of tradition—these nominations are deeply reflective of the increasingly diverse (and increasingly individualized!) nature of publishing. Of course, it’s a matter of geography as well—translated languages include Polish, Spanish, Korean, Arabic, French, German, Chinese, Swedish, and Dutch.

 

"More translated fiction is read now than ever in this millennium."

 

This year, the group of five judges is comprised entirely of women and people of color (though no women of color), each a respected academic or writer. The full list of nominees is now available; the shortlist is anticipated for April 9th. In the award’s tradition of respecting translation as an art form, both the author and translator will receive an even half of the £50,000 prize.

One author to watch out for is Olga Tokarczuk, whose Polish-language novel Flights won the prize in 2018. She’s up for a second consecutive nomination: Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead, translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones, has made the list for 2019.

 

All In-text Images Via Man Booker Prize Twitter.
Featured Image Via Penguin Books.

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6 Victor Hugo Quotes to Set Your Mind Free

French poet and novelist Victor Hugo, author of Les Misérables, is known for his delicate language which leaves readers experiencing a myriad of feels.

 

Though Hugo’s impactful words can elicit strong emotion in his readers, his words also have the ability to take away the anxiety and worries that burden us. Here are 6 Victor Hugo quotes to set your mind free:

 

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Featured Image Via ‘Amelia Musical Playhouse’

All Quote Images Via ‘Quotefancy’

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Quiz: Pick a Library and We’ll Reveal Which Word Describes You

You can tell a lot about a bookworm from their reading preferences. Luckily for us reading fanatics, the universe has granted us a sea of libraries to choose from and believe it or not, the libraries we choose can often tell a lot about us. Find out which personality trait you embody based on your library preferences!

 

 

 

Featured Image Via Mark Shimazu

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5 Literary Locations to Give You the Travel Bug

If you’re anything like me then you might think to yourself, “There are so many things to do and places in the world to see, how will I ever get around to it all?” Luckily for us, we have books to help ease our wallets and escape to new places without the pressure of leaving our responsibilities behind.

 

Of course, in an effort to help us escape our droll lives, I find that it simultaneously makes me eager to visit these far-off lands. The map I’ve marked, mentally, is filled with different literary pins of locations I dream of seeing one day. Here are my top five literary dream destinations.

 

1. Paris

 

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I am a huge fan of French literature in particular, and one of my all-time favorite novels is the 1831 novel by Victor Hugo, Notre Dame de Paris (more commonly known to English-speaking readers as The Hunchback of Notre Dame). I dream of one day approaching that beautiful and ancient cathedral, caressing its stonework with my unworthy hand, and hearing Hugo’s prose ring through my head as I say a silent “thank you” to one of my literary heroes. On top of my own personal love for Victor Hugo and for Hunchback, I also want to visit the city where so many Modernist writers took refuge away from their native lands.

 

2. Rome 

 

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As a Shakespeare enthusiast, there is nothing I would enjoy more than having the opportunity to tour the country where countless of his plays were set. Romeo and Juliet, Julius Caesar, The Merchant of Venice, Taming of the Shrewhave all found homes within the Italian landscape. Although I would be eager to tour the entire peninsula, if I had to pick one location based upon one of Shakespeare’s plays, I would have to go with Rome because of how much I thoroughly enjoyed reading Julius Caesar, as well as being incredibly fascinated by Roman history. To see the ruins of a world that was already ancient when Shakespeare was writing would be to stand in the glory of what humans are capable of accomplishing. 

 

3. Dublin

 

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I could very well be one of the few people alive that will genuinely tell you that I love James Joyce. I loved DublinersI loved Portrait of the Artist as a Young Manand I even loved UlyssesJoyce left Dublin when he was still a young man, and he spent the rest of his life touring Europe before settling in Paris as an ex-patriate of Ireland. Dublin was still his home, however, and all of his literature is set in the city regardless of how long it might have been since he had last inhabited it. Today, Dublin pays massive tribute to Joyce, and I wish for the chance to walk the streets and see the sites that he so vividly recalled in Ulysses. 

 

4. Salem

 

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As someone who delights in horror and Halloween, I am ashamed to admit that I have never been to Salem, Massachusetts. On top of being a haven of history, it’s also been the setting for so many books, movies, and plays. One of the first stories that comes to mind is Arthur Miller’s play, The Crucible. The story itself is an allegory for the American fascination with catching Communists during the 50s, but uses the Salem Witch Trial to exemplify this point. Aside from actual literature, though, is the simple fact that so many stories concerning these witch trials and the horrible ways witches were…dealt with have been passed down, orally, through the years. I imagine visiting the New England town during a crisp autumn weekend in October, right before all of the leaves have changed and fallen to the ground. 

 

5. Oxford

 

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I must say that I am a humongous fan of J.R.R. Tolkien, and have always envisioned visiting the place that he called “home” for a large portion of his life. Oxford is the place where he wrote The Lord of the Ringsand it’s also the place where he eventually died. Although Tolkien was actually born in South Africa, he was raised and lived his entire life in England. The small cottage he inhabited is apparently marked by a simple plaque, but regardless, 20 Northmoor Road is a location that I would be more than honored to visit. In addition to his famous trilogy and The Hobbit, Tolkien also translated various early Anglo-Saxon texts such as Beowulf and Sir Gawain and the Green Knight, and his translations rank amongst my favorites. 

 

Perhaps one day I will stop spending all of my money on books and food, and actually have the opportunity to save up and visit all of these places rather than simply read about them!

 

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Feature Image Via Amazon