German Authors Break Into English Market

An intriguing article on German authors breaking into the English book market.  We all know of Cornelia Funke, and I have often wondered what other treasures we are missing.  Of course, that means not just German authors but world-wide, what children’s fiction could we be enjoying!  It seems to me that picture books are more likely to cross over, perhaps because translation is simpler?  I love publishers like Kane/Miller who focus on bringing in foreign titles.

There is hope:

Around twice as many licenses for German-language children and teen
literature were sold to foreign countries in 2006 than in 2001,
according to Germany’s book trade association. All told, 2,300 foreign
licenses were sold for German-language literature for children and
teens last year, far more than for adult fiction. The increase,
however, also reflected the fact that German publishers have been
granting more licenses generally.

Traveling with Reading

The San Jose Mercury News has a great article by librarian Julie Winkelstein, who writes about the lack of reading material for children when they travel.  I admit that I am guilty of this as well.  My house is filled with books for children, but when we travel we pack handheld games, DVDs, and pencil activities rather than books.  I’ll blame it on the noise of the airplane, but it really would be nice to read aloud a chapter book to my youngest, or see the oldest with his nose in a book rather than a screen.  Hmmm.  Time to pack away some reading treasures for our next trip!

Two Sticks

Two Sticks by Orel Protopopescu, pictures by Anne Wilsdorf.

This jaunty title is filled with rhythm galore as well as rhymes.  It is the story of Maybelle, a girl who moves to her own beat.  She plays with two sticks that she creates rhythms with on all sorts of objects: doors, fences, logs, and more.  She gets carried away with her drumming and finds herself falling into a swamp with only her two sticks to save her from approaching crocodiles!  You can bet that the story ends with a lot of motion, rhythm and courage.

It took me a few pages to get the beat of the this book, because I was expecting less rhythm and more standard rhyme.  But once I got it, I was completely enchanted by the beat, the repetition and the joy inherent in the text.  Just make sure that you give it a read through before reading it aloud to a group.  Wilsdorf’s illustrations add to the wild drumming and the gutsy heroine with their bright colors, flamboyant compositions, and pure fun. 

Highly recommended for a bored group of preschoolers who would enjoy moving their bodies to a beat.  I would recommending handing out rhythm instruments (or sticks) to the children to get them participating.  This is a perfect closer to a story time on crocodiles or music. 

Fred Stays with Me!

Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt, illustrated by Tricia Tusa.

In this book, a little girl moves between her father and her mother, but Fred her dog moves with her to both homes.  She explains the differences between the two homes in terms of her bedroom and what Fred does.  But both of her parents are getting tired of Fred and all of the messes and problems he creates.  Neither of them want the dog to stay with them, but the little girl has the solution. 

This is a lovely book on divorce.  It is handled matter-of-factly, rather than as a disaster for a child.  I love the girl and her spunk that she obviously gets from Fred.  The text is very brief and many of the illustrations will have people giggling, especially when Fred barks at the poodle next door. 

Usually I am not one for bibliotherapy books, but this one would be nice to give to children going through a divorce.  Otherwise, it is a good read no matter what sort of family you live in, especially a family of dog lovers.