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Words without borders brings us a quite neat interview with Ilan Stavans, publisher of Restless Books and their imprint for children's and young adults (YA), Yonder.

We've covered the translation of children books before from the translator point of view, now we're showing the publisher's one.


Words Without Borders (WWB): How long have you been publishing children’s literature in translation and what inspired your decision to do so?

Ilan Stavans (IS): Yonder is the new children’s and YA imprint of Restless Books. After much planning, it is launching this season. Its existence is due to two forces: The first is the desire to continue bringing superb contemporary world literature to English-language readers worldwide. It is inexcusable that Shakespeare’s tongue, compared to other languages, occupies itself so meagerly with translation. In Elizabethan times, the circulation of translation is what made London such an exciting capital. The appallingly low percentage of books in translation published annually in the United States (only 3%) must be augmented—especially in the age of Trump, when nationalism is a synonym for isolationism.

The second force is the fruitful relationships Restless Books has established with independent booksellers all over the United States and elsewhere in the English-speaking orbit, who have fed us an enormous amount of excellent suggestions of children’s and YA books that ought to be translated. As you know, translators and booksellers are the best ambassadors of literature. They listen to the pulse of what’s alive and we, in turn, listen to them closely. In large part, Yonder, as well as Restless Books, is a collaborative effort with all of them.

The interview covers a few different and interesting topics. Here are some of the questions being asked:

  • WWB: How did you select Juan Villoro’s The Wild Book as Yonder’s launch title? And how have you found the other authors/works you’ve published, or are planning to publish, with Yonder?
  • WWB: What have been some of the most exciting aspects of the undertaking so far? What (if any) have you found to be the most challenging aspect of publishing children’s literature (as opposed to literature for adults)?
  • WWB: Are there perspectives/voices/languages/cultures you’ve noticed are conspicuously absent from the children’s literature available to English readers? (A very interesting question for us translators)
  • WWB: Have you noticed different trends or subjects in the children’s and YA literature of other countries that contrasts with what we see in the US? Are there countries that have a particular focus on children’s literature in translation?
  • WWB: Do you think there has been a general upsurge in children’s publishing in recent years? What do you think has brought it about?

And a veritable quote here:


It is precisely at a young age, in childhood and adolescence, when the strongest impact can be made in terms of exposing people to other cultures. A new sensibility can emerge.

You can read the full interview here. It's quite interesting, indeed. :)

I hope that got you inspired with it today!
Let me know your thoughts below.

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