Booklist

Ready to read? Here is some recommended Japanese children’s literature in English translation. This list is far from exhaustive. For additional titles, please see the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative Translation Database.

Picture Books

ANIMALS BRAG ABOUT THEIR BOTTOMS by Maki Saito, trans. Brian Bergstrom (Greystone Kids, 2020)

ARE YOU AN ECHO? THE LOST POETRY OF MISUZU KANEKO by David Jacobson, illus. Toshikado Hajiri, poems trans. Sally Ito and Michiko Tsuboi (Chin Music Press, 2016)

THE BEAR AND THE WILDCAT by Kazumi Yumoto, illus. Komako Sakai, trans. Cathy Hirano (Gecko Press, 2011)

CHIRRI & CHURRA series by Kaya Doi, trans. David Boyd (Enchanted Lion Books, 2016-21)

EVERY COLOR OF LIGHT by Hiroshi Osada, illus. Ryoji Arai, trans. David Boyd (Enchanted Lion Books, 2020)

EVERYONE POOPS by Taro Gomi, trans. Amanda Mayer Stinchecum (Kane/Miller Book Publishers, 2001)

THE FAMILY OF FOURTEEN series by Kazuo Iwamura, trans. Arthur Binard (Doshinsha, 2005)

GROW, GROW, TOME SWEET POTATOES by Hiromi Watanabe, illus. Hiroko Takai, trans. Holly Thompson (Miyoshi Town, 2020)

JUMP! by Katsuhide Matsuoka, trans. Cathy Hirano (Gecko Press, 2019)

HANNAH’S NIGHT by Komako Sakai, trans. Cathy Hirano (Gecko Press, 2013)

THE NURSE AND THE BAKER: THE STORY OF CHELSEA BUNS IN OBUSE by Mika Ichii and Toshiko Nakajima, trans. Hart Larrabee (Sanctuary, 2009)

OUR FOLKTALES: THE ALL-TIME FAVOURITE FOLKTALES OF ASIA ed. Ruth Wan-Lau, including ISSUN-BOSHI trans. Naomi Kojima (WS Education, 2021)

THE PUPPETS ARE BACK! CHIKUMAZAWA KURUMA NINGYO PUPPETRY by Noriko Sagesaka, trans. Holly Thompson (Miyoshi Town, 2020)

RAIN WON’T by Kenji Miyazawa, illus. Koji Yamamura, trans. Arthur Binard (Imajinsha, 2013)

SATO THE RABBIT by Yui Ainoya, trans. Michael Blaskowsky (Enchanted Lion Books, 2021)

THE WORLD’S POOREST PRESIDENT SPEAKS OUT ed. Yoshimi Kusaba, illus. Gaku Nakagawa, trans. Andrew Wong (Enchanted Lion Books, 2020)

Chapter Books

RUDOLF & IPPAI ATTENA by Hiroshi Saito, trans. Deborah Iwabuchi and Kazuko Enda (Kodansha, 2017)

YOURS SINCERELY, GIRAFFE and sequel DEAR PROFESSOR WHALE by Megumi Iwasa, illus. Jun Takabatake, trans. Cathy Hirano

Middle Grade

THE BIRTH OF KITARO and sequels by Shigeru Mizuki, trans. Zack Davisson (Drawn and Quarterly, 2016)

THE FRIENDS by Kazumi Yumoto, trans. Cathy Hirano (Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2015)

  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award
  • Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction

THE I WONDER BOOKSTORE by Shinsuke Yoshitake, trans. Geoffrey Trousselot (Chronicle Books, 2019)

J-BOYS: KAZUO’S WORLD, TOKYO, 1965 by Shogo Oketani, trans. Avery Fischer Udagawa (Stone Bridge Press, 2011)

KIKI’S DELIVERY SERVICE by Eiko Kadono, trans. Emily Balistrieri (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2020)

  • Hans Christian Andersen Award laureate

THE SECRET OF THE BLUE GLASS by Tomiko Inui, trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori (Pushkin Children’s, 2016)

SOUL LANTERNS by Shaw Kuzki, trans. Emily Balistrieri (Delacorte Books for Young Readers, 2021)

TEMPLE ALLEY SUMMER by Sachiko Kashwiaba, illus. Miho Satake, trans. Avery Fischer Udagawa (Restless Books, 2021)

TOTTO-CHAN: THE LITTLE GIRL AT THE WINDOW by Tetsuko Kuroyanagi, illus. Chihiro Iwasaki, trans. Dorothy Britton (Kodansha USA, 20120)

Young Adult

THE BEAST PLAYER and THE BEAST WARRIOR by Nahoko Uehashi, trans. Cathy Hirano (Holt Books for Young Readers, 2019-20)

  • GLLI Translated YA Book Prize
  • Hans Christian Andersen Award laureate
  • Mildred L. Batchelder Honor
  • Michael L. Printz Honor

BRAVE STORY by Miyuki Miyabe, trans. Alexander O. Smith (VIZ Media, 2007)

  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award

CHAIN MAIL: ADDICTED TO YOU by Hiroshi Ishizaki, trans. Richard Kim (TokyoPop, 2007)

COLORFUL by Eto Mori, trans. Jocelyne Allen (Counterpoint, 2021)

THE DEVIL’S WHISPER by Miyuki Miyabe, trans. Deborah Iwabuchi (Kodansha USA, 2011)

DRAGON SWORD AND WIND CHILD by Noriko Ogiwara, trans. Cathy Hirano (VIZ Media, 2007)

THE GIRL WITH THE WHITE FLAG by Tomiko Higa, trans. Dorothy Britton (Kodansha USA, 2013)

GO by Kazuki Kaneshiro, trans. Tamai Nieda (AmazonCrossing, 2018)

  • Freeman Book Award, YA/High School

ICO: CASTLE IN THE MIST by Miyuki Miyabe, trans. Alexander O. Smith (VIZ Media, 2011).

MATH GIRLS by Hiroshi Yuki, trans. Tony Gonzalez (Bento Books, 2011).

MORIBITO: GUARDIAN OF THE SPIRIT and MORIBITO II: GUARDIAN OF THE DARKNESS by Nahoko Uehashi, trans. Cathy Hirano (Arthur A. Levine Books, 2008-9)

  • Mildred L. Batchelder Award, Honor
  • Hans Christian Andersen Award laureate

MS. ICE SANDWICH by Mieko Kawakami, trans. Louise Heal Kawai (Pushkin Press, 2018)

MY BROTHER’S HUSBAND by Gengoroh Tagame, trans. Anne Ishii (Pantheon, 2017)

  • GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

PENGUIN HIGHWAY by Tomihiko Morimi, trans. Andrew Cunningham (Yen On, 2019)

REQUIEM by Shizuko Go, trans. Geraldine Harcourt (Kodansha USA, 1985)

REFLECTIONS ON STOLEN YOUTH: 1945←2015, ed. Naomi Kitagawa and Motomi Murata, trans. Deborah Iwabuchi (korocolor, 2020)

SHOWA: A HISTORY OF JAPAN series by Shigeru Mizuki, trans. Zack Davisson (Drawn and Quarterly, 2013-15)

SWEET BEAN PASTE by Durian Sukegawa, trans. Alison Watts (Oneworld, 2017)

TOMO: FRIENDSHIP THROUGH FICTION—AN ANTHOLOGY OF JAPAN TEEN STORIES, ed. Holly Thompson, includes ten translations (Stone Bridge Press, 2012)

WANDERING SON series by Takako Shimura, trans. Rachel Thorn (Fantagraphics Books, 2011-15)

THE WHALE THAT FELL IN LOVE WITH A SUBMARINE by Akiyuki Nosaka, trans. Ginny Tapley Takemori (Pushkin Press, 2015)

Our thanks to Chinese Books for Young Readers, whose booklist inspired this page.

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