Archive for the ‘Publishers’ Category

Kamishibai, a Storytelling Form for the Digital Age

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Kids distracted? You might want to try kamishibai.

Last month at the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY) 3rd Asia Oceania Regional Congress in Bangkok, I co-presented on kamishibai with Etsuko Nozaka, a founding member of the International Kamishibai Association of Japan (IKAJA). The best part was watching Nozaka-san captivate the audience.

Etsuko Nozaka (right) performs the kamishibai Grow, Grow, Grow Bigger by Noriko Matsui.

Kamishibai (“paper theater”) involves presenting a story by sliding a series of cardstock sheets into and out of a small stage. The text of the story is printed on back of the sheets.

The sliding motions, bold illustrations, and shape of the stage elicit such strong concentration that Nozaka-san has seen her cat focus on a kamishibai story.

The publishing house Doshinsha has a video of toddlers focusing on kamishibai as well.

Video source: www.doshinsha.co.jp/product/kamishibai.php

The IBBY Regional Congress was themed “Children’s Books in the Digital Age” and featured sessions on promoting literacy in an era of screens and fast-paced entertainment. Kamishibai seems tailored to imparting story schema and nurturing focus, even amid distractions. It also elicits a strong sense of shared feeling, or kyokan, as a group enjoys a story together. (This can be difficult to achieve when reading a picture book to a large group.)

For those who wish to try kamishibai, the Doshinsha kamishibai page lists titles available for order in English and French, as well as the regulation kamishibai stage (butai). The IKAJA Kamishibai Newsletter, which I help translate, offers information about performance techniques, suggested works, and kamishibai activities in different countries. The digital newsletter can be accessed by all IKAJA members, and membership is dues-free. For details, contact: kamishibai@ybb.ne.jp 

In closing, here is a blog post about the kamishibai workshop in Bangkok, written by a participant who tried kamishibai for the first time that day:

Using Storytelling to Engage by Sara Khamkoed

Many thanks to ThaiBBY Secretary General Pornanong Niyomka Horikawa (below left), Etsuko Nozaka (below right), JBBY, IKAJA, and all who explored kamishibai with us in Bangkok!

Kamishibai workshop, 3rd Asia Oceania Regional IBBY Congress, May 2017. Photos courtesy Etsuko Nozaka.

Publishers Weekly Features Poet Misuzu Kaneko

By Deborah Iwabuchi, Maebashi, Japan

Are You an Echo: The Lost Poetry of Misuzu Kaneko has been featured by Publishers WeeklyIf you are still trying to decide whether to reserve a copy of this picture book from Chin Music Press, due out in late September, be sure to read this in-depth introduction and have a look at a few of the beautiful illustrations. Poetry by Misuzu Kaneko, text and translation by David Jacobson, Sally Ito, and Michiko Tsuboi. Illustrations by Toshikado Hajiri.

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Japanese Children’s Literature “Dream Team” to Speak in Singapore

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Pinch me! I cannot believe that next month, I’ll be at the National Library in Singapore for Asian Festival of Children’s Content 2016, rubbing shoulders with . . . AFCC 2016 Speaker Highlights

 

These are just a few speakers set to appear in the Japan: Country of Focus track at this year’s AFCC. A full list of Japan presenters is here. This dream team includes:

Akiko Beppu, editor. Ms. Beppu nurtured the Moribito fantasy novels by Nahoko Uehashi, which became bestsellers and the basis of manga, anime, radio and TV versions (the TV dramatization is airing in Japan over three years). In a show of confidence and initiative, Ms. Beppu commissioned a full English translation of the first Moribito novel. This move helped overseas publishers read the novel in its entirety and appreciate its true quality. Result? Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness were published in English and other languages, won a Mildred L. Batchelder Award and Batchelder Honor, and paved the way for Uehashi to win the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—a biennial award also dubbed the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

Cathy Hirano, translator. Originally from Canada, Hirano has spent her adult life in Japan and become a leading translator of children’s and YA books from Japanese to English. She translated the middle grade realistic novel The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto, which won a Batchelder Award and a Boston Globe-Horn Book Award for Fiction. She translated Moribito and Moribito II, leading to Uehashi’s Andersen Award, a Batchelder, and a Batchelder Honor—becoming one of few translators to produce multiple Batchelder winners in different genres. Her first translation of the fantasy novel Dragon Sword and Wind Child by Noriko Ogiwara won so many fans that when it fell out of print in the U.S., it became a collector’s item and got republished, with a sequel. She is translator of Hanna’s Night by beloved printmaker-illustrator Komako Sakai.

fuji-2_320_320Kazuo Iwamuraauthor-illustrator, created the long-selling Family of Fourteen picture book series. This series—partially translated into English for the Japan market by the amazing Arthur Binard, and order-able from anywhere—portrays a clan of fourteen mice who bathe, sleep, cook, sing and play in ways quintessentially Japanese. It’s impossible to watch them savor their homemade bento lunches, doze off in their snug communal sleeping area, or view the full moon (from a special platform in a tree) without admiring Japan’s best traditions around family, nature and childhood. Mr. Iwamura’s books will make you want to move to Japan.

Kyoko Sakai, editor, shepherded the Family of Fourteen books and many works of kamishibai, for which her company Doshinsha is known worldwide. Yumiko Sakuma, translator, has brought famous children’s titles into Japanese, including the Rowan of Rin series from Australia and the book Of Thee I Sing by U.S. President Barack Obama. Dr. Miki Yamamoto, manga artist, has created stunning works such as How Are You? and Sunny Sunny Ann, and the wordless picture book Ribbon Around a Bomb. Satoko Yamano, singer,  is well-known for performing children’s songs in Japan, as is Toshihiko Shinzawa, singer. 

Naomi Kojima, illustrator, created the classic picture book Singing Shijimi Clams. Chihiro Iwasaki (1918-1974), artist, illustrated the novel Totto-chan: Little Girl at the Window, which is one of the world’s most-translated children’s titles. Iwasaki will be discussed by staff of the acclaimed Chihiro Art Museum, located in Tokyo and in Azumino, Nagano Prefecture.

Holly Thompson, Mariko Nagai, and Trevor Kew, authors who write from and about Japan in English, will speak about their vocation of writing between cultures.

Staff of the extensive International Library of Children’s Literature, part of Japan’s National Diet Library, will speak—as will representatives of Bookstart Japan, which provides picture books for newborn babies in more than half of the cities and towns in Japan.

I get to speak too, and I am quaking in my boots.

These folks have created a treasury of Japan children’s content, and helped to build the publishing world and literate society that support it. If you can be in Singapore on May 25-29, 2016, come hear this incredible dream team. Such a line-up of speakers is rare to see even in Japan!

Illustration © Naomi Kojima

Upper right: Logo for AFCC 2016 Japan: Country of Focus. Above: Illustration from Singing Shijimi Clams © Naomi Kojima

Andersen Award Sparks Interest in Nahoko Uehashi’s Moribito Series

Nahoko Uehashi (Goodreads)By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Author Nahoko Uehashi has smiled out from many a feature article, sales display, and book obi (advertising “sash”) in Japan since receiving the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—a biennial award sometimes dubbed the Nobel Prize for children’s literature.

This past New Year’s Eve in Kamakura, I watched Uehashi help judge the TV special Kohaku uta gassen (Red and White Singing Contest)a celebrity sing-off as famous in Japan as New Year’s Rockin’ Eve in the U.S. Uehashi judged alongside figure skater Yuzuru Hanyu and other stars. Already a bestselling author, Uehashi is now a household name.

Her acclaimed Moribito novels have been adapted for radio, manga, and anime, and the first novel will become a four-part TV drama aired beginning this March in Japan. Overseas, rights to the full book series have sold in China, with rights to individual books sold in Brazil, France, Italy, Spain, Indonesia, Taiwan, the U.S., and Vietnam. In the U.S., the first two Moribito novels—translated by Cathy Hirano as Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness—have won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and a Batchelder Honor for publisher Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc.

Haruka Ayase as Balsa (NHK)

Above: Haruka Ayase stars as Balsa in the upcoming NHK TV dramatization of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit. 

Many readers of English long to see more translations of books in the Moribito series—as shown in comments to the 2014 post on our blog announcing Uehashi’s Andersen Award. Since 2014, this post has ranked among our blog’s top-three most viewed.

Have you treated yourself to a reading of Moribito and Moribito II? If not, both books are worth adding to your 2016 reading list. Happy reading, and Happy New Year!

Moribito I and Moribito II (Goodreads)

Above: Click to read more about Nahoko Uehashi and the Moribito series at Goodreads.

 

 

Publishing with Translators in Mind: Bento Books

bb_logo_full_largeBy Wendy Uchimura, Yokohama

An in-depth interview with the three founders of Bento Books, a publishing company that focuses on Japanese contemporary fiction, is now up on the SWET website.

Bento Books: A Translator-Driven Publisher

Alexander O. Smith, Tony Gonzalez, and Joseph Reeder talk about how they set up their company, spurred by dissatisfaction at the issues translators face in the publishing process, as well as the company’s acitivites in the market and its vision.

Titles available from Bento Books include the Math Girls and Math Girls Talk About… series, Cage on the Sea, and Avatar Tuner, Vol. 1. Click here for an interview on this blog with Gonzalez, the translator of Math Girls.

Museyon Releases Picture Books from Japan

Gon, The Little FoxNew York-based publisher Museyon has released several picture books translated from Japanese. These include Timothy and Sarah: The Homemade Cake Contest by Midori Basho and Gon, The Little Fox by Niimi Nankichi, illustrated by Genjiro Mita, both translated by Mariko Shii Gharbi and edited by Richard Stull. The publisher is Akira Chiba.
For an interview with Chiba and Gharbi, see Misa Dikengil Lindberg’s June 2015 post on the SCBWI Japan main blog:

SCBWI LA 2014: A Translator’s View

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

Last month I attended the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference in Los Angeles, thanks to a generous Tribute Fund Scholarship. I soaked up info from keynote speeches, panel discussions, break-out sessions, intensives, a manuscript critique, and socials, and talked up translation and the SCBWI Japan Translation Group.

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Theme Building, Los Angeles International Airport

Children’s Book People Everywhere!

This conference was a meet-up of 1,235 children’s book people at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza, Los Angeles.

The first person I met was my roommate, illustrator and fellow Tribute Fund recipient Marsha Riti of Austin, Texas. This piece of hers shows how excited I felt!

"Feisty Tricycle" by Marsha Riti

“Feisty Tricycle” by Marsha Riti

I soon also met up with friends whom I see too rarely in Asia, beginning with SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson.

Avery Fischer Udagawa, SCBWI Japan Regional Advisor Holly Thompson, Writer Li-Hsin Tu, Illustrator Kazumi Wilds

Translator Avery Fischer Udagawa, writer Holly Thompson, writer Li-Hsin Tu, illustrator Kazumi Wilds

One of many delights of SCBWI LA was the International Social for members of all non-US regions worldwide. Special thanks to International Regional Advisor Chairperson Kathleen Ahrens of Hong Kong, Assistant International Advisor Angela Cerrito of Germany, and International Awards and Publications Coordinator Christopher Cheng of Australia. It was a bonus delight to connect with Kenneth Quek of Singapore, Director of the Asian Festival of Children’s Content!

Oodles of Opportunities

I met few translators in LA. 😦 On the upside, I found many chances to study craft and ask how to publish more translations. To quote my bit of SCBWI Japan’s blog coverage, I valued . . .

Chances to improve my work: I took part in a one-on-one manuscript critique with SCBWI President Stephen Mooser, who has authored more than 60 children’s books. He reviewed the first ten pages of my middle grade novel translation as writing in English, providing feedback on how I could improve my language. I also took a half-day intensive on novel revision with Linda Sue Park, a Newbery Award-winning author. From her I learned several ways to make a completed draft “strange” to myself, in order to spot where to streamline the language. Every segment of her intensive applied both to writing and to translation.

Opportunities to ask editors how they acquire translations: I attended break-out sessions by Alessandra Balzer, co-publisher of Balzer + Bray, an imprint of HarperCollins Children’s Books; Mary Lee Donovan, editorial director at Candlewick Press; Dinah Stevenson, publisher of Clarion Books, an imprint of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; and Julie Strauss-Gabel of Dutton Children’s Books, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group. Each of these editors fielded a question about how/whether she considers works in translation and how these might be submitted. So did Arthur Levine of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc., and Andrea Welch, senior editor at Beach Lane Books, an imprint of Simon & Schuster. Andrea’s half-day intensive on picture books exposed me to numerous new ideas, and again applied 100 percent to translations.

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Discovery while jet lagged: Source text + bobby pin + laptop = setup to prevent over-editing a first draft

 

Time to network with members of the We Need Diverse Books Campaign: The We Need Diverse Books campaign took the US children’s lit world by storm in May, showing the need for main characters of color and of diverse cultural backgrounds (among many kinds of diversity). Since translations are a source of diversity, I was thrilled to talk with authors Lamar Giles and Meg Medina, leaders in the We Need Diverse Books initiative. I also hung out at a We Need Diverse Books lunchtime chat and heard a panel by Lamar Giles, Meg Medina, Linda Sue Park, authors Sharon Flake and Suzanne Morgan Williams, and agent Adriana Dominguez. Their discussion galvanized me to bring more books from overseas to young readers. Kids deserve to explore stories from their whole world!

I got mine!

I got my button!

US Children’s Publishing in Microcosm

SCBWI LA was my best glimpse to date of the US children’s publishing world. This was partly due to “state of the industry” keynotes that detailed trends in the US market—noting, for example, that picture books are aiming younger as chapter books take off, or that contemporary realistic YA fiction still has a place, or that literary MG novels are in demand. (Hooray!)

I heard these updates and more in presentations by Justin Chanda, vice president and publisher of three Simon & Schuster children’s imprints, and Deborah Halverson, editor of SCBWI’s detailed and ever-evolving Market Survey. While neither of these speakers mentioned translations, both spoke to the need for diverse books and provided big-picture info useful to translators.

I also got an overview by looking around in the socials and sessions at this large conference, and seeing how many US authors there are. This conference was larger than one small town I lived in as a child! I learned that lots of people are creating content for US readers in English. Their work for the highly competitive US market sets the standard for translations from overseas, as well.

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola's 80th birthday

Conference-goers in costume to celebrate Tomie dePaola’s 80th birthday

We love Strega Nona!

We love Strega Nona!

Finally, insofar as SCBWI itself represents US children’s publishing, I found reasons to take heart: SCBWI has established a new Translator category for members! In addition, an Advisory Board meeting after SCBWI LA included a discussion of initiatives to support translation. I see these as encouraging signs.

Meanwhile, stocked with info from LA plus the fuel of renewed and new friendships, I am ready to return to work!

P.S. When I got home, my daughters pored over picture books I had bought in LA and claimed illustrators’ postcards to use for crafts. It was a treat to watch creators’ efforts feed hours of play!

 

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Six-year-old’s expansion on postcard by Ryan Jackson

 

For even more info on the 2014 SCBWI Summer Conference, click here for the official  blog coverage and recaps.