Posts Tagged ‘Batchelder Honor’

Nahoko Uehashi and Cathy Hirano Speak in 2020 Printz Virtual Ceremony (6:07-17:24)

By Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

This past Monday, June 29, I rose early for a megadose of inspiration: Nahoko Uehashi and Cathy Hirano speaking in the American Library Association’s 2020 Michael L. Printz Virtual Ceremony!

Uehashi and Hirano were accepting the Printz Honor for The Beast Player, a novel also named a 2020 Batchelder Honor Book.

In her acceptance speech, subtitled by Hirano, Uehashi described how the novel had grown in her mind from concrete experiences, such as inexplicably imagining (while driving!) a girl standing on a cliff in the wind, and reading a book by a beekeeper.

In her own acceptance speech, Hirano reflected on traveling from her native Canada to Japan at age 20 and then settling there. She had been inspired at age 12 by Bahá’u’lláh’s words, “The earth is but one country and mankind its citizens.”

I found it rare and exciting to see an overseas author and translator feature in ALA’s awards day, during which the Caldecott, Newbery, and many other well-known awards were also conferred. The speeches made me want to get right back to translating!

Videos of all speeches from #TheBookAwardCelebration may now be found here. Thank you to the honorees, the 2020 Printz Committee, and the ALA for making Uehashi’s and Hirano’s speeches available!

The Beast Warrior, the sequel to The Beast Player, will be published Stateside on July 28, 2020.

Batchelder, Printz Honors for The Beast Player

By Malavika Nataraj, Singapore

The new decade has begun on a high note for Cathy Hirano: Her translation of Nahoko Uehashi’s YA novel The Beast Player has been named a Batchelder Honor Book and a Printz Honor Book for 2020!

Hirano is no stranger to accolades. As the translator of Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit and Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness by Uehashi, as well as The Friends by Kazumi Yumoto, Hirano has three prior Batcheldor Award/Honor books under her belt. In addition, her translation of Yours Sincerely, Giraffe by Megumi Iwasa, illustrated by Jun Takabatake, was shortlisted for the 2018 UKLA Book Awards, and her translation of the non-fiction book The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up by Marie Kondo and its sequel are international best-sellers. She has translated across numerous age categories and genres, from picture books to adult books and from nonfiction to fantasy.

The Beast Player in English encompasses the first two volumes in a series by the cultural anthropologist and author Nahoko Uehashi, recipient of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing.

The Beast Player is set in a multicultural and complex world. It follows the adventures of a young, biracial orphan girl named Elin who is raised in the mountains by a beekeeper. She is later trained in a school for beast doctors, where she learns to tame huge, winged, wolf-like creatures who help her in her quest to save the kingdom’s throne.

Cathy Hirano’s enchanting translation has made this pacy and thrilling story possible for English-reading audiences to enjoy, about a decade after it took Japanese readers by storm.