Posts Tagged ‘Stacy Whitman’

We Need Diverse Books Campaign Features Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit

We Need Diverse Books- Moribito

Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks Campaign spurs me  on as a translator, and not just because Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit appears on the campaign website this week (click image above)!

Cathy Hirano, the translator of Moribito and its sequel Moribito II: Guardian of the Darkness by Nahoko Uehashi, shares the following from a talk at AFCC 2014 by Stacy Whitman, founder of Tu Books and part of the #WeNeedDiverseBooks team:

  • 37% of the U.S. population are people of color, and
  • more than 50% of U.S. children aged 0 to 5 years are people of color; yet
  • less than 10% of children’s literature in the U.S. contains ethnic content.

In her address at AFCC, Stacy noted that translations—by definition a source of diversity—remain a tough sell in the U.S. Cheryl Robson of Aurora Metro Books, speaking in a panel with Cathy and Stacy, described a similar situation in the U.K., where only 3 to 4% of published books are translations.

Something must change. There are more than 190 countries in the world besides the U.S. and the U.K. Young readers of English deserve to know this, and to lose themselves in diverse narratives from a vast planet.

Also, the U.S. and U.K. book markets affect the reading lists of children worldwide. All children deserve to find themselves in the books they read.

Who can help them do this? Publishers, booksellers, buyers. Reviewers, educators, parents.

And translators. We often operate by accepting commissions, but we can inform publishers of promising titles, promote published translations, and nurture future translators by visiting schools. We can also buy, give, and request children’s lit in translation. We can join the groundswell of demand for diverse books.

Above all, we can translate well. We can help each other to draft, critique, revise, critique, and re-revise stories that engage readers. We can educate ourselves about our language pairs and the larger publishing world. We can network both with other translators, and with partners throughout the industry. Because we are, in a way, agents. We conduct business a little bit like illustrators. We examine our source texts with the eyes of editors. And we are, first and foremost, writers.

The #WeNeedDiverseBooks campaign shows that the translator’s vocation matters, even if it rarely puts money in the bank and sometimes draws glazed looks. (Can’t Google do that?)

Diverse stories change how our children view the world, which they will lead tomorrow. It’s enough to make me slug some coffee and get back to translating a fifth grade “date” in Tohoku.

Translators to Appear at 2014 Events in Singapore, Tokyo, LA, Yokohama

Members and friends of SCBWI Japan Translation Group will appear at several events in coming months. Here is a sampling!

AFCC logoAFCC in Singapore (30 May–4 June 2014)

Cathy Hirano, translator of acclaimed novels by Noriko Ogiwara, Kazumi Yumoto, and Nahoko Uehashi—winner of the 2014 Hans Christian Andersen Award for Writing—will appear at the 2014 Asian Festival of Children’s Content (AFCC), Singapore.

On 3 June, Cathy will present the session “Found in Translation: Asian Content for the World’s Children,” discussing why young readers need Asian stories and how translators can “channel” the voices of Asian authors. She will also join a roundtable discussion called “Go West: Translations for North American and European Markets,” focused on challenges that translators face when taking their work overseas. Cathy will join panelists Cheryl Robson, founder of Aurora Metro Books (UK), and Stacy Whitman, founder and publisher of Tu Books, an imprint of Lee & Low Books (US). Also attending AFCC at Singapore’s National Library will be Paul Quirk of SCBWI Japan Translation Group.

IJET 25 TokyoIJET in Tokyo (21–22 June 2014) 

Sako Ikegami, translator of works by Ryusuke Saito, and Alexander O. Smith, translator of Batchelder Award winner Brave Story by Miyuki Miyabe, will present at IJET-25, the 25th annual conference of the Japan Association of Translators (JAT), in Tokyo.

At IJET, Sako will speak about both medical translation and “Teen Angst—Painful, Moving in Any Tongue,” a topic of keen interest to young adult (YA) translators. Sako’s session description alone deserves a look by wordsmiths in the category. Alex will speak about the paradoxically liberating restrictions on translation of video games, manga and other forms of entertainment. Also attending IJET will be Deborah Iwabuchi and Wendy Uchimura, among many others.

SCBWI Summer Conference, Los Angeles (31 July–4 August 2014)

Avery Fischer Udagawa will attend this year’s SCBWI Summer Conference in LA thanks to a Tribute Fund scholarship. She will trawl for info on how to publish more children’s translations from Japan in English; she also hopes to connect with translators from other languages. Inquiries are welcome via her website or SCBWI Japan.

SCBWI Summer Conference 2014

Translation Day in Yokohama  (18 October 2014)

This just in! SCBWI Japan plans its next Translation Day on 18 October 2014 in Yokohama. As in 2010 and 2012, Translation Day 2014 will include presentations, critiques, and conversation for published and pre-published translators of Japanese children’s literature into English. Featured speakers will include Juliet Winters Carpenter, a prolific translator of everything from folktales to poetry to novels—including A True Novel by Minae Mizumura, which just won the 2014 Next Generation Indie Book Award’s Grand Prize in Fiction. Is this retelling of Wuthering Heights set in postwar Japan a YA novel? Join us at Yokohama International School to find out!



Shakes with Stacy Whitman of Tu Books

Posted by Avery Fischer Udagawa, Bangkok

On a trip to New York this month I met Stacy Whitman, editorial director of Tu Books, a new imprint of Lee & Low Books that focuses on MG/YA mystery, science fiction, and fantasy books with multicultural themes and characters. The Tu Books logo features a Japanese-style floating lantern, and the name Tu comes from the Ainu word for “many” as well as the word for “you” in Spanish and other languages. As Stacy (above right) builds Tu Books, she hopes to become known for publishing books in English translation, including titles translated from Japanese. I enjoyed talking with her over frozen custard in Madison Square Park. Wishing Tu well, Stacy!