As the days grow hotter and the school year draws to a close, you—and the kids in your life—might have some extra time on your hands. To help you plan your summer reading list, we’ve picked out ten of the most exciting translated children’s titles coming out in the next few months, ranging from picture books for very young readers to middle-grade and YA novels. From Ukraine, Venezuela, Finland, Taiwan, and more, these imaginative and beautifully illustrated books are sure to enrich your TBR pile this summer and beyond.
1. The Magical Bookshop by Katja Frixe, translated from German by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp
Katja Frixe's middle-grade children’s book tells the story of Clara, whose favorite place is the bookshop. When it threatens to close down, she and her new friends must work together to save it. Translated by Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp and illustrated by Florentine Prechtel, The Magical Bookshop is out this month from Rock the Boat.
2. The Caiman by María Eugenia Manrique, translated from Spanish by Amy Brill
A clockmaker adopts a baby alligator in María Eugenia Manrique’s The Caiman, translated by Amy Brill and forthcoming from Amazon Crossing in July. Originally published in Venezuela, this picture book for younger readers features illustrations by award-winning artist Ramón París.
3. Temple Alley Summer by Sachiko Kashiwaba, translated from Japanese by Avery Fischer Udagawa
This middle-grade novel by beloved Japanese author Sachiko Kashiwaba follows a boy’s mystical adventure with ghosts and zombies. Illustrated by Miho Satake and translated by Avery Fischer Udagawa, Temple Alley Summer will be available from Yonder in July.
4. Sleepy Stories by Mario Levrero, translated from Spanish by Alicia López
Uruguayan author Mario Levrero's first children's book to appear in English features stories set in a whimsical dreamworld brought to life by Diego Bianki’s illustrations. Sleepy Stories is forthcoming from Elsewhere Editions in July in Alicia López’s translation.
5. Sight by Romana Romanyshyn and Andriy Lesiv, translated from Ukrainian by Vitaly Chernetsky
In this nonfiction book for middle-grade readers, the husband-and-wife team of Romanyshyn and Lesiv provide an overview of how vision works. Translated by Vitaly Chernetsky, Sight, the companion to the couple’s previous book Sound, is forthcoming from Chronicle Books in July.
6. Leilong the Library Bus by Julia Liu, translated from Chinese by Helen Wang
This picture book for younger readers, illustrated by Bei Lynn, tells the story of a book-loving dinosaur who has trouble following the rules of the library. Julia Liu's Leilong the Library Bus, translated by Helen Wang, will be available from Gecko Press in August.
7. Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise by Humberto Ak'abal, self-translated from Ki'che' to Spanish and translated from Spanish to English by Hugh Hazelton
Adults and children alike will enjoy this bilingual selection of work by the renowned Maya poet Humberto Ak'abal, whose Spanish translations of his own Ki'che' poems appear alongside English translations by Hugh Hazelton. Edited by Patsy Aldana and illustrated by Amanda Lau Carling, Aquí era el paraíso / Here Was Paradise will be available from Groundwood Books in August.
8. One Day by Lee Juck, translated from Korean by Asuka Minamoto
A delicate exploration of grief, this picture book by Lee Juck follows a boy coping with the loss of his grandfather. Translated by Asuka Minamoto and illustrated by Kim Seung-youn, One Day is forthcoming from Enchanted Lion in August.
9. This Is a Dictatorship by Equipo Plantel, translated from Spanish by Lawrence Schimel
Originally published in Spain during the Franco regime with the goal of helping children understand dictatorship and its effects, this picture book by Equipo Plantel, with new illustrations by Mikel Casal, is forthcoming from Book Island in September in Lawrence Schimel’s translation.
10. Oksi by Mari Ahokoivu, translated from Finnish by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro
Perfect for middle-grade and YA readers, Mari Ahokoivu’s graphic novel Oksi, translated by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro and forthcoming from Levine Querido in September, draws on Finnish folktales to tell the story of a little bear protected from the dangers of the forest by her mother.
Child's Play: International Children's Literature
Interviews with Publishers of Children's Literature in Translation
Shining a Light on Children's Books in Translation: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp on World Kid Lit Month
Disclosure: Words Without Borders is an affiliate of Bookshop.org and will earn a commission if you use the links above to make a purchase.