Category Archives: Awards – Batchelder

Award the most outstanding children’s book translated from another country. This award is made “to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages.”

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust

Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust
by Loic Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano & Greg Salsedo
First Second, 2012
originally published in France
2015 Mildred L. Batcheleder Award, Honor Book
Kirkus Reviews Best Books of 2014
2015 Sydney Taylor Award Winner

A sensitive graphic book for the youngest readers depicting one French, Jewish family’s experience during World War II.  Young Elsa asks her grandmother why she was so sad, and her grandmother shares her story.  She tells of her becoming a ‘family of sheriffs’, which immediately made her an outcast.  One night her family is taken away, but she was left behind in a box.  A neighbor comes and cares for her, until it is too dangerous and she must leave.  A moving story told from the innocent—but learning—perspective of a young girl.

Read more reviews on Amazon.

 

Mikis and the Donkey

Mikis and the Donkey 
by Bibi Dumon Tak
Eerdman’s Books for Young Readers, 2015
Mildred L. Batchelder Award

I could not put this book down, even when I should have been working!

Mikis’ grandfather buys a donkey to help carry wood down from the mountain for the winter.  Little Mikis soon befriends the donkey.  When grandfather ‘overworks’ and injures the donkey, Mikis goes directly to the doctor for help—on a Sunday!  By Monday everyone on the tiny Greek island knows about Mikis’ ‘unheard of’ actions.  He informs his grandfather that the doctor orders no work for the donkey for one week.  He is soon called the Donkey boy, because he loves the donkey.  Other subplots blended into the story results in an endearing book.

It recently won the American Library Association’s 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Award.  The reason I read it, however, was I heard it was selling much faster than they expected and they were about to make a second printing.  As I suspected, fast-selling books are often the best, and this one is that. A perfect gift book, a perfect read.

The book is translated from the Netherlands.

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Soldier Bear

Soldier Bear
Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman
Eerdmans Children’s Books, 2008

A bear named Voytek, meaning ‘smiling warrior’ in Polish, was found and adopted by five Polish soldiers serving in the British Corps during World War II. Based on a true story, the bear soon becomes their beloved pet. The men convince their Commanding Officer to make him Private Voytek, a member of the Corps. Voytek improves the morale of all the men, bringing laughter to an otherwise dismal time. Near the front lines, Voytek steps up to help unload bombs. Voytek becomes a hero when he captures a spy and when he convinces a new CO to send him, as part of the transportation unit, to the front lines. A remarkable story.

Netherlands author Bibi Dumon Tak brilliantly places the story in the life and death realities of a war and tells it in a way children can accept. This is the kind of story that stays with you long after the last page is read.

Soldier Bear won the 2012 Batchelder Award, an award given to a translated children’s book.

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Boodil My Dog

Boodil My Dog
by Pija Lindenbaum (Sweden)
translated by Gabrielle Charbonnet
Henry Holt and Company, 1992

A hilarious and delightful read, Boodil’s owner is proud of her “perfect”, “protective” and “brilliant” bull terrier, but the illustrations tell us just the opposite.

The book opens with “This is Boodil, my dog. She’s sleeping in her favorite chair. My dad used to think it was his chair but he knows better now.” What we see is a chair with a blanket covering it, with the tip of a dog’s nose poking out from beneath the blanket. The next page says, “Her guard is never down.” And Boodil is asleep on the chair, offering her belly and so relaxed, her head almost reaches the floor, not exactly the pose of a guard dog. Each page shows absurd juxtaposition of illustrations and text. Written and illustrated by Pija Lindenbaum, Stockholm Sweden; Gabrielle Charbonnet translated this delightful story. Out of print, but available at many libraries and on Amazon.

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