Books from Abroad
There are many blogs that I read over the course of the week and a handful that I read daily. Overall, this is a good situation. My only frustration comes from the fact that some of my favorite bloggers live outside the country. While I enjoy learning about cultures other than ours, I have discovered that there are many, many wonderful books that never make it to American shores. While of course there are a gazillion amazing titles to read right in the good ole US of A, I admit to getting greedy.
For example, when I read about the Red House Children’s Book Award at Playing by the Book, I began looking for their nominated titles at our libary and at Amazon right away with little luck. While I was able to find such current treasures as A Monster Calls and some old winners like Jaqueline Wilson’s Best Friends, there were many more books that looked wonderful and and just weren’t available.
Then I read A Fuse #8 Production’s post titled Not in America: Boris by Andrew Joyner and became even more frustrated. This post focused on early chapter books, most of which are not available in the US. Good early chapter books are so hard to find that the post drove me batty.
Fortunately though, I took out my frustration on thorough book searching and was able to find Joy Cowley’s Snake and Lizard and Terry Denton’s Wombat and Fox at our local library.
Katherine has been completely smitten with both of these books. She is loving to hear chapter books read aloud but she still needs a fair amount of picture support to keep her attention. She also needs a really fast moving plot and likable characters. Interestingly, these series are quite different but each one brings a bit of all that she needs right now.
I will now begin the search for other Snake and Lizard and Fox and Wombat books. I suppose it’s a good thing I enjoy a good scavenger hunt…
I too search relentlessly for foreign books that have hit our shores. Sad to say those Aussie and New Zealand titles you mention are the only books in their series to come over here (though I know for a fact that there are more Wombat and Fox stories out there). That’s the bad news. The good news is that there are other early chapter books you might want to look up instead. From India, Younguncle Comes to Town by Vandana Singh. From Britain by way of a Nigerian storyteller, Anna Hibiscus (and there are LOTS of those books here in the States). There are others. Keep a close eye on publishers like Eerdmans, Kane/Miller, and Enchanted Lion. They bring over some real goodies sometimes.
Oh yeah! I do know Anna Hibicus and love her myself. For some reason, my older daughter did not take to her but I have her in my stack for my little one to explore soon. Others that I recommended her to though have become hug fans. And I am excited to learn of a new title- I am not familiar with Younguncle. Will go look for it now. Thanks for the recommendation!
I’d always be willing to do a swap Stacey if there were some books you just had to have! Fortunately Book Depository are good for US books over here (and they do free worldwide posting I think, so they might work for you ordering UK books too). I’ve heard great things about Younguncle. Saffron Tree is a great Indian based kidlit blog and there are several reviews of Younguncle books there eg http://www.saffrontree.org/2010/07/younguncle-comes-to-town.html
Thanks Stacey – was prompted to check for younguncle books in my library system and there are two! Hooray! I’ve reserved them and will let you know what we think of them 🙂
Just thought I’d report back Stacey as I’ve now read Younguncle in the Himalayas (comes to Town isn’t available in my library, but this 2nd book is). It’s a fun read, and the Himalayan /Indian setting is really interesting. There’s lots of humour in the book, essentially a detective caper, and when M’s a little older I’ll suggest it to her (the chapters are longer, with smaller font than the Anna Hibiscus books). Overall I definitely enjoyed it and am really glad I read it, but don’t think it was quite as great a book as the AH books.
Zoe- Thanks for the update! I checked out a Younguncle book from our library but I haven’t gotten to it yet. Now I’m excited!