Sunday, August 15, 2010

15th August

No birthday, but yesterday while reading about Rene Goscinny, I was reminded of how many popular books children read today are in fact translations from another language. And then knowing that, how many of those translations were done by Anthea Bell. She is a British translator who was born in 1936 and is truly amazing, translating so many French books into English. Then I read that she translated Cornelia Funke's German Inkworld novels into English too. I already knew that she had translated many of Hans Christian Andersen's Danish fairytales, but the German translations were news to me. She is truly multilingual. The thing I like about her French translations, such as the Asterix and Nicholas stories is that she manages to keep the humour, something I find to have disappeared in some French adult novels that I have read in English. We need more Anthea Bells, linguists who truly love children's literature and who want to stay true to the writer while making their texts accessible to children who only read English.

Recently I have also been researching quotes about children's literature and from children's literature, hoping to find something truly inspirational or exciting for the walls of my new library. While doing so I found this quote from Katherine Paterson and it is particularly apt in the light of what Anthea Bell does.

It is not enough to simply teach children to read;
we have to give them something worth reading.
Something that will stretch their imaginations-
something that will help them make sense of their own lives
and encourage them to reach out toward people
whose lives are quite different from their own.
~ Katherine Paterson ~

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