I selected two books that were Batchelder Honors Award winners (as mentioned on p. 178 of Children’s Literature in Action). American publishers receive this award for “a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originally published in a foreign language in a foreign country, and subsequently translated into English and published in the United States.” The Association for Library Service to Children created this award in 1966 to encourage the publishing of superior children’s books from abroad.
The Bathing Costume or the Worst Vacation of My Life/Le Slip de Bain, ou, Les pires vacances de ma vie. Charlotte Moundlic, Illustrated by Olivier Tallec, and translated from French by Claudia Zoe Bedrick. Enchanted Lion Books, 2013. Hardcover, 40 pages. $18.95. ISBN 1592701418. Picture book; ages 4 to 8.
Batchelder Honor (2014)
Written and Drawn by Henrietta/Escrito y Dibujado por Enriqueta. Written & illustrated by Liniers. TOON Books, an imprint of RAW Junior, LLC, 2015. Hardcover, 64 pages $12.95. ISBN 193517990X. Picture book; ages 4 to 8
Will Eisner Comic Industry Awards Nominee for Best Publication for Early Readers (up to age 8) (2016)
Batchelder Honor (2016)
Review of Written and Drawn by Henrietta, by Liniers
Picture book, ages 4 to 8.
Henrietta has received a new set of colored pencils, and she uses them to create her own storybook. While filling the pages with bright-colored animals, people, and objects, she develops her story. She is telling this story to her cat (named Fellini) and stuffed bear. As the narrative emerges, Emily – the character in Henrietta’s story – grows afraid of a monster in the closet, noises, and the dark.
This book shows children that they can create stories and illustrations. It shows that creating a new story doesn’t have to be complex or other-worldly, but can come from everyday objects and events. Liniers creates approachable, inviting images for all readers. Humor is used well, and will entertain adult readers also. Text is effective too – using larger typeface as Emily is startled, and tiny typeface when she is whispering and scared.
The illustrations are bright and engaging, with details that children can spend some time viewing, meanwhile taking on their fears of monsters, darkness, and noises in the night. Comic panels are used on some pages (with plenty of white space), while many images spill across the pages – usually the scary ones!
Facing fears humorously might help put issues out in the open and maybe even get children to talk through them a little bit. Adult readers should keep an eye out for kinetic or engaged resistance to the scary stuff in the story – group fears can be alleviated with discussion, and this book might just allow that dialog to happen.