This award honors Mildred L. Batchelder, a former executive director of the Association for Library Service to Children, a believer in the importance of good books for children in translation from all parts of the world. She began her career working at Omaha (NE) Public Library, then as a children's librarian at St. Cloud (MN) State Teachers College, and subsequently as librarian of Haven Elementary School in Evanston, IL. She eventually joined the ranks of the American Library Association in 1936. Batchelder spent 30 years with ALA, working as an ambassador to the world on behalf of children and books, encouraging and promoting the translation of the world's best children's literature. Her life's work was "to eliminate barriers to understanding between people of different cultures, races, nations, and languages."
This award, established in her honor in 1966, is a citation awarded to an American publisher 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. ALSC gives the award to encourage American publishers to seek out superior children's books abroad and to promote communication among the peoples of the world.
As of 1979 the award has been given annually to a publisher for a book published in the preceding year. Before 1979, there was a lapse of two years between the original publication date and the award date; to convert to the new system, two awards were announced in 1979: one for 1978 and one for 1979. Beginning in 1994, honor recipients were selected and announced as well. In a year that the committee is of the opinion that no book of that year is worthy of the award, none is given. The award is decided on and announced at the Midwinter Meeting of ALA, and the winning publisher receives a citation and commemorative plaque. The presentation used to be made on April 2, International Children's Book Day, but is now given at the ALA Annual Conference held each summer.
2018 Batchelder Award Winner
The Murderer's Ape
by Jakob Wegelius
Publication Date: 2017-01-24
Winner of the Mildred L. Batchelder award, this is a captivating story about dark truths and heinous crimes as well as unexpected friendships, with detailed black-and-white illustrations throughout. Perfect for fans of Brian Selznick and mystery and detective stories. Sally Jones is not only a loyal friend, she's an extraordinary individual. In overalls or in a maharaja's turban, this unique gorilla moves among humans without speaking but understanding everything. She and the Chief are devoted comrades who operate a cargo boat. A job they are offered pays big bucks, but the deal ends badly, and the Chief is falsely convicted of murder. For Sally Jones this is the start of a harrowing quest for survival and to clear the Chief's name. Powerful forces are working against her, and they will do anything to protect their secrets.
Malala Yousafzai stood up to the Taliban and fought for the right for all girls to receive an education. When she was just fifteen-years old, the Taliban attempted to kill Malala, but even this did not stop her activism. At age eighteen Malala became the youngest person to be awarded the Nobel Peace Prize for her work to ensure the education of all children around the world. Malala's courage and conviction will inspire young readers in this beautifully illustrated biography.
The White Rose is guarded closely by the gardener, who once caught a cold walking barefoot trying to find his shoes, which had been hidden by a cat, which was a gift from his younger brother, who was married to Dalva, who had inherited the cat from her uncle, who died of a broken heart awaiting a love letter that never arrived... Eventually, we see how one tiny action can have marvelous consequences, and the story turns like a ferris wheel. With a playful lightness of touch, Mello explores serious questions about the importance of kindness and the dangers of greed. Mello's illustrations will inspire his young readers, providing them with familiar and approachable images while encouraging imagination to fill in the narrative gaps, as he captures the mysteries of childhood through rich, vibrant imagery.