Picture Book Foreign Editions
All of my picture books with Lerner/Millbrook have had foreign editions published, and it’s always exciting to imagine kids on the other side of the world reading something I wrote. Amazing! Here are a few of the iterations over the past few years.
Here are some thoughts on foreign editions:
- Did you know one reason some publishers don’t buy rhyming manuscripts is that it’s hard to sell foreign rights to rhyming text (because they no longer rhyme if they are translated into a foreign language)?
- I was super interested to see how the rhyming Can Be… books were translated. Even though they no longer rhymed, the spouse of a friend who translated a few pages of A Leaf Can Be… for me was impressed with the playfulness of the language. In English, the first three spreads read:
- If You Were the Moon is being published in a Japanese edition! And the text on one spread is becoming more general. The main text of “Weave a spell over wonderers” remains the same. But the sidebar, which names specific artists like Debussy and Dickinson, is going to change to a more general text about the moon inspiring artists around the world. The publisher felt that since Japanese children wouldn’t know who Emily Dickinson was, it didn’t work for them. Neither would most picture book readers in the U.S., but editor Carol Hinz said she was inclined to trust a foreign publisher’s judgment of what would work best in its own country, and I agree. This will be the first time a foreign edition will have a part that is not my words, translated, but actually a few new words entirely. At least as far as I know ;>)
A spread from If You Were the Moon (Lerner/Millbrook Press).
Text by Laura P. Salas//Art by Jaime Kim
- It’s all about audience. The foreign editions of my books use my words and the illustrators’ art. But the design, the trim size, and even the page order has sometimes changed! I write for the kids I know–U.S. kids. The Millbrook team designs a book for the country the book is for sale in–mostly the U.S. So it’s interesting to see what changes foreign publishers make when they choose to publish your book in their country!
My Next Book!
Publishers Weekly‘s spring preview of children’s books is online now, and my next book is there. Yay!
In another month or two, I’ll share a sneak peek at the art. For now, I’ll just say that Meet My Family! is about animal families, but also human families. I’m looking forward to sharing with kids that no matter what their family looks like, how many people are in it, what gender they are, etc., they are a family. There is no single right kind of family in the animal kingdom OR in the human world.
Books I’ve Loved Recently