Translator Helen Wang Honored at Shanghai Children’s Book Fair

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In Shanghai last week, the Chen Bochui Awards honored translator Helen Wang for her work bringing Chinese children’s literature to English-language readers.

Translator Helen Wang is presented with a Special Contributor of the Year by Wu Shangzhi, director of China’s state administration of press, publication, radio, film, and television on November 15. Image: CCBF

By Porter Anderson, Editor-in-Chief | @Porter_Anderson

Award Named for the Late Chen Bochui
The Chen Bochui International Children’s Literature Awards—presented last week just ahead of the opening of the Shanghai International Book Fair—included honors for writers, illustrators, and translators this year from France, Poland, the UK, and USA.

Translator Helen Wang was given a Special Contributor of the Year honor for her work in bringing children’s literature into English. Wang has translated novels, picture books, and graphic novels for young adults including Cao Wenxuan’s Bronze and Sunflower, which won the 2017 Marsh Christian Award for Children’s Literature in Translation.

The three winning titles in the Best International Children’s Picture Book category are:

  • Le Ruban, written and illustrated by Adrien Parlange (Albin Michel Jeunesse, France)
  • Du Iz Tak? Written by Carson Ellis (Candlewick Press, USA)
  • Lazing about, facing the sky, written and illustrated by Urszula Palusinska (Wydawnictwo Dwie Siostry, Poland)

Two Chinese titles also won awards:

  • Stroll with the wind, written and illustrated by Xiong Liang (Tianjin Renmin Press)
  • Laba Festival: Rice porridge under the eaves, written by Zheng Chunhua and illustrated by Zhu Chengliang (China Children’s Publishing House)

Each of these awards carries a purse of 60,000 Chinese yuan (US$9,000).

The awards, established in 1981, were opened to international publishers in 2014. The stated aim is to promote excellence in children’s publishing, cultural diversity and to encourage reading in young children.  This year the number of entries is reported by organizers to have more than doubled with entries received from 37 countries and regions.

The books were chosen by an international jury of nine specialists including French children’s writer Sophie Van der Linde. In a prepared statement, Van der Linde is quoted, speaking of the value of “an international award for children’s literature, which is much needed in the world.”

Chen Bochui, who died in 1997, is regarded as the father of modern children’s literature in China.  He dedicated his life to education and reading and donated his life savings to establish the award, which now plays a major role in Chinese literary life.

About the Author

Porter Anderson

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Porter Anderson is Editor-in-Chief of Publishing Perspectives. Prior to that he was Associate Editor for The FutureBook, a channel at The Bookseller focused on digital publishing. Anderson has also worked with CNN International, CNN.com, CNN USA, the Village Voice, the Dallas Times Herald, and other media.

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