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International YA, Dec. 10 at NYPL: A Reading List from the Panelists

By Megha Majumdar

Most of us came to books as young readers. Working on our current issue of international Young Adult literature, we were reminded of the joy of those early literary encounters. In many ways this December issue is a nostalgic affair, and a lively one too. After you journey from Germany to Bangladesh in these pages, you may find that the diverse stories only whet your appetite.

So we hope you will join us next week—December 10, 2014, at 6 pm—for a panel discussion on International Diversity in YA Writing. Panelists Padma Venkatraman, Briony Everroad, Roxanne Hsu Feldman, and Arthur A. Levine will discuss diversity and international voices in YA writing, and the conversation will be moderated by editor, author, and professor of library sciences, Marc Aronson.

If you need a bit more persuading to venture out in wintry weather, this event will be held in the beautiful Schwarzman Building of the New York Public Library.

But December 10 is still a week away—what can you read in the meantime? In advance of the event, we asked our panelists for their YA recommendations. Here we share their choices for uncommonly good YA reads.

Briony Everroad one of the issue editors, who has consulted for the forthcoming Oxford Companion to Children’s Literature, recommends Going Over and Why We Took The Car, a road trip tale.

Why We Took The Car receives another endorsement from Arthur Levine, Vice President and Publisher of Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic Inc. In addition to championing great novelists from around the English-speaking world, Levine has also introduced books-in-translation to American children. It is no surprise that his recommendations span the globe: Hidden Like Anne Frank by Marcel Prins, Moribito by Nahoko Uehashi, Samir and Yonatan by Daniella Carmi, The Book of Everything by Guus Kuijer, Heartsinger by Karlijn Stoffels, The Legend of the Wandering King by Laura Gallego-Garcia, The Story of a Seagull and the Cat Who Taught her to Fly by Luis Sepulveda, and Aldabra, The Tortoise Who Loved Shakespeare by Silvana Gandolfi.

Writer Padma Venkatraman draws on her childhood in Chennai, India, to recommend some South Asian classics. Books like Swami and Friends by R.K. Narayan, and Pather Panchali by Bhibhutibhushan Bandopadhyay are beloved in the subcontinent for their depiction of the antics and inner lives of children. Other favorites of hers include the epic Mahabharatha, the Tamil trilogy Ponniyin Selvan by Kalki Krishnamurthy, Rabindranath Tagore's Gitanjali in W. B. Yeats's translation, and The Forbidden Temple: Stories from the Past by T. V. Padma.

Roxanne Hsu Feldman, who has had a long career in children's and young adult literature, most recently as Middle School Librarian—for eighteen years—at the Dalton School, seconds Arthur Levine's mention of Moribito by Nahoko Uehashi. She further recommends Battle Royale by Koushun Takami, The Interrogation of Ashala Wolf by Ambelin Kwaymullina, The Year of Secret Assignments by Jaclyn Moriarty, and The Book Thief by Markus Zusak. Feldman also suggests introducing slightly older readers to Nobel Prize winners like Mo Yan, Orhan Pamuk, and Gabriel García Márquez. 

Around the Globe: International Diversity in YA Writing
Schwarzman Building, South Court Auditorium at the New York Public Library 
5th Avenue at 42nd Street
December 10, 2014, at 6 PM
Tickets are free, but RSVP is required. RSVP here

Published Dec 9, 2014   Copyright 2014 Megha Majumdar

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