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For literary responses to COVID-19 from writers around the world, check out our Voices from the Pandemic series.

April 2020

Child's Play: International Children's Literature

Image: Gunvor Rasmussen, detail, from Maria Parr, "Raur gir dyna si ein klem [Raur Gives His Blanket a Hug]," in Trøysteboka: Nynorske forteljingar (Skald, 2011). Courtesy of the publisher.

This month, with so many families home together and everyone craving comfort, we present an issue of international children’s literature. From ageless witches to teenage cliques, in settings ranging from Fascist Italy to the contemporary Middle East, the writers here offer characters and themes both fantastic and familiar. Pietro Albì’s village child is bedeviled by a surprising apparition. Sachiko Kashiwaba delivers a twist on a fairy tale trope. Hooda El Shuwa’s teenager finds a magical solution to a very real conflict, and Sandrine Kao sits in on lessons in combatting racism. Justyna Bednarek’s young boy marvels at his neighbor’s wonderful invention, while Angelika Glitz catches up with a granny who trades her walker for a forklift. And in a story reflecting what we’re all longing for now, Maria Parr’s preschooler reminds us of the restorative power of hugs. Children’s literature expert Daniel Hahn guest edits and introduces these stories for readers of all ages. Our series on the COVID-19 crisis, Voices from the Pandemic, continues this month with work from Mexico, Portugal, and Bulgaria. 

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Book Reviews

In Matéi Visniec’s “Mr. K Released,” an Inmate Chooses Prison Over Freedom

Reviewed by Benjamin Woodard

Originally published in 2010, this funny, if faintly scattershot, novel relies on a Kafkaesque allegory to reconsider Romania’s late-1980s transition to democracy after decades of Communist rule.

Monika Zgustova Collects Women’s Stories from the Gulag in “Dressed for a Dance in the Snow”

Reviewed by Rochelle Goldberg Ruthchild

A volume of interviews with survivors of the detention camps first created by Lenin in 1918 documents harrowing abuses against dissidents and minorities that extend to present-day Russia.

Recent Issues

Child's Play: International Children's Literature

Against the Canon: Urdu Feminist Writing

International Graphic Novels: Volume XIV

On the Road: International Writing on Travel

Criminal Minds: International True Crime

In Our Own Words: Writing from the Philippines

The Comic Edge: Arabic Humor

The Dreams We Carry: New Writing from Norway

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