Fernando Viela's book Along The Tapajós is presented orthographically on a three colored background
Photo by Amazon

Expanding horizons

Get to know Amazon Crossing Kids, a new translation imprint for children’s books, from Amazon Publishing.
on January 25, 2019
Introducing the newest imprint from Amazon Publishing with the sole focus of publishing children's books in translation. Building on the work of Amazon Crossing, the largest publisher of translated fiction in the United States, and Two Lions, a leading children's book publisher, Amazon Crossing Kids aims to increase the diversity of children's picture books in translation and encourage young readers from a range of cultural perspectives.

In its inagural year, Amazon Crossing Kids is working on books from Italy, Germany, and Brazil. Some of the first books to be published and translated include the following:
  • Spiky
    written and illustrated by Ilaria Guarducci and translated by Laura Watkinson
    An illustrated children's book cover with an animal near the foreground, with brown fur, thin arms, and a long snout like an anteater.
    First published in Italy in 2016, this is the story of a forest creature named Spiky, who spends his days bullying the other forest creatures and sharpening the spikes on his body. But suddenly, when he begins to lose his spikes, he must learn how to befriend the other creatures of the forest and share his softer side, making meaningful relationships along the way.

    To be published July 1, 2019.
  • A Tiger Like Me
    written by Michael Engler, illustrated by Joëlle Tourlonias and translated by Laura Watkinson
    An illustrated children's book cover, with a child in a tiger costume, sitting on the floor in a shadowy home.
    First published in Germany in 2016, this sweet story follows a little boy who likes to reimagine his world as that of a tiger’s. This “tiger cub” shares with the reader a day in the life of him and his “tiger” family—waking up in the den, eating in his favorite spot, and how a little tiger feels when he’s awake, hungry, or in the mood for an adventure. With splendor and delight, this little boy encourages the reader to get creative with his or her own imagination.

    To be published September 1, 2019.
  • Along the Tapajós
    written and illustrated by Fernando Vilela and translated by Daniel Hahn
    A children's book cover showing a young boy and girl in a long, low boat, in a body of water, surrounded by green and red trees.
    First published in Brazil in 2015, this is the story of two children—and their pet tortoise Titi—who live in the region of Jarí, a small community that links the Amazon and Tapajós rivers. Every year, the families living there must relocate when the rainy season starts. When the boy and his sister move with their family, they realize that they have left Titi behind! Eager to rescue him, the pair sneaks back at night on a journey along the river. This story offers a unique look at this way of life.

    To be published October 1, 2019.
But these three translated works are just the beginning.

Editorial Director Kelsey Skea of the Two Lions imprint will also serve as Editorial Director of Amazon Crossing Kids, working in collaboration with the Editorial Director of Amazon Crossing, Gabriella Page-Fort, to acquire a wide-range of storytellers, illustrators, and translators from across the globe. Kelsey and Gabriella shared their excitement about launching the new imprint, and the importance of this initiative in the book publishing industry.

Why does publishing children’s books in translation matter for children's book writers, translators and illustrators?


Gabriella Page-Fort: When I was a kid, my parents introduced me to stories – and art, music, food, clothing – from other cultures, creating a lifelong curiosity that directly informed my career. Looking back, it’s clear to me that literature was never local; it’s the cheapest ticket to see the world available. Obviously writers, translators, and illustrators see value in the work they produce reaching children across boundaries of language or geography.

Kelsey Skea: Beyond helping to create a broader readership, it also affords storytellers the opportunity to delight or spark curiosity in a child who may live in another part of the globe. You never know the impact a book could have on a child—maybe their story will be one that helps inspire or shape the point of view of a young global citizen-in-progress.

What are you most excited to see with the introduction of the imprint?


GPF: The barriers adults perceive in the world are invisible to kids. By making books we believe in, available to a new audience through translation, we expand children’s worldviews and create empathic citizens of the world. What child wouldn’t respond with wonder and delight that the book we’re reading at bedtime came all the way from Brazil? I want children – and their parents – to join me in awe at the magic of translation.

KS: No matter the theme, focus, or stylistic approach of individual books, as a whole, Amazon Crossing Kids books are about connection—connection with other cultures, other points of view, other approaches. I’m really excited to be launching a program that may help children gain an understanding and appreciation of similarities and differences with people from other regions.
Looking back, it’s clear to me that literature was never local; it’s the cheapest ticket to see the world available.
Gabriella Page-Fort - editorial director of Amazon Crossing

How does Amazon Publishing support authors in a way that's new and innovative within the industry?


GPF: Amazon Publishing is author-centric in ways that matter. The focus on high quality is a common point of positive author feedback I hear, as are the personal touch and the long term vision for supporting authors’ work. We’re taking a book on because we believe in it, and we keep authors, translators, and illustrators closely involved throughout the book’s life.

KS: We want to make the author and illustrator experience the best it can be, and we’re always looking for new ways to do that. That may be establishing a dedicated team for authors that spans their books’ entire life, expanding readership by constantly experimenting with new programs, or paying royalties on a much more frequent basis than is typical.

Do you have a tip or recommendation for aspiring children's book authors, illustrators and translators?


GPF: Please, share the stories that mean the most to you with us, by recommending books for translation into English.

KS: Be true to yourself and focus on the story or stories that you are passionate about telling. That passion will shine through in your work and readers—and you—will have a better experience because of it.
  • Start
  • Spiky
  • A Tiger Like Me
  • Along the Tapajós
  • End
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