Reading abroad

As a speaker of several languages (some with less fluency than others), I’ve frequently flipped through the library’s youth world language collections. It’s a fun, rich resource to exercise language muscles, connect with cultures and to explore the wide variety in storytelling, visual style and art. Even when the language is unfamiliar, you can appreciate a lot from the pages alone.

Up on the third floor, you’ll find books in English, Chinese (Simplified and Traditional), French, German, Hebrew, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Spanish and Russian. If you’re interested in reading internationally but aren’t quite fluent enough in another language, several United States publishers acquire rights to translate and publish books from other countries, especially picture books. You’ll find recent titles like “Ways to Make Friends” by Jairo Buitrago and Mariana Ruiz Johnson, a whimsical and lively friendship story translated from Spanish by Elisa Amada, and “Coffee, Rabbit, Snowdrop, Lost” by Betina Birkjær and Anna Margrethe Kjærgaard, a tender intergenerational story of aging and family translated from Danish by Sinéad Quirke Køngerskov. Popular creatives like Hervé TulletTarō Gomi, and Cornelia Funke have numerous books available in English from their original French, Japanese and German. For older readers, manga (Japanese comics) is booming, and our Teen Center has a section dedicated to volumes and volumes of manga. For recommendations of translated literature, check out the award winners and honor books of the Batchelder Award. Administered by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), the Mildred L. Batchelder Award is given annually to “the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.” Or, submit a Personalized Picks request, and we’ll curate titles just for you. With your library card, you can also try (re)learning a language with Mango or Muzzy and then practice your skills with our collections. The youth world language collection contains popular books translated from English as well as language-original materials. The book list below highlights just a sampling of the picture book pairs of international books also available in English.

Scroll to Top