2008 Batchelder Award honors VIZ Media for “Brave Story”

Jan 14th 2008
PHILADELPHIA - Viz Media is the winner of the 2008 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for the most outstanding children's book originally published in a foreign language and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States for “Brave Story.” The award was announced January 14 during the American Library Association (ALA) Midwinter Meeting in Philadelphia, January 11-16.

Originally published in Japanese in 2003 as “Bureibu Sutori,” the book was written by Miyuki Miyabe and translated by Alexander O. Smith. The book tells the story of a boy named Wataru whose chaotic life leads him to enter the videogame-infused world of Vision to alter his fate. This complicated quest, with a real-world rival, and fierce and friendly creatures, unleashes a future Wataru could not have anticipated. The wisdom and power Wataru gains on his journey enables him to embrace the transformed reality to which he returns.

“This is a bold, major masterpiece that will surely find a lasting, important place in children's literature,” said Batchelder Chair Fran Ware. “Authentic, complex and captivating, the journey is one that will resonate with readers of all ages for many years.”

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity,” published by Milkweed Editions, and “Nicholas and the Gang,” published by Phaidon Press.

Originally published in German as “Die Katze,” “The Cat: Or, How I Lost Eternity,” written by Jutta Richter, with illustrations by Rotraut Susanne Berner and translated into English by Anna Brailovsky, is a timeless fable featuring willful young Christine's attempts to understand the nature of true learning and friendship. After imagining encounters with a persistent, sassy, mysterious cat, she discovers she can choose to act on behalf of others. Child-friendly exchanges created by a celebrated German children's book writer are accompanied by sophisticated artwork in an exceptionally handsome little volume.

“Nicholas and the Gang,” a collaboration between writer René Goscinny and artist Jean-Jacques Sempé, one of the most famous teams in French children's literature, was translated into English by Anthea Bell. Originally published in French as “Le petit Nicolas et les copains,” this companion volume to “Nicholas,” a 2006 Batchelder Honor Book, presents the further hilarious escapades of a schoolboy and his classmates in an all-boys school. Sempé's jaunty pen-and-ink artwork extends the energy of the text. Brief, fresh, and funny, the Nicholas stories have been favorites among French schoolchildren for nearly 50 years.

The award honors Mildred L. Batchelder, a former executive director of the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of ALA, and is administered by ALSC.

Members of the 2008 Batchelder Award Committee are: Chair Fran Ware, Montgomery County Public Library, Rockville, Md.; Annette Goldsmith, doctoral candidate at Florida State University College of Information, Tallahassee, Fla.; Anna R. Healy, The Rochelle Lee Fund, Chicago; Ginny Moore Kruse, director emeritus, Cooperative Children's Book Center, University of Wisconsin-Madison; and Susan Poulter, Nashville (Tenn.) Public Library.

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