Wyrd & Wonder: Children’s and YA Fantasy in Translation

Because I am from the Netherlands, I read many books in Dutch. If English is the original language I do choose an English edition. But sometimes a library book isn’t available in English. Then I don’t have a problem with a translated version. I also speak some Spanish and a bit of German, but not good enough to truly enjoy a book in those languages. Especially as child I read a lot of fantasy in translation. So for today’s Wyrd & Wonder prompt I listed five children’s and YA fantasy books that are originally not in English:

The Letter for the King by Tonke Dragt (Dutch)
Tonke Dragt is a famous writer in the Netherlands. As child I read many of her books. The Letter for the King was my favourite and is most well-known. It’s an adventurous book about a young boy who has to spend the night silently in a chapel to become a knight the next day. But while waiting, someone knocks at the door and asks for help. I like that the book is translated, so more people can enjoy it. But I never read the translation myself. I like to stick to the original Dutch edition.

The Neverending Story by Michael Ende (German)
As child this was also one of my favourite books. I still like to reread the story. It’s about Bastian and a strange book set in Fantastica. This world needs a human to save it. While reading Bastian is able to go into the book. He not only becomes part of the story, but is also able to shape it with his imagination.

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke (German)
Another amazing children’s book by a German writer, and another book about books. I loved to read about a girl who is a bookworm like me. I also liked that each chapter starts with a bookish quote. Inkheart is the first part of a trilogy, but the other parts aren’t as good as the first book. By the way, the cover of the German edition is beautiful!

City of the Beasts by Isabel Allende (Spanish)
The Dutch edition of this book was in my parent’s bookcase. For some reason the title of the book really appealed to me as child. I also loved the story. It’s about an adventurous grandmother who takes her son on an expedition to the Amazon. When I was older, I read more books written by Isabel Allende. City of the Beasts is still the one I enjoyed the most.

Sophie’s World by Jostein Gaarder (Norwegian)
I read this book when I was sixteen years old. The story explores philosophical questions and really got me thinking. It was basically an introduction in philosophy for me. I assumed that the original language of this book was English. Until I went looking for books I could use for this blog post, I didn’t realize the writer is actually Norwegian.

If you want to know more about Wyrd & Wonder, click here!

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