EPISODE 61. Where Children’s Books Become Bilingual
When Arthur Levine, a longtime American book publisher, bought the rights to publish, as he called it, a “very British” new children’s book on this side of the pond, it was not because he thought it would become as popular as, say, Harry Potter.
It was because “if you limit yourself to writers from your own country, you’re missing out on the whole rest of the world.”
Actually, that book was, indeed, Harry Potter—the very first in what became a phenomenal franchise.
Arthur was with a different publishing house at the time. Today he is the founder and president of Levine Querido Publishing, and he is living his advice to not limit writers to those in your own country—or language.
BRINGING A WORLD OF LANGUAGES TO CHILDREN’S BOOKS
Now Arthur and his mainly bilingual staff are publishing children’s books that they have carefully translated from a variety of languages so that young readers in America can partake of that whole rest of the world. There is a special emphasis on both English to Spanish and Spanish to English.
In Episode 61 of the America the Bilingual podcast, Arthur and his longtime colleague and marketing director, Antonio Gonzalez Cerna, talk about why they do what they do, the way they customize their English-to-Spanish translations to the many different Latine cultures across America, and how a certain Hebrew phrase captures their mission.
HEAR THE STORY
Listen on Apple Podcasts here: America the Bilingual by Steve Leveen; on Spotify; or wherever you listen to your podcasts.
SEE THEIR BOOKS
Here is a sampling of the many titles the Levine Querido team publishes. Find even more on their site.
Levine Querido published the English-language versions of these two stories, Never Forgotten and The Shape of Home, in 2021. Now the Spanish-language versions are available.
High Spirits was translated into the Spanish Buenos Espíritus by a Dominican translator, to be as true as possible to the author’s voice: Camille Gomera-Tavarez is a Dominican American.
Thanks to members of the America the Bilingual Project team for this episode: Fernando Hernández and his production house in Guadalajara, Mexico, Esto No Es Radio, which provides sound design and mixing, and where Fernando interviewed this episode’s guests; Mim Harrison, editorial director of the America the Bilingual Project, who also wrote and directed this episode; and Karla Hernandez at Daruma Tech, who manages our website.
Meet the entire America the Bilingual team—including our bark-lingual mascot, Chet—here.
Music in this episode, in sequence, was by Kai Engel, “Seeker”; Kevin Mcleod, “Quasimotion”; John Bartmann, “Heart of Acceptance”; Jorge Mario Zuleta, “En detención”; TRG Banks, “Daybreak in a New Town”; and Monplaisir, “I Am the Coyote.” All were available through a Creative Commons License.
We welcome your comments here, on our new America the Bilingual Review page of Medium, and on Facebook.
Be sure to check out our Book page to see the book that Fernando mentions in this episode, America’s Bilingual Century:
Keep up the great work! Your passion is palpable!
May I send you a copy of my book, The Little Doctor/El doctorcito?
Thanks for letting us know about your book, Dr. Guerra! We just posted it to our Facebook account. Gracias de nuevo!