Research Roundup: Diversity through International Youth Literature

Annette Y. Goldsmith, Betsy Diamant-Cohen


What Is International Youth Literature? Why Does It Matter?

International youth literature—translated books and English-language imports first published outside of the United States—can be the missing link in diversifying collections. Our diversity discussions tend to focus on multicultural literature that is originally published in the United States. At first glance diverse books from here and abroad can seem indistinguishable since they may have a similar focus or setting—that is, by race, ethnicity, ability, socioeconomic status, etc.—so it is not surprising that international books are often mistaken for multicultural books. Sometimes only a close look will reveal that a book has been translated or was first published in English abroad. Reading international youth literature moves us to the margins for a change and is an opportunity to see what the rest of the world thinks. By paying attention to this literature, we broaden our perspectives and validate international voices.

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Carl M. Tomlinson, ed., Children’s Books from Other Countries (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 1998).

Susan Stan, ed., The World through Children’s Books (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2002).

Doris Gebel, ed., Crossing Boundaries with Children’s Books (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2006).

Linda M. Pavonetti, ed., Bridges to Understanding: Envisioning the World through Children’s Books (Lanham, MD: Scarecrow, 2011).

Annette Y. Goldsmith, Theo Heras, and Susan Corapi, eds., Reading the World’s Stories: An Annotated Bibliography of International Youth Literature (Lanham, MD: Rowman & Littlefield, 2016).

Diane Roback, “Bologna 2016: Agents Talk Children’s and YA Trends,” (March 11, 2016),, accessed August 13, 2016.

Kasey Garrison and Sue Kimmel, “Trends in Translations: The Mildred L. Batchelder Award from 1997–2013,” Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature 52, no. 4 (2014): 30–44,

“The Hans Christian Andersen Awards 2016,” Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature 54, no. 2 (2016),

Bookbird: A Journal of International Children’s Literature (New Zealand, Australia, and Oceania issue) 54, no. 3 (2016),



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