April 1, 2022

Graphic Novel from Finland Wins 2022 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize

Dual-language novella from Colombia also recognized

HATTIESBURG, MS – Oksi, a graphic novel that incorporates Finnish mythology, is the winner of the 2022 GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. Administered by the Global Literature in Libraries Initiative, the prize recognizes publishers, translators, and authors of books in English translation for young adult (YA) readers. The announcement was made at the International Children’s Book Day Celebration today at Rutgers, the State University of New Jersey’s Archibald S. Alexander Library, in New Brunswick, NJ.

“We had another banner year for submissions,” said Dr. Catharine Bomhold, chair of the prize committee. “It is gratifying to see so many new books proven popular with teens elsewhere now be shared with English-speaking audiences.”

Oksi was initially published in Finland, with words and pictures by Mari Ahokoivu. It was translated by Silja-Maaria Aronpuro and published in the United States by Levine Querido. Oksi follows Poorling, a magical creature living in the forest. As she discovers a dark power within her, Poorling’s desire to be loved leads to violent and destructive consequences. It is a beautifully told tale steeped in Finnish mythology that speaks to the lengths mothers and daughters will go to feel loved.

The committee also chose one honor book, The Immortal Boy, by Francisco Montaña Ibáñez, translated by David Bowles and also published by Levine Querido. The book has two intertwined narratives; in one, an abandoned family of children struggles to survive. In the other, a recently orphaned girl tries to befriend a mysterious boy who protects younger children from bullies. The Immortal Boy is a gut-wrenching story that explores themes of poverty, survival, and hope.

A discussion of the titles, and translating and publishing literature for young adults, will be presented online on April 6 at 9:00 am CDT as part of the University of Southern Mississippi’s Fay B. Kaigler Children’s Book Festival.

The GLLI prize aims to highlight the gems of world literature for 12-to-18-year-olds. The original list of titles included works translated from 10 languages, and the shortlist includes stories from Asia, Europe, and South America. Works considered were published within three years of the submission deadline. The shortlist of five titles contains various themes and subject matter of interest to teens and includes two graphic novels.

Members of the prize committee include Catharine Bomhold, (Chair) the University of Southern Mississippi; Kim Becnel, Appalachian State University; Danny Glasner, American International School, Vietnam; Brooke Cruthirds, the University of Southern Mississippi; Nichole Brown, Oakland Public Library; Gina Krumhout, Avon Lake (OH) Public Library; Sarah Swan, Jeffco (CO) Remote Learning Program; and Jewel Davis, Appalachian State University.

The Global Literature in Libraries Initiative brings together translators, librarians, teachers, editors, and others dedicated to helping librarians identify and raise the visibility of world literature for children, teens, and adults. Our activities include creating pan-publisher catalogs; maintaining a database of translations; sharing ideas for selecting, evaluating, and promoting world literature for all ages, and administering the GLLI Translated YA Book Prize. We regularly showcase and review world literature on our blog. Check us out on Facebook, Twitter (@GlobalLitin), and our website: glli-us.org.

For more information about the prize and instructions for 2023 submissions, see https://glli-us.org/prizes/