The purpose of the Mildred L. Batchelder Award, a citation to an American publisher, is to encourage international exchange of quality children's books by recognizing United States publishers of such books in translation. The Award was established by the Association for Library Service to Children of the American Library Association in 1966 in the belief that "interchange of children's books between countries, through translation, influences communication between the peoples of those countries..." (MLB, 1966). It honors Mildred L. Batchelder whose work for children's librarianship and literature at the national level over three decades has had international and lasting effects. (Source: TOP OF NEW, January 1967, p. 180)
- The Mildred L. Batchelder Award shall be made to an American publisher for a children’s book considered to be the most outstanding of those books originating in a country other than the United States and in a language other than English during the preceding year. Specifically, these terms encompass traditionally translated books (originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States and subsequently published in English the United States) as well as non-traditionally translated books. This includes, but is not limited to, books translated first in other countries, books written originally in another language but previously unpublished, and books originally published in a different format and language; e.g. a selection from an anthology.
- The Award, in the form of a citation, shall be made annually, unless no book of that particular year is deemed worthy of the honor.
- "American publisher" means a publisher with editorial offices in the United States that publishes books under U.S. publishing conventions for a United States market.
- "Children's book" means a United States trade publication for which children, up to and including age 14, are a potential audience. Books for this entire age range are to be considered.
- "Book" means the work was published in book format in the United States. The U.S. book is neither a condensation, excerpt, nor abridgement of the original book.
- "Most outstanding" refers to the quality of the book as defined by the CRITERIA (cited in the next section).
- "Originating in a country other than the United States and in a language other than English" means that the text must have originated in a country other than the United States and been written in language other than English; and if previously published, publication must have been in a country other than the United States.
- "Subsequently published in English in the United States," means that the United States publication in English must not have taken place prior to the publication in a language other than English and in a country other than the United States. U.S. publication may occur simultaneously with non-English language publication or simultaneously with publication in English in other countries.
- “Non-traditionally translated books” refers to texts that are translated and produced as a book for children by an American publisher. This includes, but is not limited to, books translated first in other countries, books written originally in another language but previously unpublished, and books originally published in a different format and language; e.g. a selection from an anthology.
- "Published during the preceding year" means that the book has a U.S. publication date in the year under consideration, was available for purchase in the U.S. in that year, and has a U.S. copyright date no later than that year. A book might have a U.S. copyright date prior to the year under consideration but, for various reasons, was not published until the year under consideration. New translations of works previously translated into English and published in the United States are not eligible.
- "Unless no book of that particular year is deemed worthy of the honor" indicates that a committee may choose not to select an Award winner if no book is judged to have met the terms and criteria established for the award.
1. Focus of attention:
Primary attention must be directed to the text. Picture books should be considered only if the text is substantial and at least as important as the pictures. "Substantial text" means this is an award for translation and the text is the main consideration for the award. Illustrated books should be considered only if the text is as prominent and important as the illustrations.
2. Relationship to original work:
- The translation should be true to the substance (e.g., plot, characterization, setting) and flavor of the original work and should retain the viewpoint of the author.
- Reflection of the style of the author and of the original language are assets unless in the translation these reflections result in awkwardness in style or lack of clarity for children.
- The book should not be unduly "Americanized." The book's reader should be able to sense that the book came from another country.
3. Quality of the United States Book:
- The textual qualities to be evaluated will vary depending on the content and type of the book being considered. Each book should be evaluated only on the elements pertinent to it. These include:
- Interpretation of the theme or concept
- Presentation of information including accuracy, clarity, and organization
- Development of plot
- Delineation of characters
- Appropriateness of style
- In all cases, committee members must consider the book's manner of presentation for and the potential appeal to a child audience.
- Aspects of the overall design of the book should be considered when they significantly enhance or detract from the text, thus making the book more or less effective as a children's book. Such aspects might include: illustration, typeface, layout, book jacket, etc.
- In some children's books, illustrations are important. In considering such a book, consideration should be given to the retention of the original illustrator's work in the U.S. edition.
NOTE: Often it will be impossible for the committee members to read the book in its original language. Therefore, the committee must use its best judgment in evaluating the quality of the translation (point 2 above), keeping in mind that a translated book is a separate entity from the book as published in its original language.
Approved by the ALSC board, Annual Conference 1981. Revised August 2018.