2015 Batchelder Award honors Eerdmans Books for Young Readers for 'Mikis and the Donkey'

Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager

CHICAGO – Eerdmans Books for Young Readers, an imprint of Wm. B. Eerdmans Publishing Co. is the winner of the 2015 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for “Mikis and the Donkey.” The award was announced today by the Association for Library Service to Children (ALSC), a division of the American Library Association (ALA), during the ALA Midwinter Meeting held Jan. 30 – Feb. 3, in Chicago.

The Batchelder Award is given to the most outstanding children’s book originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States, and subsequently translated into English for publication in the United States.

Originally published in Dutch in 2011 as “Mikis de ezeljongen,” the book was written by Bibi Dumon Tak, illustrated by Philip Hopman and translated by Laura Watkinson. Mikis’ simple, quiet life on the Greek island of Corfu is upended when his grandfather surprises him by buying a donkey.  During the following year, Mikis’ adventures with the donkey show the village what it means to care for one another.

“This charming book has remarkable depth.  Vividly set in a tiny island village, the universal themes will be relevant to all readers,” said Batchelder Award Committee Chair Diane Janoff.

Two Batchelder Honor Books also were selected: “Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust” published by First Second; “Nine Open Arms” published by Enchanted Lion Books.

Originally published in French in 2012 as “L’Enfant Cachée,” “Hidden: A Child’s Story of the Holocaust,” was written by Loïc Dauvillier, illustrated by Marc Lizano, color by Greg Salsedo, and translated by Alexis Siegel. “In this evocative graphic novel, a grandmother recounts her childhood experiences hiding from the Nazis in World War II France.  Surrounded by cruelty, Dounia also benefited from the exceptional kindness and courage of her protectors.  The telling of her story to her grandchild brings healing and hope.”

“This subtle but powerfully illustrated graphic novel will capture readers with its gripping account of heroism in the truly dire circumstances of the Holocaust,” said Janoff.

Originally published in Dutch in 2004 as “Negen Open Armen,”Nine Open Arms” was written by Benny Lindelauf, illustrated by Dasha Tolstikova, translated by John Nieuwenhuizen. In this intricately plotted book, Fing’s loving but fractious family moves into a new house outside of town and gradually discovers a “tragical tragedy” concerning the mysterious man living in the hedge.  Combining elements of historical fiction, mystery and magical realism with large doses of humor, this book enthralls.

“Readers will be enchanted by the indelibly drawn characters, the rich language and the interwoven narrative,” said Janoff.

Members of the 2015 Batchelder Award Committee are: Chair Diane Janoff, Queens Library, N.Y.; Sarah Hagge, Chicago, Ill.; Celia Holm, Austin (Texas) Public Library; Elsworth Rockefeller, Oak Park (Ill.) Public Library; and Sara-Jo Sites, George F. Johnson Memorial Library, Endicott, N.Y.

ALSC is the world’s largest organization dedicated to the support and enhancement of library service to children.  With a network of more than 4,000 children’s and youth librarians, literature experts, publishers and educational faculty, ALSC is committed to creating a better future for children through libraries. To learn more about ALSC, visit their website at www.ala.org/alsc.

For information on the Mildred L. Batchelder Award and other ALA Youth Media Awards, please visit www.ilovelibraries.org/yma.


Macey Morales
Media Relations Manager

Heather Cho
Media Relations Specialist


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American Library Association