2021 Batchelder Award honors Enchanted Lion Books for 'Telephone Tales'

For Immediate Release
Mon, 01/25/2021


Communications and Marketing Office

ALA Media Relations



CHICAGO – Enchanted Lion Books is the winner of the 2021 Mildred L. Batchelder Award for “Telephone Tales.” 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 & Exhibits, held virtually Jan. 22 - 26.

The Batchelder Award is given to the most outstanding children’s book originating 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 Italian in 1962 as “Favole al telefono,” the book was written by Gianni Rodari, illustrated by Valerio Vidali and translated by Antony Shugaar. The book tells the story of a travelling salesman who calls his young daughter every night to share a delightful, whimsical short story. A classic in Italy, this overdue translation features  67 playful, subversive tales that capture the author’s absurdist humor through ice cream palaces, educational candy, and roads paved with chocolate. 

“Shugaar’s stunning translation captures Rodari’s word play and nonsensical fun, introducing U.S. readers to a world where the status quo can always be questioned,” said Batchelder Award Committee Chair Suzanne Myers Harold.

One Batchelder Honor Book was selected: “Catherine’s War,” published by HarperAlley, an imprint of HarperCollins Publishers.

Originally published in French in 2017 as “La guerre de Catherine,”  “Catherine’s War,” was written by Julia Billet, illustrated by Claire Fauvel, and translated by Ivanka Hahnenberger. The graphic novel tells the story of Rachel, a Jewish girl forced to change her identity during World War II. Now Catherine, she uses her camera as a lens to document her experiences. Based on a true story, the action vividly captures her moments of terror, exhilaration, and joy. 

“The creators depict Catherine and the people who share her journey as fully developed, nuanced characters in all of their humanity,” said Harold.

Members of the 2021 Batchelder Award Committee are Chair Suzanne Myers Harold, Astoria Public Library, Astoria, Oregon; Vickie Coyle, All Saints Catholic School, Manassas, Virginia; B. Allison Gray, Goleta Valley Library, Goleta, California; Kathleen McBroom, Wayne State University School of Information Sciences, Detroit; Angela C. Moffett; San Francisco Public Library, Castro Valley, California.

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 members are committed to engaging communities to build healthy, successful futures for all children. 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.ala.org/yma.