A World Beyond Alice

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20150212

While British children's books are known across the world, far fewer European children's books are translated into English. David Almond, the award-winning author of books such as Skellig and My Name is Mina, tries to discover how and why this has come about, and makes a heart-felt case for change.

For at least the 150 years since the publication of Lewis Carroll's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (1865), British children's books have enjoyed a world-wide reputation. By contrast, few children's books from continental Europe are translated into English.

It's said that up to 40% of books read by continental European children are translated from other languages while as few as 4% of the books read by British children were originally published in a language other than English.

As David sees it, if the lives, experiences and concerns of children across Europe differ - and if we hope to resolve issues of alienation in our societies - then this loss is great indeed.

Amongst the books he champions are a dark and shocking existential novel for older children by Danish writer Janne Teller, called "Nothing", and a playful but now poignant picture book about a harmonious multicultural Paris, by Barroux, called "Mr Leon's Taxi".

Hearing from authors Cornelia Funke, Janne Teller and Nadia Budde, publisher Jane Winterbotham, children's book experts Daniel Hahn and Michael Rosen, translator Sarah Ardizzone - and from three tri-lingual British-based brothers - David makes a passionate case for A World Beyond Alice.

Producer : Beaty Rubens.