Catalogue “White Ravens” includes 250 children’s books selected from more than 9,000 new books published in 40 countries. Every year the International Youth Library in Munich receives many books from all over the world, experts pick the best of these books and write reviews on them. The books selected by experts are listed in the catalogue and the library presents them at the world’s largest book fair in Bologna. “White Ravens” is a prestigious catalogue, it is a kind of a guide for critics, authors, publishers, illustrators, and, most importantly, for parents. It outlines trends in contemporary children’s literature and presents the best books for young readers around the world.
Eight Days in the Life of Chipmunk is a story about the issues that concern modern school students. The book is written with humor, it demonstrates understanding of the author of the subtleties of child psychology. The author tells the reader about the concept of “borrowed” goals and the results to which it may lead. Earlier the book Eight Days in the Life of Chipmunk was on the short list of the literary prize “BBC Book of the Year 2012.” This is already the second book of the publishing house “Grani-T” that was included in the prestigious international catalogue “White Ravens”: in 2011 the book Mitten Full of Poems by Vasyl Holobordko, the literary editor of which was, by the way, Ivan Andrusiak, was also included in the catalogue.
Interestingly, for both the creative studio “Agrafka” and the publishing house “Navchalna Knyha – Bohdan” that published Ripka it was also the second recognition from the “White Ravens” initiative. Last year their book The Mitten was included in the catalogue too. This year’s Ripka is a new successful interpretation of folk classics. Creative studio “Agrafka” through the interpretation of the talented illustrators Romana Romanyshyn and Andrii Lesiv gave a new unexpected and modern ring to the familiar tale about turnip. They successfully combined text by Ivan Franko, which was first published in 1891 with modern (and quite experimental for Ukrainian children’s book) illustrations that attract the attention not only of the young readers, but also of the adult connoisseurs of interesting publications.
The fact that Ukrainian children’s books are regularly presented in “White Ravens” is not a pleasant coincidence but a result of deliberate and persistent work of the publishers, their desire to make their books known worldwide. It is a positive trend, which demonstrates that the segment of children’s literature in Ukraine, despite the regular pessimistic forecasts for the national book publishing, is constantly evolving and that the publishers are interested in literary trends and events outside Ukraine and, therefore, they try to be on the same wave with the global publishing process. These are only the first steps but, nevertheless, successful ones.
Olena MOVCHAN, chief editor of the Ukrainian publishing house “Grani-T”:
“In the past three years our books twice were listed in one of the world’s most respected ratings of best children’s books. This means that we make books of high quality in every sense. We are genuinely proud of this. Local backroom books competitions is one thing, but to be on par with progressive publishers from all over the world is a totally new level – ‘major league’ so to say, where we were able to get because of the our love to what we do.
“Submitting a book for a competition is, of course, a very important step for any publisher, but it is the easiest step on the path to the victory. At first you have to publish a book and in this you don’t get spare attempts, you have to make exactly the right kind of book here and now. We regularly send our new books to the Munich International Youth Library and have repeatedly received positive feedback from Katja Wiebe, who manages the Slavic and Baltic section of the library. Expert Committee of the ‘White Ravens’ ranking is well acquainted with our publishing house. For me every book we publish is dear and unique.
“The fact that Ukrainian children’s books are regularly listed in the ‘White Ravens’ catalogue indicates that in Ukraine there are a few hard-working and caring children’s publishers that can easily compete with international publishers and are even capable of making pleasant surprises for them.”