Here is the shortlist for the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation, awarded biannually since 1996.
The Pasta Detectives by Andreas Steinhöfel translated from German by Chantal Wright (The Chicken House, 2010)
An inventive and highly entertaining detective story involving a curious, intrepid, crash helmet-wearing protagonist. The Pasta Detectives offers a unique narrative voice that is both gripping and humorous, with an element of the cartoon about it. The intriguing relationship between the two central characters is beautifully naively expressed in Chantal Wright's translation, while Rico's gift of noticing things nobody else does ensures that this is a whodunit with a real difference.
Letters to Anyone and Everyone by Toon Tellegen translated from Dutch by Martin Cleaver, illustrated by Jessica Ahlberg (Boxer Books Ltd, 2009)
A completely original epistolary novel composed of 23 letters from a range of creatures including a snail, an elephant, a bear and an ant - to each other and to the world around them - and all delivered by the wind. The voices are distinct and the dreams, musings and possibilities explored are delightfully surreal (can Elephant and Snail dance on Snail's house?), philosophical and gently humorous. Cleaver's translation captures Tellegren's richly imagined world and the distinctive characters and poetic voices in it.
No and Me by Delphine de Vigan translated from French by George Miller (Bloomsbury Publishing, 2010)
A refreshingly honest and unsentimental novel that broaches homelessness in a way that will appeal to both adults and children. No and Me brilliantly portrays the friendship between two teenage girls, and expresses how loneliness can exist where you least expect it. Miller's deft translating style is simple yet emotionally charged, and the reader watches on as determined Lou comes to realise that part of growing up involves understanding that some things can't be changed.
David's Story by Stig Dalager translated from Danish by Frances Østerfelt & Cheryl Robson (Aurora Metro Publications, 2010)
Based on real accounts by children, this is a chilling documentary-style account of the Second World War. The de-humanising struggle for everyday survival in the ghetto is seen through the eyes of young David, for whom horror almost becomes banal. Rich in authentic and unexpected detail (even for such well-documented terrain), the narrative is punctured by deeply shocking scenes. Frances Østerfelt & Cheryl Robson's translation retains a real sense of David's initial bewilderment followed by a grim but always sympathetic toughening up in this tale that cannot be ignored.
The winner of the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation 2011 will be announced at a ceremony held by The English-Speaking Union, on Thursday 20 January 2011. The award of £2000 will go to the winning translator.
The Judging Panel - for the current award:
Sarah Ardizzone - Translator, winner of the Marsh Award for Children's Literature in Translation
Wendy Cooling OBE - Children's book consultant, author and critic.
Dr Colin Niven OBE - Teacher, former Headmaster
Elizabeth Hammill OBE - Co-founder of Seven Stories, the Centre for Children's Books, and critic