Monday, 3 November 2008

Afrikaans Co-Edition

Today the postman delivered a surprise package. When I undid the jiffy bag, I found an edition of An Itch To Scratch in Afrikaans! Gullane, the British publisher, will have emailed me about this when the deal was struck, but it is often such a long while before the book appears, that I forget all about it.

Illustrators and authors should always be sent a copy of every foreign edition, so after a while you build up quite a collection. They come in all sorts of interesting and obscure languages. The Scandinavian ones are always rather fun, but my favourite so far is the Arabic edition of Big Bad Wolf Is Good.

Last year I decided that it was a terrible waste though, having all those books sitting unread on my shelf, so I put an ad on Freecycle, to see if anyone could make good use of them. The response was astounding: people teaching their kids a foreign language, teachers with mixed race classes, librarians, people with friends abroad... I even got someone to agree to take an African co-edition on holiday with them, to donate to a local school.

I've kept the Arabic Big Bad Wolf Is Good though, as it's so interesting for school visits. Compare it to the original: notice the reversed cover image? I didn't realise until I got this book, but not only do you read Arabic from right to left, but you also read an Arabic book in the opposite direction, actually opening the cover the other way. So the entire book, including all the illustrations are reversed!

You learn something every day.


Doda said...

Wow, that must be one cool collection of books!

Lynne Chapman said...

Certainly a little odd!