We’ve made it! Day 30! And it just so happens to coincide with International Translation Day, celebrating the work of translators across the world.
The last book in our 30 day World Kid Lit Challenge is Queen of Seagulls by Rūta Briede, translated from Latvian by Elīna Brasliņa (The Emma Press).
Lottie (Dominic and Emma’s cousin – 6): I thought it was really good. The best bit in the book is when he was trying to show her how to love seagulls.
Dominic: It was a bit awkward that she forgot that she was the Queen of Seagulls. The writing was a bit hard to read in the middle but it looked nice. The pictures only had a few colours in – I liked them!
I went the London Book Fair this year and attended a talk about picture books, where The Emma Press was discussing this book. I felt inspired to come home and order it.
The book tells the story of a lady called Renata (it’s fair to say she’s quite a grumpy lady) who is enraged by seagulls and cannot understand why they won’t leave her alone – it’s as if they’re trying to tell her something. Just as she is despairing at the arrival of a nuisance neighbour, the narrative cuts to a time gone by, cleverly using a different font to highlight the distance between the narrative voices. This middle section tells of her previous life as Queen of Seagulls and how she came to be where she is. All of which in the current narrative, she has no memory.
As the story unfolds back in the present, an accident involving the nuisance neighbour, a fishing rod and an accordion brings the two together with music acting as a catalyst to unlock her memories. Suddenly, she understands everything and can now hear the message the seagulls have for her.
The illustrations in this book are wonderful. They are simple line drawings with a splash of colour yet there is such detail contained within them.
Many thanks to everyone who has been following this challenge. Tomorrow I’ll be posting a bit about what we have learnt over the course of the last month and what impact this may have on our reading choices in the future. Look out also for a round up of the challenge and some of our favourite books in the November/December issue of The Bulletin from the Institute of Translation and Interpreting.