In Other Words 2017

The inaugural In Other Words prize in 2017 saw then Children's Laureate Chris Riddell and Carnegie Award-winning author Kevin Brooks unveil four Honour Titles at a special event at the Bologna Book Fair: 

Sputterfly by Simon van der Gees, translated from Dutch by Laura Watkinson; A Good Day for Climbing a Tree by Jaco Jacobs, translated from Afrikaans by Kobus Geldenhuys; Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter, translated from Danish by Sian Mackie; and The Raven's Children by Yulia Yakoleva, translated from Russian by Maria Kozlovskaya Wiltshire.

The four titles were selected from nearly 400 submissions from around the world, and were chosen for their strong narratives and commercial potential.

All eight shortlisted titles are available for English language publication - three have already been acquired by UK publishers - and the partially translated texts can be found by clicking on the books below. A marketing bursary of £1500 is available from BookTrust to support the UK publication of each of these titles. 

For full information about the titles, including rights contacts and funding opportunities for translation, please download the In Other Words rights guide 2017.

You can also keep up to date with In Other Words 2018 here.

Michael Morpurgo, BookTrust President, said:

'This is a time when it was never more important for young people in this country to read stories of other peoples who have other cultures, other histories, other landscapes, other languages; to discover difference, and most importantly what it is that unites us all. Perhaps it is the power literature has to help us empathise that is its greatest gift to us in a world where empathy is so badly needed, and seemingly in such short supply.'

Honour titles


Author: Simon van der Geest Translator: Laura Watkinson (from Dutch)

Written in diary form, Sputterfly is the story of insect-lover Hidde, his brother Jeppe, and their mum. Three years after the death of Ward, their big brother, they're all still feeling the impact. Hidde hides away in his secret cellar with his menagerie of insects, carrying out experiments without realising how cruel he's being. Jeppe's become a bully who l…

Read more about Sputterfly

A Good Day For Climbing Trees

Author: Jaco Jacobs Illustrator: Jim Tierney Translator: Kobus Geldenhuys from Afrikaans

Thirteen-year-old Marnus finds himself at the centre of a protest when he and a girl named Leila camp out in a tree to prevent it from being cut down by developers. This is the perfect feel-good book from one of South Africa’s top children’s authors.

Read more about A Good Day For Climbing Trees

Elise and the Second-Hand Dog

Author: Bjarne Reuter Illustrator: Kirsten Raagaard Translator: Sian Mackie from Danish

Elise gets a secondhand mongrel to keep her company – and turns out, the dog's name is McAddudi and he’s from Scotland. Elise and McAddudi soon grow to become best friends. A quirky and original book that is full of laughs and heart.

Read more about Elise and the Second-Hand Dog

The Raven’s Children

Author: Yulia Yakovleva Translator: Ruth Ahmedzai Kemp from Russian

It’s 1938 and siblings Shura and Tanya are good Soviet citizens and comrades. But there are spies and enemies everywhere. Gripping and at times quite surreal, the book – which is popular in Russia – is inspired by true events from the author’s family past.

Read more about The Raven’s Children


Her Name's Not Cruella De Vil

Author: Anna Lavatelli Translator: from Italian by Denise Muir

This book starts as a garrulous tale of teenage angst and turns into a slower-paced, dramatic account of life in fascist Italy and Stalinist Russia. The young narrator, Katia, tells how she used to be at odds with her world and how misplaced anger led her to vandalise the property of an elderly lady. Her friends are sent on work placements but Katia is order…

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Jigsaw Puzzle

Author: Maria Fernanda Maquieira Translator: from Spanish by Serafina Vick

Jigsaw Puzzle is set in a run-down suburb of Buenos Aires in 1982. Our narrator, Mora, is a 10-year-old orphan who has been raised by her maternal grandmother. A somewhat precocious narrator, Mora humorously describes her daily school life, her close-knit group of friends and the eccentric characters in her neighbourhood. The narrative is also ridden with da…

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Some Kid Lived Here & Other Stories

Author: Mi-Kyoung Song Translator: from Korean by Sophie Bowman

Sometimes there are strange worlds lurking inside our everyday lives. Sometimes our 'normal' everyday lives turn out to be anything but. This collection of five stories contains a range of eerie and unsettling variations on the theme of the ordinary.

In Some Kid Lived Here, a lone kid roams undetected from home to home with nowhere to call his own, and le…

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The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt

Author: Finn-Ole Heinrich Translator: from German by Katy Derbyshire

Mona's parents call her Groana because she's sometimes grumpy and loses her temper. She and her mother have moved out of their home and into a strange flat on the other side of town. Mona doesn't know why, and plans to put things right as soon as possible. At her new school, she reluctantly makes friends with a boy called Mo. Mo knows why the new flat is so …

Read more about The Amazing Adventures of Groana Schmitt


Sarah ArdizzoneSarah Ardizzone

Award-winning translator

Sarah Ardizzone is an award-winning translator from French. She translates everything from picture books and children's and YA fiction to graphic novels and grown up literary fiction. She has a special interest in translating sharp dialogue, urban and migrant slang.

Daniel HahnDaniel Hahn

Writer, editor and translator

Daniel Hahn is a writer, editor and translator from Portuguese, Spanish and French with some 50 books to his name.. His work has won him the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize and the Blue Peter Book Award, among others. He is a past chair of the Translators Association and the Society of Authors. 

Emma LangleyEmma Langley

Arts Council England

Emma Langley is responsible for international literature and translation at Arts Council England. She has a background in children's publishing and freelances in research and evaluation for various education projects.


Florentyna MartinFlorentyna Martin

Children's Book Buyer for Waterstones

Florentyna Martin is the Children's Book Buyer for Waterstones, where she looks after book ranges for ages 0-12 and the Waterstones Children's Book Prize. A bookworm through-and-through, Florentyna has always enjoyed reading and recommending great books across children's and adult publishing.

Nicolette JonesNicolette Jones

Writer, critic and broadcaster

Nicolette Jones is a writer, critic and broadcaster specialising in literary and arts journalism. She has been the Children's Books Reviewer of The Sunday Times for more than two decades, and in 2012 was shortlisted for the Eleanor Farjeon Award for distinguished service to the world of children's books. 

Elaine McQuadeElaine McQuade

Children's books consultant

Elaine McQuade is a children's books consultant. Her career in children's publishing included working at Puffin, Oxford University Press and Scholastic, and she is currently a Trustee of the Roald Dahl Museum and Story Centre and of the Centre for Literacy in Primary Education (CLPE).

Jill ColemanJill Coleman

BookTrust's director of children's books

Jill Coleman is Director of Children's Books. She is responsible for BookTrust's expert selection and recommendation of great books, managing book purchasing across the organisation, and working with arts organisations, publishers, authors, and illustrators to promote excellence in children's books.