Category Archives: German Youth Literature

The Bear Who Wasn’t There: And The Fabulous Forest

the-bear-who-wasnt-thereA very positive bear, who is nice and handsome, too, sets out on a journey to find himself. With the help of Turtle Taxi, he travels through the Fabulous Forest that has eight directions – north, south, east, west, breakfast, lunch, right, and wrong. He meets Convenience Cow, Lazy Lizard, and Penultimate Penguin. In the end, he finds that he himself is just what he has been looking for all along. The musical wordplay and unusual illustrations in this absurd, clever, and philosophical story will remind readers of Winnie the Pooh, Alice in Wonderland, and The Wizard of Oz. mjw
Title: The Bear Who Wasn’t There: And The Fabulous Forest
Author: Oren Lavie
Illustrator
: Wolf Erlbruch
Publisher
: Black Sheep/Akashic Books
Copyright
: 2016
Original Language
: German
Original Title
: Der Bar Der Nicht da War
Original Publisher
: Verlag Antje Kunstmann GmbH
Original Copyright
: 2014
ISBN
: 978-1-61775-490-6
Hardcover pages
: 48
Age range
: 4-10
Genre
: Picture Book
Author’s ethnicity
: Born in Tel Aviv
Author’s residence
: Tel Aviv
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: Illustrator has won the German Children’s Book Prize,  the Hans Christian Andersen Medal, and the 2017 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award
Subjects
: Bears, Identity, Nature

The New Teacher

The New TeacherMiss Charlotte, the new teacher, is not like the others. She talks to a rock, has the class measure the room with cooked spaghetti, and tells captivating stories about a gorilla. Her students are convinced that she is crazy, but she makes learning fun and inspires them to think. However, not everyone approves of her methods. This modern-day Mary Poppins story is illustrated with quirky line drawings by Tony Ross. This is the first book in the Mademoiselle Charlotte series, which recounts the misadventures of the eccentric Mademoiselle in a variety of professions. mjw
Title: The New Teacher
Author: Dominique Demers
Illustrator
: Tony Ross
Publisher
: Alma Books, Ltd.
Copyright
: 2016
Original Language
: French
Translator
: Sander Berg
Original Title
: La Nouvelle Maitress
Original Publisher
: Editiones Quebec Amérique
Original Copyright
: 1994
ISBN
: 978-1-84688-399-6
Paperback pages
: 78
Age range
: 7-9
Genre
: Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: French Canadian
Author’s residence
: Montreal
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: British
Illustrator’s residence
: England
Awards
: Illustrator was a 2004 Hans Christian Andersen nominee, 1968 Deutscher Jugendliteraturpreis
Subjects
: Schools, Teachers

Hound And Hare

Hound and Hare copyHounds and hares don’t get along in the town of Great Bone because of an old feud. Teens Hugo Hound and Harley Hare both want to participate in the Big Race, but their parents don’t approve. They do enter the race and are both in the lead when a terrible thunderstorm breaks out. Hugo is terrified of the storm and Harley panics when he discovers that they are lost. By working together, they find their way home, share the first prize, and become the heroes of the day. Funny, colored pencil and ink cartoon style drawings complement the lively text in this picture book/early chapter book. The endpapers feature a map of the town. mjw
Title: Hound And Hare
Author: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Illustrator
: Rotraut Susanne Berner
Publisher
: Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press
Copyright
: 2011
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Shelley Tanaka
Original Title
: Hund & Hase
Original Publisher
: Jacoby and Stuart
Original Copyright
: 22009
ISBN
: 978-0-88899-987-0
Hardcover pages
: 80
Age range
: 6-9
Genre
: Picture Book/ Early Chapter Book
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Illustrator’s ethnicity
: German
Illustrator’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: 2016 Hans Christian Andersen Award, 2006 German Youth Literature Prize for her work as a whole
Subjects
: Community, Conflict resolution, Cooperation, Dogs, Hares, Hounds, Rabbits, Running races, Racing, Thunderstorms

You Can’t See The Elephants

You can't see the elephantsThirteen-year-old Mascha is bored living with her grandparents for the summer in their quiet, small town. She meets siblings, Max, 7, and Julia, 9, who are withdrawn and shy and covered with bruises. Mascha suspects that their father is physically abusing them and when the adults don’t listen, she takes matters into her own hands. She makes some unusual choices, kidnaps the children, and locks them in an abandoned farmhouse in a nearby field. Mascha is brave, helpless, and desperate, and she wants to do the right thing, but her actions bring unintended consequences for everyone. This disturbing, heartbreaking, and straightforward novel about child abuse is discussion provoking  mjw
Title: You Can’t See The Elephants
Author: Susan Kreller
Publisher
: G.P.Putnam’s Sons, an imprint of Penguin Young Readers Group, USA
Copyright
: 2015
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Elizabeth Gaffney
Original Title
: Elefanten sieht man nicht
Original Publisher
: Carlsen Verlag Gmb H
Original Copyright
: 2012
ISBN
: 978-0-399-17209-0
Hardcover pages
: 192
Age range
: 10 up
Genre
: Fiction
Book setting
: The translator set the book in the USA
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: Author has been nominated for the German Youth Literature prize twice and has won the Kranichsteiner Literary Prize
Subjects
: Abuse, Brothers and sisters, Child abuse, Dysfunctional relationships, Grandparents, Siblings

Anton and Piranha

Anton and PiranhaAnton is looking forward to his summer vacation with his grandparents, until they reach the campsite and discover there is no pool. There is just a dark, murky lake filled with disgusting sludge. He is deeply disappointed and cannot understand why the other kids are happy to dive bomb (Caramba!) and swim in it all day long. He goes fishing with his grandfather and discovers a friend – a fish he names Piranha. The humor in this funny, quirky tale about eccentric and witty Anton is universal. Amusing black and white illustrations supplement the text. There is a frog on the corners of the pages, which appears animated if you flick through them quickly. mjw
Title: Anton and Piranha
Author: Milena Baisch
Illustrator
: Elle Kusche
Publisher
: Andersen Press, London
Copyright
: 2013
Original Language
: German
Translator
: Chantal Wright
Original Title
: Anton Taucht Ab
Original Publisher
: Beltz and Celberg
Original Copyright
: 2010
ISBN
: 978-184-939-6196
Paperback pages
: 99
Age range
: 9-12
Genre
: Fiction
Author’s ethnicity
: German
Author’s residence
: Germany
Translator’s ethnicity
: English
Translator’s residence
: England
Awards
: 2011 German Youth Literature Prize, 2015 Marsh Award for Translation shortlist
Subjects
: Camping, Fish, Grandparents, Piranhas, Vacations

Deep Sea

51Jg2DdyHVL._SY344_BO1,204,203,200_Almost four years ago, Stephie, now nearly sixteen, and her eleven-year-old sister Nellie, were sent from Nazi-occupied Vienna to Sweden by their parents. She lives in the city on the mainland and attends school. Nellie lives on a remote island in the Goteborg archipelago with her foster parents. Stephie worries about her education, her sister, her faith, and her parents, who are in a concentration camp in Austria. Smoothly integrated into this delicate coming of age story are details about how neutral Sweden was affected by the war. The present tense, third-person narration gives the novel an unusual impact. This is the third installment in a quartet of books about Stephie’s experiences as a Jewish refugee in Sweden during World War II. The first, Faraway Island, won the 2010 Batchelder Award. The second, The Lily Pond, was a Batchelder Honor Book in 2012. mjw
Title: Deep Sea
Author: Annika Thor
Publisher
: Random House Children’s Books, Delacorte Press, New York
Copyright
: 2015
Original Language
: Swedish
Translator
: Linda Schenk
Original Title
: Havets djup
Original Publisher
: Bonnier Carlsen, Stockholm
Original Copyright
: 1998
ISBN
: 978-0-385-74385-3
Hardcover pages
: 229
Age range
: 12-16
Genre
: Historical fiction
Book setting
: Sweden
Author’s ethnicity
: Swedish
Author’s residence
: Stockholm, Sweden
Awards
: Author has won the Deutsche Jugendliteraturpries
Subjects
: Jews, Refugees, Sisters, Sweden, World War II

Why We Took The Car

Why We Took the Car Book Cover German eighth grader, Mike Klingenberg, is a boring kid with no friends.  He is left alone for two weeks while his mother is in rehab and his father is away on a “business trip” with his attractive secretary.  Andrej Tschichatschow, aka Tschick, is a Russian immigrant, the new kid in school, and also not popular. When Tschick shows up in a stolen beat-up Soviet-era car, the boys head out of Berlin on a road trip adventure across Germany.  They have no map, no cell phone, and no plan. They meet some bizarre characters, dodge the police, and travel the autobahn.  This is an insightful, exuberant, and highly engaging coming of age novel. mjw
Title: Why We Took The Car
Author: Wolfgang Herrndorf
Illustrator
: Wolfgang Herrndorf
Publisher
: Arthur A. Levine Books, an imprint of Scholastic, Inc., New York
Copyright
: 2014
Original language
: German
Translator
: Tim Mohr
Original title
: Tschick
Original publisher
: Rowohlt Verlag
Original copyright
: 2010
ISBN
: 978-0-545-48180-9
Hardcover pages
: 256
Age range
: 14-17
Genre
: Contemporary realistic fiction
Book setting
: Germany
Author’s residence
: Germany
Awards
: German Youth Literature Prize
Subjects
: Adventure, Automobile theft, Berlin, Cars, Friends, Germany, Russians, Western Europe