One of the reading challenges that I decided to take up for next year is Reading the World. I want to read book with a variety of viewpoints and what better way to do it then reading books from every country in the world?
Challenge #1 is deciding what constitutes “from that country.” I started out by googling “Afghanistan books” or something equally brilliant. Low and behold, 100% of the books that came up were written about Afghanistan by western authors. Hmm. Seeking out books by authors from that country suddenly felt that much more important.
Next, I followed a link to a Goodreads list of Aghan-fiction. Khaled Hosseini. I adore Khaled Hosseini. Well, I adore his books. I don’t know him. But he was what I needed to verify so I did another search. Hosseini’s father was a diplomat and when he was 11 they moved to France and from there to the US. I’ve already read his books, maybe I could find someone who lived in Afghanistan and wrote children’s books.
Another search revealed Idries Shah. The library has three of his picture books, so I did another search. Shah was born in India and grew up in England. Yes, I’ve requested his books but seriously can’t I find someone in Afghanistan?
I mentioned this project to a local librarian and she is already on the search. Still, I think I have some decisions to make. Do expatriots count? Did the book have to be published in that particular country first? I begin to feel like I’ve set up a truly crazy scavenger hunt for myself!
I finally discovered that you could find authors by googling “Turkish authors” or “Afghani authors” but I want to focus on children’s books. Genius that I am, it finally hit me. Start with the ALA Mildred Batchelder Award. Yep. Books in translation. Books not published in the US that are available in English. I will not admit how long it took me to arrive at this thought.