Successful children’s authors

Category : Education/Family

Unlocking Word Meanings

Read the following words/expressions found in today’s article.

  1. beloved / bɪˈlʌv ɪd / (adj.) – loved, liked, or wanted very much by someone

    She made a dress for her beloved daughter.

  2. nonsense / ˈnɒn sɛns / (n.) – words or ideas that are silly or have no meaning

    Little kids who know only very few words sometimes speak nonsense.

  3. rhyme / raɪm / (n.) – a word or phrase that has the same ending sound as another word or phrase

    “Goose” is a rhyme for “moose.”

  4. toddler / ˈtɒd lər / (n.) – a child who’s still learning to walk

    Risa has no babysitter, so she brings her little toddler everywhere she goes.

  5. budding / ˈbʌdɪŋ / (adj.) – starting to develop well or become successful

    It’s very hard for the teenage actor to balance school and his budding career.


Read the text below.

Last month, Eric Carle, the beloved children’s book writer and illustrator, died. His most famous book, The Very Hungry Caterpillar — about a caterpillar that ate different things each day and turned into a butterfly — has been translated into at least 66 languages, including Japanese.

It’s a reminder of how easily many books for kids travel the world. Libraries and homes across Japan have Japanese-language editions of Italian American illustrator Leo Lionni’s Swimmy, about the importance of facing challenges together, and Beatrix Potter’s stories of Peter Rabbit and his friends in the English countryside.

Some English books don’t always work well in Japanese: Dr. Seuss’s books are great fun in English because of the nonsense rhymes, but they are hard to translate. Still, you can find Japanese versions of some Dr. Seuss classics, like Horton Hears a Who.

But the translations have gone the other way, too, with a flood of popular Japanese books for toddlers getting translated into English. These include: the Guri and Gura series of books by Rieko Nakagawa and her sister Yuriko Yamawaki, about two mice who love to cook; It Might Be an Apple, a wonderful story by Shinsuke Yoshitake for budding creative types that looks at how you can use imagination to make the world seem exciting; and of course, we can’t leave out Taro Gomi’s Everyone Poops, a fun book that helps kids with their toilet training.

Reading children’s books in translation is a great way to taste different cultures. It’s interesting that only 3% of books in the U.S. are translations — it might help explain why so many Americans aren’t curious about the world. Bedtime stories are a first step to understanding, and translated books help little minds learn about other countries. (T)

This article was provided by The Japan Times Alpha.

Viewpoint Discussion

Enjoy a discussion with your tutor.

Discussion A

  • The article says that only 3% of books in the US are translations and that this might help explain why so many Americans aren’t curious about the world. Do you agree that having access to books translated from other languages will make a person more curious about the world? Why or why not? Discuss.
  • Dr. Seuss’s books are often hard to translate because of their nonsense rhymes. What are other common reasons that some books are hard to translate into other languages? Can you think of any books in your native language that would be hard to translate? Why? Discuss.

Discussion B

  • What do you think makes a children’s book famous (ex. good illustrations, cute stories)? Why? Discuss.
  • Some adults read children’s books in order to learn other languages. Do you think this is a successful learning strategy? Why or why not? Discuss.
Category : Education/Family