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What International Children's Literature Offers

The following is a speech Jessica Powers, our Editorial and Foreign Rights Director, gave at the 2019 Neustadt Children's Literature Conference. 
Two weeks ago, I returned from a six-week trip in South Africa with my 13 year old niece. My niece has not traveled a lot and she had never been outside the U.S. so this was kind of a big deal. Now, my niece is a very American teen. She’s articulate, smart, sassy, stubborn, extremely opinionated, and a bit self-centered and full of herself. She’s interested in typically American things: she’s in love with the musicals Hamilton and Be More Chill, both which she can quote and sing by heart; she’s devoted to anime; and she listens to music like “Heavy Dirty Soul” by 21 Pilots. So...When I go to South Africa, I do not travel in hotels or go on safari. Thirteen years ago, an Ndebele family in Johannesburg emotionally adopted me as a member of their clan, so my niece was getting herself into something the likes of which she had never seen bef…

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