Category Archives: Mildred L. Batchelder

The Pull of the Ocean

Written by by Jean-Claude Mourlevat, The Pull of the Ocean was translated from French by Y. Maudet and won the Mildred L. Batchelder Award in 2007.  This reimagined fairy-tale based on Tom Thumb tells the story of tiny, silent ten-year-old Yann and his three sets of twin brothers and their escape from their abusive parents. Continue reading

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Nothing by Janne Teller

The Mildred L. Batchelder award is awarded to a book that was originally published in a language other than English in a country other than the United States. Nothing by Janne Teller is a 2011 honor book. It was originally published in Denmark in 2000. This book really reminds me of the short story, The Lottery by Shirley Jackson. The school children in this book are grappling with the idea that nothing matters. The book begins with a boy called Pierre Anthon saying “nothing matters…I’ve known that for a long time. So nothing’s worth doing. I just realized that.”

This is such a monstrous thing for his classmates to accept that they must prove to Pierre Anthon that he is wrong. They do this by creating a “heap of meaning” and each child has to sacrifice what means most to them to the heap. But what happens when they go to far? This is a great book for older children who can understand the underlying questions and themes found in Nothing. Is an idea worth causing pain and suffering for? What does emotion and feeling have to do with anything? Does nothing really matter?

This book was very haunting. I think that most kids would need to be in an environment where they might be able to discuss the contents of the book. But it was really good!

I copied and pasted this from Teller’s website

http://www.janneteller.dk/?English

Nothing, Teller’s existential and so far only novel for young adults, is the winner of the important Best Children’s Book Prize from the Danish Cultural Ministry as well as the prestigious Le Prix Libbylit 2008 for best novel for children in the French-speaking world. In February 2010 it will be published in the United States by Atheneum (Simon&Schuster).

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