Where is the comparative YA lit?


book heartFor those that don’t know, my degree is not in English, but Comparative Literature and Languages. I read a good deal of world literature and found similarities and differences in style, characters, etc. (see my senior essay on how Russian lit influenced modern Japanese lit here!). I was recently discussing my degree with someone and it got me thinking that I don’t read a whole lot of works by non-American authors these days (unless I don’t realize they’re not American. Maybe I’m naively assuming they’re all American!).

I tried to do some Googling of best selling non-American YA authors but not a whole lot comes up. I found this list which has the very obvious JK Rowling and Cornelia Funk but I don’t recognize a lot of the other authors and some of the titles are very dated and strike me as odd to be considered YA (Crime and Punishment?!).

I know a lot of American titles make it across the Pond and onto Europe but I’m curious if they make it over to the Middle East and Asian countries as well. Do we get their work translated here as well? I think an influx of stories dealing with teens in different cultures could really be beneficial to young readers, especially in helping to banish racism and coming to learn that different doesn’t mean bad. I know there is a push in American YA lit for characters of color and minorities but I’d love to see the stories actually coming from different cultures where the authors have first hand accounts of the lifestyles, rituals and taboos there.

With a little more Google-fu, I found some other lists and articles that I will definitely be checking out!

Different but worthwhile foreign YA fiction translated to English
The Power of Foreign Young Adult Literature

Do you have a favorite non-American YA author? What are some of your favorite foreign stories?


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