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immensity of the subject, getting across in a matter-of–fact way that where there is life, death is inevitable. 9+


D.E.S.I.G.N.


Ewa Solarz, illustrated by Aleksandra & Daniel Mizieliski, translated from Polish by Elbieta Wójcik-Leese, Gecko Press, 978 1 877467 83 9, £14.99 hbk


This innovative and informative non-fiction book explores the art of invention and design, selecting 69 designs from the last 150 years, created by famous designers from around the world. Household items from the classic to the most crazy: whether it is a chair designed in 1859 that is still in production today, novelty furniture such as ‘The Great Mouth’, influenced by the work of Salvador Dali or an indestructible sofa, there are weird and wonderful creations across a broad spectrum. Witty descriptions together with bold, striking illustrations enable the reader to learn about the origins and aesthetics of the objects that surround us. 9+


The Pasta Detectives


Andreas Steinhöfel, translated from German by Chantal Wright, Chicken House, 978 1 906427 27 5, £5.99 pbk


Rico notices things that no one else does. A small piece of rigatoni pasta lying on the pavement can provide him with hours of detective work. He sometimes feels as if his head is topsy-turvy like a barrel full of lottery balls. When Rico’s friend Oscar is kidnapped by the mysterious Mr. 2000 he is determined to solve the mystery. Rico’s autism is a constant theme throughout the book, though never mentioned directly. Through Rico’s narration, the analogies aptly convey his thought process and the translation deftly captures the nuances, enabling us to experiences what is going on inside his head. 8+


Fish in the Sky


Translated from Icelandic by Fridrik Erlings, Meadowside, 978 1 84539 342 7, £6.99 pbk


As Josh Stephenson starts his thirteenth year, his life begins to change. As he searches to discover who he is, Josh plays truant from school, rebels against his teachers and experiences pangs of a first love.


An exceptional coming of age novel that endeavours to explore the juxtaposition of teenage angst and sexual awakening; it tackles serious themes with an equal


10 No and Me


Delphine de Vignan, translated from French by George Miller, Bloomsbury, 978 0 7475 9964 7, £7.99 pbk


Thirteen-year-old narrator Lou Bertignac is a vulnerable, but highly intelligent girl with an IQ of 160. She doesn’t fit in at school and her life at home is stressful. Lou likes people-watching at Austerlitz station and it is here that she comes face to face with eighteen-year-old No who lives on the streets of Paris. Gradually Lou learns about No’s harsh existence and a growing trust and unlikely friendship develops between the two girls.


Delphine de Vignan doesn’t shy away from presenting the harsh realities of homelessness and shows Lou’s desperate wish to make No’s life better simply isn’t enough to transform her life. 12+ n


measure of compassion and humour. Erling’s eloquent prose is full of literary symbolism as the protagonist poses complex moral questions, with no simple solution ever offered. 12+


In the Sea there are Crocodiles


Fabio Geda, translated from Italian by Howard Curtis, David Fickling, 978 1 849 92098 8, £6.99 pbk


Winner of the 2013 Marsh Award for Children’s Literature in Translation, this novel is based on the remarkable story of Enaiatollah Akbari’s five-year journey from Afghanistan to Italy. He endures unimaginable hardships and hazardous challenges as he travels from Quetta, across into Iran to Turkey, Greece and finally Italy.


Told in the first person narrative, this is a revealing testament of the experiences faced by a young asylum-seeker. Geda captures Enaiat’s voice brilliantly as he puts some of their conversations into the narrative. As well as the hardships, setbacks and sadness of this story Enaiat’s sense of humour always shines through. 12+


Deborah Hallford is Co-Founder of Outside In World an organisation dedicated to promoting, exploring and celebrating books from around the world, particularly children’s books in translation. She previously co-edited Outside In: Children’s Books in Translation (2005, Milet) with Edgardo Zaghini.


Books for Keeps No.198 January 2013 9


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