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GuestsThe Writing Life
October 12, 2020

Merci Suárez se pone las pilas:  A Newbery Winner Gets Translated into Spanish

I’ve had the good fortune of having most of my work made available in Spanish translation. Tomorrow Merci Suárez se pone las pilas comes into the world to join the others. The title literally means, “Merci Suárez puts in her batteries.” Funny, right? But that is the magic of translation, the ability to capture the spirit and heart of a work. Photo credit: Valerie Block It’s the first time I’ve worked with the fabulous Alexis Romay, who was hand-picked for the project by my former translator, the late Teresa Mlawer, whose long and storied career included translations of Where the Wild Things Are and Harold and the Purple Crayon. An author, translator, and teacher, Alexis brings to this work our shared Cuban roots. He also brings his quick sense of humor, warmth, and respect for young people. In so many ways, this translation is a physical representation of our bicultural lives. On every page, I could feel him channeling Merci and bringing her to life for me in the language I spoke with my mother. It was as if two parts of myself were being knit together with his guidance. Here below is a video post by Alexis where he gives thanks to the many people who helped bring our book into the world. I especially love his explanation – about midway through - of why books in translations matter for children. As part of our celebration, please leave a comment in the comments section, and I’ll enter you to…