Encouraging Exchange and Building Bridges Through Translated Children’s Literature
Photo Credit: Aneta Pawlik
We are ACHSE Verlag, a small publishing house for children’s books, based in Vienna. We are thrilled to share the news that in 2024 and 2025 we are carrying out the project CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD, co-funded by the European Union.
CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD is all about broadening our horizons and celebrating diversity by translating and promoting ten contemporary children’s picture books from non-German-speaking EU countries neighbouring Austria. These countries include the Czech Republic, Hungary, Italy, Slovakia, and Slovenia. The books we are choosing are all embracing diverse characters and societal themes, addressing topics like inclusion, gender equality, and the environment.
Our project goes beyond translating books – it’s about connecting people and encouraging collaboration across diverse backgrounds and cultures. We aim to establish a strong network of book professionals through personal meetings and events in each country, creating a sense of community and collaboration.
CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD will enhance the reach and diversity of European children’s books, supporting cultural understanding among literary neighbours.
The mission of ACHSE Verlag
ACHSE consists of León Schellhaas and Teresa Mossbauer, and together we run ACHSE Verlag, an independent picture and children’s book publisher from Vienna, Austria. We are committed to contributing to a more just and inclusive world. Edgy topics, beautiful books, and an innovative approach to publishing sum up our mission.
While our own productions are a big part of the ACHSE program, we started translating remarkable children’s books from Europe in 2022. And what an astonishing ride this was! We discovered many great books from our neighbours which were not available in the German market. That’s why we decided to launch our project, CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD and bring those European books to Austria’s bookshops, kindergartens, and schools.
Language diversity, translators, and visibility
Of course, Austria’s book market has access to translations, but one can buy dozens of books from far-away countries, but few from our neighbours. What a pity, no? By publishing books originally written in Czech, Hungarian, Italian, Slovakian, and Slovenian, we bring visibility to underrepresented languages in the German book market.
We are weaving a network of skilled translators to ensure the best quality of our translated books and reach young readers. We will work together with Anne Brauner (Italian), Mirko Kraetsch (Czech, Slovak), Éva Zádor (Hungarian) and Alexandra Natalie Zaleznik (Slovenian). Giving visibility to translators is a top-priority for CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD, and we invite all our translators to become ambassadors for the translated title – organizing joint events, presentations, or workshops.
The NEIGHBOURHOOD network
The process of publishing translated books involves the contact with different amazing people: foreign publishers, agents, translators, authors, and illustrators from different countries and cultural backgrounds. Even though we might come from different countries, we have a lot in common and our working conditions, challenges, and experiences are similar. CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD wants to use our joint forces and create the NEIGHBOURHOOD network for book professionals in all participating countries. We envision a friendly, helpful community for book creators, going beyond just making books and opening a space for innovation and shared learning. The creation of this network will help publishers and literary institutions to collaborate all year long and strengthen the competitiveness of cross-border projects.
Getting children to read is crucial for our society. But buying books is expensive and not affordable for everyone. We want our books to be read by as many kids as possible and ensure low-threshold access. That’s why we will donate free copies of every CREATING NEIGHBOURHOOD-title to schools, libraries, and educational/social institutions in Austria. We hope to reach readers who might not have had the opportunity to read those books otherwise and generate knowledge about European books, languages, and translations.