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Friday, July 27, 2012


In Chile, foreign children's books, translated, open worlds for kids

In Chile, foreign children's books, translated, open worlds for kids
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Anne Hansen is the Danish founder of Libro Alegre.
Chile's children's book industry isn't known for light-hearted, fun reads. It's about morality-building and lesson-teaching. So a Dane, who lived in Chile for a time, decided to change that. She's organized a library that receives foreign-language books and then translates them into Spanish.

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In Valparaiso, a city on the coast of Chile, a small library is working to introduce local children to a new universe of books.
The library is called Libro Alegre, which means ’Happy Book’ or ‘Cheerful Book.’ It is a happy place, stuffed with dolls, legos, and one of those toy kitchens with plastic food.
First and foremost, though, it’s a library that’s stuffed with stories.
“It truly, genuinely, is a unique collection of books,” said Imogen Mark, a volunteer at Libro Alegr.
Mark is British but has lived in Chile for years. She explained that people donate books, mostly from Scandinavian countries. The books then get translated into Spanish. Finally those translations are printed out and pasted into the books, right over the original Danish or Swedish or English text.
“So they’re recycled books, but they’re books that really don’t exist anywhere else in Chile” she said.
The library is actually in two places now: Most of the books are in the main building, in what you might call the touristy part of Valparaiso, not far from the harbor. There’s also a collection of books high up in the hills above the city, in a poor neighborhood called Montedónico.

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