Daniel & Ismail—A Timely Children’s Book in Three Languages
At Restless Books, we believe that stories have the power to connect people across cultures and borders, and that great books can elevate us beyond our differences. One of the most extraordinary children’s books we’ve discovered so far is Daniel and Ismail, a Chilean picture book about a Jewish boy and a Muslim boy who become friends on the soccer field. To amplify its message of overcoming differences and bringing together cultures in conflict—and the universal power of soccer!—we’ve decided to translate it not only into English, but also into Hebrew and Arabic, with all three languages sharing the same page.
About Daniel & Ismail
Daniel and Ismail live in the same city and have the same birthday, but they’ve never met. This year they also get the same presents: a traditional scarf—for Daniel a tallit and for Ismail a keffiyeh—and a soccer ball. Taking their gifts out for a spin, they meet by chance on a soccer field, and they soon begin to play together and show off the tricks they can do.
They get so absorbed in the fun that they lose track of time and mix up their gifts: Daniel picks up Ismail's keffiyeh and Ismail takes Daniel's tallit. When they get home and discover their mistake, their parents are shocked and angry, asking the boys if they realize who wears those things.
That night, Daniel and Ismail have nightmares about what they have seen on the news and heard from adults about that other group of people. The next day, they find each other in the park and exchange their gifts, each commiserating with the other about the difficulties and judgements their people face. But soon, they’re back to what really matters: having fun and playing the game they both love.
What You Get
In addition to beautifully produced, hardcover, full-color copies of Daniel and Ismail, backers at the level of $25 or more can select from an array of rewards, including a Restless tote bag; additional international books from the Restless catalog; a high-quality print of the artwork; an original drawing of you, your child, or a friend by the book’s illustrator; becoming an official sponsor of the book, and more!
And all backers will get regular updates and peeks inside the publication process. Plus, last but not least, our undying gratitude!
About Restless Books
We started Restless Books in 2013 both as a response to a lamentable problem—very few books published in the United States come from countries and languages outside our own—and as a way to direct our passion for great stories that show us something beyond our own experience: our “restlessness.” Since then, we’ve published extraordinary books from places as diverse as Albania, Brazil, Cuba, Hungary, Iceland, India, Iran, Israel, Mexico, Nigeria, Pakistan, Russia, Uzbekistan, and many more. By the end of next year, we will have published the first books in English by 26 international authors, including the first novel from Madagascar ever to be translated into English.
Yonder: Restless Books for Young Readers
In the fall of 2017, Restless expanded our scope into international books for young readers, in a new imprint called Yonder. We believe that books from other countries, cultures, viewpoints, and storytelling traditions can open up a universe of possibility, especially for kids, and the wider our view, the more powerfully books enrich and expand us. By giving kids stories from different perspectives, we can teach them to place themselves in the shoes of others beyond their communities, and instill in them a lifelong curiosity about the world and their place in it.
Creating a Unique Multilingual Experience
With its honest reckoning with real-world conflict and its positive outlook on our ability to overcome our differences, Daniel and Ismail is the perfect Yonder title. It gives us the opportunity to do something unique: bring together Arabic, Hebrew, and English all on one page. The book will flow like Hebrew and Arabic books do, from right to left. For Hebrew and Arabic readers, it’ll feel natural. And for English readers, it will be an engaging lesson in other storytelling cultures—and a fun reading experience that will be unlike any other.
Why Multilingual Children's Books?
Only a fraction of global fiction is translated into English, and Restless Books is aiming to rectify this insufficiency by tapping into the need for multilingual literature. The bi- and multilingual population is exploding, and studies have shown that the benefits of exposing children to new languages at a young age are myriad, including:
- Better communication skills
- A higher attention span and faster decision-making skills
- A better understanding of other’s perspectives
- Advanced social-emotional skills
- Stronger ties with community and culture
- A clearer grasp of global issues
Plus, with multilingual books, we can double or triple a story’s readership and provide a useful tool in helping kids learn a new language. In publishing a diverse array of cross-cultural stories, we hope to inspire the multilingual, global readers of the future.
Risks and challenges
Publishing full color children’s books is expensive, especially for small independent publishers like Restless who can’t rely on the lower costs of a massive print run. But we will not sacrifice quality: fortunately, we work with a great printing partner who specializes in beautifully produced picture books from small presses. With your support, we’ll be able to meet the initial printing costs so we can focus our energies and budget on helping Daniel and Ismail to reach the broadest audience possible.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
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