Spanish Latin American Children’s Books Struggle to Find Publishers

Last week at the Congress of Language and Literature Children and Youth — Cilelij, held in Bogotá, Colombia, authors and illustrators from Latin America and Spain met to talk shop about children’s book production. Journalist Bruno Molinero reported that, among the countries participating in the conference, Brazil still appears to be an outsider, and the conference underscored the fact that many Latin American authors find it difficult to find a publisher for the Brazilian market. Brazilian titles, meanwhile, do not encounter the same obstacle in neighboring countries.

According to author Marina Colasanti, the barrier is no longer one merely of translating books from Spanish to Portuguese, but the dearth of literary agents in Brazil to negotiate contracts and transactions.

In addition, the lack of familiarity with Spanish-language authors among publishers and teachers may be a point of impasse, as publishers are reluctant to publish titles that will not immediately appeal to the all important education market in Brazil. If teachers are unfamiliar with the titles, they will not buy them; if teacher won’t buy them, publishers won’t publish them: it is a class chicken-or-the-egg first dilemma.

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