IBBY, the International Board on Books for Young People, has included Torrie and the Snake-Prince in its catalogue of “outstanding books for young people with disabilities” for 2011. Snake-Prince is one of twelve books in the sixty page publication that comes in for special mention. They say, “Among the many good books that we received for this project, we would like to make a special mention of twelve. … Torrie & the Snake Prince (cat. no. 47) by K. V. Johansen is a fantasy novel full of magic, trickery and humour, where the young peddler Wren has to take charge when she discovers that heroes are not born – they happen” (pp. 9-13). Quite an honour for Torrie and Wren.
If you’re interested in reading the whole catalogue from IBBY, you can find it here, but if you have a slow connection, be warned, it’s a big, graphics-heavy pdf, and it only loads one page; you have to wait to get the disc icon and then download it to your own machine to read the whole thing.
Torrie and the Snake-Prince, which came out back in 2007, was on both the Silver Birch and Hackmatack children’s choice award shortlists, and has been translated into Macedonian. The Macedonian translation received the first Ana Frank International Award for Children’s Literature, an award for children’s books published in Macedonian, in 2010. Snake-Prince isn’t what I call an “about” book; disability is not the theme. The hero, Wren, who is quite busy, what with being a travelling pedlar in the mountains, fighting off goblin, griffin, and dryad attacks, and going on quests to rescue princes, just happens to have a club foot. This causes her some extra difficulties on her journeys, but she isn’t one to feel down about anything for long; even when she’s hurt and tired and can’t see her way ahead, she gets back up and carries on. Wren is also going to be the hero of the next Torrie book, which I’m not finished writing yet. Other projects (see previous post!) have gotten in the way. I promise to finish it before too long, though.