The book entitled The Sea Saw is published by Vietnam Women’s Publishing House.
The English version by Tom Percival was published last year. It is about a long journey of a teddy bear travelling back from a beach with the help of the sea to gather with its owner Sofia, who accidentally lost it during her trip to the coast.
“The book is suitable for children but it also touches mature readers’ heart,” said Le Thu Ngoc, the book’s editor. “The bilingual book will inspire children to learn both English and Vietnamese.”
The writer tells a journey through decades from a little girl to an old woman in the 32-page books with beautiful illustrations.
The teddy bear belongs to little Sofia, the main character. Those two images are always intertwined in the story although they must be separated in terms of distance and time.
The translator was a 14-year-old, Nguyen Le Minh Phung. She won the Best Translator award for the Junior Ambassador for Literature in Vietnam in a contest held by the publishing house, the Irish Embassy and English language teaching centre Amslink.
“It is an extremely lovely story,” said Phung. “The plot is not complicated or so unique but somehow still touches the reader’s heart as it is like a gentle melody about a trip back for a reunion.
“The lesson from the story is educational especially to children and they will find their life more meaningful after reading this. The book itself is a work of art the reader can feel the illustrator’s dedication through each page of vivid or gloomy figures.
“I am a little proud of myself and feel a sense of accomplishment.”
Phung is a 9th-grade student at Archimedes High School in Hanoi. She likes learning languages and reading books so jumped at the chance to be the translator of the book The Sea Saw.