Outside in World

by | Feb 9, 2024 | Blog

Outside in World and the Work They Do; Written by Dr Sophie Heywood from Reading University and Patricia Billings, trustee of Outside in World.

Despite living in a globalised world, only a very few books from other languages are translated into English, and of these books, only a small percentage are children’s books. That is why Outside in World (OIW) came into being.


We have been active in this field for more than 18 years, exploring, promoting and celebrating children’s books from world languages that have been translated into English. Over the years we have called in books from publishers to review on our website https://www.outsideinworld.org.uk and aware that our collection was outgrowing our Co-Founders’ homes, we knew we had to find a permanent home for the collection, where it could be accessed and enjoyed by the public.


In 2020 we set out to find the best possible physical home for the collection. In July 2021 our quest was completed when we gifted the collection to the University of Portsmouth Library.

The Outside in World Collection of Children’s Books in Translation has a wonderful, accessible place in the ground floor atrium of the University of Portsmouth’s Library. This unique collection is now available to the public as well as students, researchers, librarians and academics for the very first time.

The Collection contains over 1,600 titles translated from a rich range of world languages into English. As well as books from 2004 to the present day, it includes a smaller collection of books from the 1970s to the 1990s donated by Roehampton University.


Books from the Collection have been a part of many activities at the University of Portsmouth over the last two years, ranging from collaborations with local schools and colleges to projects with the Portsmouth City of Sanctuary. This community group supports refugees and asylum-seekers, as well as conferences, exhibitions and workshop sessions with librarians, teachers, and students from degree programmes like the BA Illustration and Book Design, Children’s Literature, Childhood and Youth, and PGCE in Primary Education.


OIW will continue to grow the Collection, sourcing and adding new translated books. We will continue to work closely with the University of Portsmouth Library and other partners, like the University of Reading with whom we co-organise a webinar series so that the benefits of the Collection are shared with our expanding UK and international audiences.

In 2023, we created a promotional video to showcase the OIW Collection and its history, scope, location and benefits. We invite you to view it here: https://vimeo.com/805327182/f7a369e634


The Outside In World Collection of Children’s Books in Translation is part of the Near and Far World Books at the University of Portsmouth Library (NFWB@UoP).



Edited and Uploaded By Rhiannon Jelley.