Lo stralisco

by Roberto Piumini

Pushkin Children’s Books (UK)

New York Review Books (US and Canada)

“Enchanting … A masterpiece.”

The New York Times: The Best Children’s Books of 2023

“Incredibly beautiful and enchanting … A really beautiful translation.”

—BBC 4 Today

“A poetic novel … A profound contribution to literature.”

—Jack Zipes, in his book Relentless Progress

“Utterly spellbinding … An elegy, timeless and entrancing.”

Kirkus (starred review)

“I don’t think I have read anything like this before – a tale of life, death, love and beauty that by the storyteller’s art makes those things true, fresh, real and important. I hope this unforgettable story finds all the readers it deserves.”

—Philip Pullman

“You see it, feel it, live it as you read. Lyrical, magical, tender and true, and deeply mysterious.” 

—Michael Morpurgo, President of BookTrust: favorite children’s book of 2022

“I cry, honestly, if I even think of this book. It’s truly a masterpiece and everyone has to read it. I’m just utterly gripped by the sparkling perfection of it.” 

—Emily Drabble, BookTrust

“Elegant, moving … filled with understatedly exquisite, transporting prose.” 

The Guardian 

“Beautiful … a touching, otherworldly, out-of-time novella about friendship, imagination and the power of art.” 

The Times: Children’s Book of the Week

“This modern Italian classic, written as a traditional fable in poetic prose, will transport readers, young and old alike, into an enchanting, magical bygone realm.”

Words Without Borders: World Kid Lit’s Best of 2022

“Read this one, you will not be disappointed.”

Reading Zone

“Just amazing … So beautiful.”

Frank Cottrell-Boyce, The Island of Brilliant!

“Unforgettable and unputdownable. Highly recommended for upper KS2 and KS3.”

School Reading List: Children’s Book of the Month

“This lyrical novel is a modern classic by one of Italy’s most loved children’s authors.”

Five Books: Best Kids’ Books of 2022 

“Completely engrossing … A welcome addition to the canon of children’s literature in the UK.”

Books for Keeps

“It turns out that you don’t have to travel outside your own room to inhabit new worlds … It reminds me of The Little Prince, where everything has its own logic.”

The Spectator: The Best of This Year’s Children’s Books

“As gorgeous as the cover suggests … Extremely gentle and elegant … A beautiful thing.”

—Clémentine Beauvais

A heartbreakingly beautiful classic of Italian literature written in 1987 for both children and adults, Lo stralisco has been widely translated around the world. In December 2022, Pushkin Children’s Books in the UK released the first-ever English translation of this stunning tale of friendship, beauty and mortality, the masterpiece of Italy’s foremost living author of children’s stories.

Long, long ago, a boy lies confined by sickness to his windowless bedchambers. He can never experience the outside world, never breathe fresh air or feel the warmth of the sun on his skin, so his doting father summons a painter to embellish his rooms with beautiful murals. The artist sets to work, and soon there is a fabulous world on the walls, a colorful, shifting landscape peopled by shepherds and lovers, crisscrossed by armies and pirate ships. As the boy’s health fades, the artist paints on, turning the simple commission into a generous labor of love. Can he show this child the richness and beauty of the world – and of life itself – with nothing but paints and brushes?

Glowrushes will come out in the U.S. and Canada in October 2023 through New York Review Books.

The book was translated thanks to a grant awarded by the Italian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation.

Listen to Leah’s reading of an excerpt of Glowrushes.

Roberto Piumini is Italy’s foremost living author of children’s stories. His books are found in every Italian bookshop and school and have been translated into many languages around the world. He received the Gianni Rodari Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and has been nominated three times for the Hans Christian Andersen Award.

Considered Italy’s leading authority in the field of children’s literature, this year he was president of the jury for the first edition of the prestigious Campiello Junior literary prize and is serving as President of the Scientific Organizing Committee for the 2024 IBBY International Congress in Trieste.

Over the course of his long career, Roberto Piumini has written a wealth of short stories, novels, poems, nursery rhymes, plays, picture books, songs and more for readers of all ages. Leah is helping him reach out to potential English-language publishers by translating samples of a wide variety of his books.

He is represented by Alice Fornasetti of the Grandi&Associati Literary Agency.

Read more about Roberto Piumini’s Italian treasure trove of tales here.

It’s quite common to come across someone who’s capable, or kind, or generous. Rarer to come across someone who’s capable, kind and generous all in one. It’s extraordinary to come across someone who, like Leah, is all that not only in life, in her personal relationships, but also in what she creates. To her, translating is a focused, joyfully furious act of “wrestling with the angel” – both when the text to be translated is angelic and when, poor thing, it needs to be saved from itself. In her translations, Leah’s cheerful, collaborative personal exuberance becomes intelligence and taste, creative rigor: a “bright quality” for which an author can only be grateful.

Roberto Piumini

Author, recipient of the Rodari Lifetime Achievement Award in 2020 and three-time nominee for the Hans Christian Andersen Award

Leah Janeczko uses her creativity, passion
and expert knowledge of Italian and English
to help others express their authentic voice
in a language not their own.