10 great successes of the century-old Joventut publishing house

10 great successes of the century-old Joventut publishing house

Barcelona“Rock crusher!”, “Estachyrot!”, “Invertebrate!”, “Whipped piece of ectoplasm!”. These are just four of the hundreds of insults directed at Captain Haddock in Joaquim Ventalo’s Catalan edition, which has been published by Joventut since the 1960s and which, to date, is one of the great successes of the Barcelona family business. The harsh words uttered by Haddock, the inseparable companion of the correspondent Tintin, were usually preceded by a shocking cry that was unforgettable for several generations of readers: “Lightning, lightning!”

Luis Zenderera, current managing director of Joventut, defines the project as a “long journey” that began on October 5, 1923 in Barcelona, ​​when it was founded by his grandfather José Zenderera Vicha (1894-1969) with partners such as Julie Gibert. Matthews. A century later, the publishing house has blown out 100 Candles with a catalog exceeding 10,000 titles, allowing us to trace the expansion and consolidation of children’s and young adult literature and comic albums—which currently account for 95% of the novelties it publishes—but also recalling the golden age of popular genres and an ongoing commitment to the classics. This Monday, Joventut will receive the Gold Medal for Cultural Merit from the Barcelona City Council, in an event that will include an intervention by the writer and literary critic Julia Guillamon, and will be led by journalist Oscar Dalmau.

When he was born in 1923, Juventut’s name was Juventud, but he immediately chose the Catalan language through the sign Mintura. Jules Verne was one of the first authors who could be read there, thanks to the translations he made Around the world in eighty days I Mysterious islandboth from 1927. “Several editions were produced, cheaper and more expensive, to reach all audiences – explain Monica Barrow and Julia Guillamon in the catalog Adventures of Joventut Publishing House (Barcelona City Council, 2023)–. First came notebooks, fortnightly, with a simple cover, containing newsstand literature. Then the hardcover edition was sold in one or two volumes.”

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It was Josep Karner’s version in MinturaAlice in WonderlandWritten by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Lola Anglada; Adapt from Cinderella Signed by Josep Maria Folch and Torres, i Lao or the adventures of a novice pilotWritten by Carles Soldevilla.


“Stories of Yesterday and Today”

Symbolic group Stories of yesterday and today It was published between 1931 and 1936, collecting fables and traditional narratives in editions by the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen, and Madame d’Aulnoy. It has been adapted by one of the leading Catalan folklorists, Valéry Serra y Boldo. Later, Andersen was translated by Josep Carner and Maria Manente, and the Joventut edition included illustrations by Arthur Rackham.



The Adventures of PinocchioIt was published, by Carlo Collodi, in Catalan in 1934. The initial printing run was 5,300 copies – a detail illustrating the acceptance of Catalan translations at the time – but the Civil War hampered its spread. Joventut, which had stopped publishing in Catalan for a season after Franco’s victory, put Collodi’s classic novel into circulation in Spanish in 1941.

The pearl of nannies that all mothers want to find and all children wish to have“, the ad promised Mary Poppins In 1943. The publisher had just introduced the character created by B. L. Travers, based on the version by the house’s old collaborator, Maria Manent. Two decades later, the success of Walt Disney’s film adaptation, starring Julie Andrews and Dick Van Dyke, encouraged the Catalan version, directed by Ramón Fulch and Camarsa (1967).

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The short adventure of Josep Pla in Joventut

At the end of the 1940s, Joventut published several books of Catalan literature in their original edition or translated into Spanish in deluxe editions, a technique also used by Alva and Barceno to avoid censorship. Cadaques (1947) ed Messages from afar (1948), by Josep Pla, could be read in Joventut, and the author of Palafrugelle even signed a contract to publish there Gironabut ended up choosing to join In the Selecta catalogue, directed by Josep Maria CrozetIn which he published more than 30 volumes between 1949 and 1962.

So far, the name Joventut has been established, both in Catalan and Spanish The Adventures of Tintin, which sold hundreds of thousands of copies. It was Conxita Zendereira who translated the correspondent’s albums into Spanish, “with exciting visions: DuPont and DuPont became Hernandez and Fernandez,” recall Barrow and Guillamon. It was the first thing that appeared Aim for the moon (1958). Conxetta Zendereira was at the head of the children’s and young people’s department of the publishing house between 1941 and 1992: she was one of the pioneering editors in the state, also in the commitment to literature that had not been taken into account until then, and which “was taken up by children and young people. In Catalan, she reached the first Tintin in 1964, signed by Joachim Ventalo. Cannes Castafiore jewels.


The “bestseller” is called Enid Blyton

The five on Treasure Island She launched Enid Blyton’s Five Club book series in 1964, telling the mysteries solved by three brothers, their cousin and their dog. The publishing success of the English author was remarkable: editions in Spanish exceeded 20 thousand copies, and in Catalan 4,000 copies.

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One of Joventut’s most controversial publications was a book series starring a rebellious and crazy Swedish girl, Pippa Langström. Created by Astrid Lindgren, the book surprised more conservative readers, who were shocked “that such a subversive model was being proposed to children’s readers,” as Barrow and Guillammon explain. Pepa Medialargas (1962) and the successive volumes rose from selling an average of 600 copies per year to 19,000 copies of the TV series in 1973. The last Catalan edition of Pippi Calcesllargues arrived in 2020 at Cokinhos.


The Adventures of Narval and Mido

In addition to the good reception of Marianne Dubuque’s books and titles such as Gerard’s house,Desabelle Carrere,I When will they leave?written by Ute Krauss The most notable success of the past decade in young adults is Ben Clanton’s Narwhal and Medu series, which began in 2018. Through the two heroes, young readers discover the value of friendship while discovering life under the sea.


How to explain quantum physics to children

Physicist and pharmacist Chaddad Kayed-Salah Veron had the idea of ​​explaining some of the most relevant concepts of quantum physics to young people at home, using illustrations by Edward Altarba. Results, My first book on quantum physics (2017), several editions out of print, translated into fifteen languages. The experiment had continuity in volumes devoted to the universe, electromagnetism, and relativity.

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