Many languages are written using Latin letters, but often these seemingly familiar letters aren't pronounced in the way that we are used to.
For example, an English speaker might read the name Siobhán as siob-hen, pronounce Jorge like George, and Erdogan with a "g" as in "green", while the correct pronunciations are [ʃəv'aːn] she-vaan), [xoɾxe] chorche (with the "x" pronounced like the "ch" in Scottish loch), and [ɛrdoˈan], respectively.
Now probably you all now how to pronounce these names, because you know the Irish singer, the Spanish name is common in the US, and you have heard the Turkish president's name on the news. But there are other Latin-written languages and other names that you aren't familiar with, and you likely would pronounce them wrong.
And children, who often have been exposed less to people and names from foreign cultures than adults, might have even more difficulties reading foreign names, especially if the orthography would be unpronouncable in their mother tongue (such as the Polish name Kowalczyk for an English speaker).
So when you write a Middle Grade book, for children between, say, 8 and 12, and your book features a central character (whose name is mentioned often in the book) from a culture that uses the Latin alphabet, but (some of) the letters are pronounced differently from the way they are spoken in the language that you write in, what is the common approach?
Use only names that exist both in the foreign and the readers' language.
For example, a person from Germany can be called Peter in an English book.
What I dislike about this solution is that such a name does not signify the person's foreign origin, while a foreign(-looking) name clearly conveys that fact. If you use an "international" name like Peter, you'll have to remind your readers through other means that the character is a foreigner, such as repeating the fact every now and then.
Use only names that are pronounced (almost) the same in the foreign and the readers' language but are uncommon in the latter.
For example the Polish name Piotr is pronounced almost the same in Polish as it would be in English.
This would avoild the pronunciation problem and convey the foreignness of the character.
Use "unpronouncable" names. Maybe provide a guide to the pronunciation of foreign names.
This is the only way to evoke a sense of exoticism through the names, but might be difficult for many children to deal with and diminish their reading pleasure.
What is the common practice in MG books? Are there MG books with unpronouncable names? (Please give examples!) Or are they completely avoided?
I'm not looking for your personal opinion on the matter, but want to know how this is done in non-self-published fiction. Is there a sort of "rule" for this?
I'm mostly interested in how this affects central characters, that is, characters whose names appear frequently in the book.