(18th-24th November 2019)
Book week is a great time to reflect on our favourite books, meet and be inspired by authors, and learn new things at exciting story events (see the bottom of this post for links to events going on in Scotland).
It’s also a good time to think about the power books have to inspire, teach us new things and to enrich our lives. Here’s one of my favourite quotes about children’s books:
Yes, children’s books keep alive a sense of nationality; but they also keep alive a sense of humanity. They describe their native land lovingly, but they also describe faraway lands where unknown brothers live. They understand the essential quality of their own race; but each of them is a messenger that goes beyond mountains and rivers, beyond the seas, to the very ends of the world in search of new friendships. Every country gives and every country receives- innumerable are the exchanges- and so it comes about that in our first impressionable years the universal republic of childhood is born.
Paul Hazard. Books, Children and Men. Translated by Marguerite Mitchel, 1947 (p.146).
In our home we have children’s books by British authors, but also children’s books in Polish (gifts to me from friends from Poland over the years) and Hebrew (gifts to Gideon, my husband, from when he lived in Israel). These books enrich our collection- telling us stories from different cultures and opening eyes to new ways of seeing. Even when we can’t understand the words in the different languages, we learn from the illustrations, and we learn reading looks different in different languages. The different alphabets, and the different direction of reading (right to left) in Hebrew, also shows us this.
So, as well as enjoying books and events this week, it’s also a good time to reflect on the books in our home libraries, local libraries, schools and early years settings.
Do the books you have represent your own nationality?
Do the books represent the nationality of where you are currently living?
Do the books in your setting represent the different nationalities of children in your setting?
Here are some simple ideas for including these books:
- Invite families to lend one or two (or more!) books to an international library in your setting for a week or so.
- Let the children explore the books, don’t worry about not understanding the words, but show them simple things like the fact they are written with different shapes, and which direction the book is read in.
- Have a large world map and put where the stories come from on there.
- Invite children and or parents to tell the stories. Encourage them to do this in their own language so children can hear a different language and see this is a good thing (they can follow the pictures) to celebrate diversity. If possible they could also give a simple translation.
- Visit your local library and see what books in different languages they have.
Here is a link to the Scottish Book Trust, where you will find different events happening for Book Week Scotland:
Please add any other ideas below in the comments section for sharing books and enriching our personal, school, early years and other libraries!