Children's Book Review by Susan Stephenson, www.thebookchook.com
From the publisher:
Yiasou! That’s hello in Greek!
Or would you like to say hello in Chinese? What about Italian or Korean? Murrinhpatha or Kaurna?
Meet 12 Australian friends who can speak different languages. They tell us how to count from 1 to 10, say hello and goodbye and lots of other words in their languages about play, food, hobbies and clothes.
Once we’ve said hello, we can watch Emiko playing the Japanese drum and Pilinh performing an Aboriginal dance. We can see how to make gnocchi with Sophia and flat bread with Amal.
This book is an introduction to 12 languages spoken most frequently in Australian homes, plus three Indigenous languages. At the back of the book is a pronunciation guide. Illustrated in a cartoon style, the pictures add humour and fun to language learning. Each language and culture is introduced by a child character - and you might spot a koala or two …
Selamat tinggal! That’s goodbye in Indonesian!
First of all we meet Ivy, who comes from Badu Island in the Torres Strait and speaks Kala Lagaw Ya, as well as English. Ivy shares what she likes to eat and do, and we learn a little of her language. Next is Hua, whose family comes from China and shares a little about her life. Every couple of pages, we meet another child and discover interesting things about their lives via the brief text and the illustrations. Flowers has used bright colours, a cartoonish style and authentic detail to bring traditional clothing, food and activities to life for young readers.
I see this sturdy children’s picture book being very useful in primary school libraries as well as pre-schools. Schools where children learn languages other than English will love the book as an introduction to general language acquisition. Each child shares a few phrases, and there are three indigenous languages as well as many more languages commonly spoken in Australia. In the back of the book, there’s an excellent pronunciation guide, as well as image resources from the National Library’s collection.
Apart from making an excellent choice as a non-fiction picture book for kids 3+, Hello would make a great school resource for celebrations like Harmony Day (March 21 in Australia) or Universal Children’s Day (November 20). If you’re interested in special days we can celebrate with children in an educational context, check out my articles and lists: A List of Book-Related Special Days for Kids, A List of Important Special Days for Kids and A List of Fun Special Days for Kids.
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