About the project
Promoters of reading all over the world agree: A child’s first contact with a book should always be in its native language. Demand for bilingual books is enormous, but unfortunately there are very few available.
The aim of the project is to create a database for bilingual picture book stories written by children, for children. Promoters of reading from all over the world can upload their children’s stories. A
network of volunteers can translate the stories in the 1001 Languages project. As many versions as possible are also recorded as audio books.
Families and promoters of reading from all over the world can download stories in any two languages at www.bilingual-picturebooks.org.
To kick off the project, Bücherpiraten organized a picture book workshop in 2013 with the help of the
Dräger Foundation. Assisted by picture book artists Kirsten Boie, Martin Gries and Birte Müller, ten children were given the chance to work on their own picture book for a whole week: “Chocolate Cake in Hawaii“. Bücherpiraten’s priority was to ensure that the ideas, text and
illustrations come from children. The adults were merely there for advice and support.
After the workshop, the book was translated by professional translators into six base languages: Arabic, English, French, Mandarin, Russian and Spanish. Using the seven
language versions of “Chocolate Cake in Hawaii” as a basis, a whole host of volunteer native speakers will translate the story into as many languages as possible in the coming months and years. All translations are reviewed by a second native speaker before they are published on www.bilingual-picturebooks.org.
This project is supported by:
Margot und Jürgen Wessel-Stiftung, Possehl-Stiftung
A few words from project ambassador Kirsten Boie
Today, people from many different countries live in Germany and in other places. Everywhere you go, the number of bilingual families is growing. Parents who speak Syrian Arabic, Twi or Farsi have children who understand German (or Swedish, French or Danish) fluently after just a few weeks in kindergarten or a few months in school.
With the bilingual picture books from bilingual-picturebooks.org, parents and children can enjoy a story together. Bilingual picture books can also be helpful when working with refugee children in schools, kindergartens and refugee shelters, or for all of us when learning a foreign language. Because it is possible to combine the languages in an unlimited number of ways, even the most unusual combinations are possible. They can also be mixed together in countries with more than one language, such as nearly all sub-Saharan countries in Africa as well as many countries in Asia. Bilingual-picturebooks.orgaims to become a project for the whole world.
What is more, bilingual picturebooks offers every group of children in every country the opportunity to write and illustrate its own picture book – for other children around the world. I am certain that many parents, kindergartens and schools are looking forward to reading stories by children from Arab, African, Asian and other European countries. Just think of all the great new possibilities!
May the project find many enthusiastic users!
Julia Donaldson, author of the Gruffalo books, says:
“What an exciting and worthwhile project, one which enables children to read – and write – stories in their mother tongue. I love the idea of these stories travelling all over the world.”