WOW Dozen: Language Learning and Communication

By Janine Schall, University of Texas Rio Grande Valley, TX

Over half the world’s population speaks more than one language. While many people naturally become multilingual by growing up in multilingual communities, others deliberately learn a second or third language later in life. People learn new languages for many reasons, including to maintain connections to heritage and family, in order to navigate a new country, and to communicate with new friends and communities. Sometimes people even invent their own ways to communicate! In this collection of picturebooks, we find a dozen different examples of people learning a new language or finding a way to communicate. Continue reading

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MTYT: When I Was Eight

By Celeste Trimble and Kristen Suagee-Beauduy

When I Was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret-Olemaun Pokiak-Fenton (Inuvialuit) tells the true story of Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s experiences at an Indian Residential School in Aklavik, in what is now known as Canada. Olemaun’s parents do not want her to attend the school away from her home of Banks Island, but Olemaun longs to learn to read like her older sister. When she convinces her parents and begins attending the school, the nuns try to humiliate and shame her in many ways. Margaret-Olemaun was determined to learn to read and prove to the nuns that she was a strong and capable student, and she did.

This picturebook was written with middle to upper elementary students in mind. Margaret-Ouleman’s story was also told in the book for younger readers, Not My Girl, and the books for middle level readers, Fatty Legs and A Stranger at Home.

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