• Sabine Little

A multilingual readathon!

Updated: May 14, 2019

On Saturday, Sheffield’s Children’s library welcomed author Gill Aitchison, as part of a multilingual readathon, celebrating multilingualism in the city. The event was part of Sheffield’s multilingual children’s collection, housed in the children’s library, which has been growing steadily since its launch in November last year, as part of an AHRC/OWRI-funded project. Gill Aitchison was born in Yorkshire, but now lives in Scotland, where her picture book is set. Mungo Makes New Friends, published by Mantra Lingua, tells the story of an old horse making animal friends out in his paddock in summer. When it is time to go to the stables in winter, Mungo is sad that his friendships are coming to an end…not counting on his friends’ ingenuity.

The book has been published as a bilingual picture book in lots of languages, and thirteen community volunteers came together to read the book in Italian, Farsi, Polish, Czech, Slovak, French, Spanish, Romanian, Bulgarian, Portuguese, Russian, Mandarin, and Lithuanian, with Gill herself reading the English version. In-between readings, children took part in related craft activities, and had an opportunity to try the PENpal, a pen which plays an interactive audio version of the book.

As always, it was fantastic to see some of Sheffield's 150+ languages represented - readers ranged from heritage language school teachers to parents, to students, and, in some cases, the children themselves!

A huge thank you to Gill and her team for attending, and for Mantra Lingua, the publisher, for sponsoring the event. Those interested in "Mungo Makes New Friends" can check out the book in Mantra Lingua's catalogue here.