Hearing the world through books

Clarke Library hosts an international tour via the words of children’s books read aloud

| Author: Gary H. Piatek

Literature can create bridges between languages and unite different groups of people through storytelling. The Clarke Historical Library provided a platform for these connections with its annual International Children’s Book event.

This year’s program featured 35 Central Michigan University students, faculty and staff reading aloud stories in 20 different languages. Readers provided a summary of the story and cultural context of the book in English before reading the story in its native language.

Many of the readers are native speakers or are studying the original language of the story they read. The event allows students and faculty to share a part of their culture with the CMU community.

The event is put on by the Clarke Historical Library in partnership with the CMU Department of World Languages and Cultures the CMU Office of International Affairs and the English Language Institute. It has been held for the past five years and highlights the collection of international children’s books available at Clarke Historical Library. The collection contains about 2,000 books from 70 countries in nearly 50 languages, thanks in part to a recent donation by retired CMU faculty member Susan Stan.

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