Wednesday, 2 October 2013

These remind me of my UK Children's Mobile Library experiences

I apologise for the predominance of adverts in the Sylva Herald and the request to subscribe, but I felt that the link to the article is worthwhile. The Reading Rover that is featured, reminded me of some of the CMLs that I visited when I was doing the PhD, going to some outlying places, traveler camps, special schools, children's secure units, all places where it is hard for children to find books, Internet and information.

When I read the title, though,I thought that by Bogarts they meant the mythical creature, but that is spelled with two g's. 

The photograph of the children sitting on the floor in this CML reminds me of my time aboard the Reading Rocket. Although we had some seating at the back of the vehicle, when you had a class of thirty five year olds, or a batch of toddlers and their mums, it was the adults that sat on the seats, and the children spilled out all over the floor. 

I used to sit on the floor too, to read the stories, because I wanted to be on the same level as the children. It was easier for them to see the pictures in the books if I was at their height. If you read my previous post, you would realise that I am, in fact, closer to their height. I am a little concerned that the west (eg, Europe) is imposing their culture onto Thai children, but then I thought How magical it would be if a mobile library full of Thai fairy stories and books came around the UK, and I realised that reading Brothers Grimm tales would be just as exotic to Thai children as a Thai CML would be to ours. 

I am similarly concerned about the cultural ethics of this CML project, asking for donations of books in English. I really think that children's books should be published in a child's native language and traditional tales. This would boost literacy, bolster cultures and promote a local publishing industry.

Once again there is a "However ..." because in the day job I have come across many African academic web sites, and the main language appears to be English, I suppose because it is a common language between different African dialects. English is also a global academic language, so maybe it is good for Children to be learning English. On the other hand, it is just as vital that children are well educated in their native tongue. Why am I so concerned about this? Because I was brought up as an English speaking Welsh woman, and although I have the vaguest smattering of Welsh I cannot go back to my own country for a job because I am not bi-lingual.   

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