Monday, January 19, 2015

New International Children's Books at the Clarke

The Clarke is continuously growing our holdings to ensure that we have the best resources available to help researchers. Several years ago, we were encouraged by CMU professors Susan Stan and Christa Kamenetsky to expand the children’s literature materials to include international titles, especially those that have been recognized for their outstanding quality in authorship and illustration. Recently, we added many new international children’s literature titles to our collection and we would like to highlight three of them.

From Ghana, we feature Sosu’s Call, by Meshack Asare. This is the story of Sosu, a small boy who is unable to walk. One day, while the majority of the village was working in the fields, rising waters threaten the village. Sosu manages to sound the alarm and alert his fellow villagers that a flood is coming, saving the village from disaster. Sosu’s Call has won the International Board on Books for Young People’s Outstanding Book for Young People with Disabilities.

From South Africa, we have Diphoofolo. This picture book is a collection of nursery rhymes, each in one of seven different South African languages. Diphoofolo is the SeSotho word for animals and each poem highlights a different type of animal. This book is interesting because it is multilingual and has a pronunciation guide at the end to help native-English speakers say the rhymes in their original languages.

Finally, we feature Ibn Battuta, by Fatima Sharafeddine of the United Arab Emirates and illustrated by Intilaq Mohammad Ali. This story recounts the journeys of Ibn Battuta, a Moroccan scholar and explorer who kept journals of his 29 years of travel across Africa, the Middle East, and Asia during the 1300s. The book, in Arabic, reads in the opposite direction of most English language books. Despite being in a language that many Americans may not be able to read, the beautiful illustrations excellently tell the tale of one of the greatest explorers in history.

The International Board on Books for Young People, or IBBY, is a non-profit organization that connects books from all over the world to children all over the world. Among their various efforts and activities is recognizing authors and illustrators for the fantastic work they do. Our new exhibit, coming in early February, features many works by IBBY-recognized authors and illustrators, including those mentioned above.