Saturday, June 2nd, 2012
A Swahili Alphabet Book
By Meera Sriram
Jambo Means Hello: Swahili Alphabet Book
After the introduction, we move through the series of letters—24 words, one for each letter. The pronunciation key and meaning are also added for each word. But it does not end here. A couple of things prove why this book is a treasure trove. First, a small paragraph in simple language elaborates on the word and unveils fascinating cultural details. Secondly, stunning black-and-white sketches beautifully illustrate the textual content on every page. The chosen words are also very pragmatic and everyday. Here is a sample:
We also learn the Swahili words for father, mother, food, elephant, mango and friend, to name a few. The author mentions in the beginning that she hopes this book inspires children of African ancestry to learn and speak Swahili, one step at a time. The last page details the art process by Tom Feelings. A map of Africa marks the countries where Swahili is spoken.
In our case, this alphabet book keeps even my second grader interested and enthusiastic all through. In the end, we quiz each other and have fun trying to string words in meaningful ways. Ultimately, this well-rounded book offers us a refreshing context for the ABCs.
“Learning a language opens up many things to us. With new words come new ideas and an understanding of the people and environment which created the language,” says Muriel Feelings. That is precisely why I find this book to be such a joy!
© 2012 – 2013, Meera Sriram. All rights reserved.
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