Sunday, December 15, 2013

Review: Chitchat: Celebrating the World's Languages

Title: Chitchat: Celebrating the World's Languages
Author: Jude Isabella
Publisher: Kids Can Press
Pages: 44
Review Copy: Edelweiss ARC
Available: On Shelves Now

Review: It would have been fantastic if my college linguistics class had used Chitchat for the textbook or at least as a starting point. Chitchat presents the history and development of language in a very engaging and entertaining way. The book begins with an explanation of how language develops in children all the while using fun illustrations along with word bubbles to keep the reader's interest. We also learn what language is and find tidbits such as "43% of the world's languages are endangered."

Isabella includes the history of language, but not in a dry "linguistics class" kind of way. The reader finds out that Dr. Seuss introduced the word "nerd" and how that came to be part of our vocabulary. Along with using facts that young readers can connect to, the author also provides a few quiz-like activities such as matching old and modern words. The answers are provided in the back. 

There is clearly an attempt to encourage the study of other languages. In the U.S., many English speakers do not learn a second language. I was not surprised by that, but was surprised to learn that more people in the world speak two or more languages than those that only speak one.

There are many facts in this book, but it is never boring or overwhelming. It would be a great way to include more non-fiction in a classroom and would be fantastic for students interested in language study. I will definitely be ordering a copy for our library.

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