Sunday, October 30, 2011

Good Morning, Good Night

I'm not normally one for posting more than once a day, but as I have a couple other things to post tomorrow - Halloween! - I wanted to get this one up tonight.  From 31 October until 4 November, my school (The University of Texas at Arlington) is participating in Endangered Languages Week by hosting some really great events featuring Native American, African and Polynesian languages.  I'm a student in the linguistics department, so I'm already helping as a volunteer but I wanted to do a little something of my own as well, here on the blog, to help raise awareness of language endangerment and appreciation for language diversity.  Language is a big part of cultural identity, and each language provides unique ways of expressing unique worldviews - and yet, according to National  Geographic's project Enduring Voices, a language effectively dies about every 14 days. Some communities have language revitalization programs in place, but not all.  When a language has died along with its last speakers, the world loses that community's perspective and becomes a little less diverse, a little less beautiful.  Because a part of what makes our planet beautiful and interesting is its diversity.

Anyway, enough with the lecture and on to the book I wanted to share with you all!

Good Morning, Good Night is a children's book written by New Zealand author Erin Devlin and beautifully illustrated by Annie Jeannes.  Devlin also provides children's books and puppets to early childhood institutions and schools in New Zealand, through her company The Kiwi Puppet Company.

Good Morning, Good Night is the story of a little kiwi who is eating and playing with another nocturnal friend, Ruru.  They soon find out, though, that not everyone is awake at night like they are!

So you might be saying "Okay, Colleen, this sounds cute and everything, but what does it have to do with Endangered Languages Week?"  That would be a good question!

Apart from the cute story and the sweet illustrations, a major thing that makes this book so special is that it comes with a CD.  The first track has a reading of the story in English, but then the second track reads it again in Maori, New Zealand's aboriginal language.  There are also two bonus tracks on the CD - a second story, As Kuku Slept, also read first in English and then in Maori.  The person narrating in the audio files does an excellent job in reading; he pauses enough at the end of each page so that when listening to the Maori, it's not hard to follow along on the correct pages in the book.  He also does the voices, which is a lot of fun.

I believe my mother picked this one up the last time she was in NZ visiting family, and I'm really glad she did, because it's adorable, and the CD makes it a treasure.  You might have a hard time locating this if you're outside New Zealand, but you can leave your email with The Book Depository in the form on the book's page, and they will notify you when they have more in stock.  You can also purchase it from The Kiwi Puppet Company as well, but it may end up being a bit more expensive than from TBD, because of the shipping and such.  It would be well worth it, though, in my opinion!


Reed Books

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