Author Gill Aitchison visits Sheffield to help celebrate library’s new multilingual department

A children’s author has helped to celebrate Sheffield Central Library's new multilingual section with a special readathon.

Monday, 20th May 2019, 1:27 pm
Updated Tuesday, 28th May 2019, 1:38 pm
Readathon at Sheffield Central Library to celebrate multilingual book

Gill Aitchison, author of 'Mungo Makes New Friends,’ was invited to attend the readathon after donating her first ever children's book to the department last Christmas. Gill, who is originally from Rotherham, kicked the event off by reading the book aloud in English, before others came forward to read it in other languages. Throughout the day, the book was recited in 14 different languages, including Bulgarian, Czech, Farsi, French, Italian, Lithuanian, Mandarin, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovak and Spanish.

'Mungo Makes New Friends' is the story of a lonely, old horse set in Scotland where Gill now lives. It is an illustrated children's story which is available in dual language format..

Gill, who was an EAL teacher herself, and has promoted the importance of bilingualism and valuing other languages throughout her career, said: “Mungo Makes New Friends is written with simple grammatical structures. There is repetition to create rhythm which makes it a good book to read aloud in any language and there is alliteration in the English version. The illustrations also help with vocabulary.'

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'I have always believed that sharing stories with children is a great base for language development.

“If parents/carers read this book to their children, I want them also to talk together about the illustrations, predict what might happen before they turn the page, learn new vocabulary and retell the story in their own words, in their own language. I hope it encourages children to read and have fun with language and learn some new words.”