Storytelling is a great way to promote languages and this year Mother Tongues has been involved in a number of initiatives promoting the use of heritage languages through storytelling.
Our first multilingual storytelling session took place in the Gutter Bookshop on Culture Night in September 2018. Throughout the year we have been developing our Language Adventures initiative, with monthly family storytelling and craft sessions in Dolphin’s Barn Library. This year we have also been collaborating with Chester Beatty Library offering storytelling for families in different languages in the beautiful surroundings of this amazing museum.
This week we are celebrating all these initiatives with three special events, all free and suitable for all language abilities!
The queen of serpents and other Lithuanian stories
22nd May at 10.30, Chester Beatty Library, Dublin 2
Join Eglé and her bridegroom, Žilvinas – the Serpent Prince, and learn about their life together as the rulers of the sea snakes.
Find out more
Language Adventures in French
25th May at 10.30 Dolphin’s Barn Library, Dublin 12
«Il était une fois…» Here’s how many stories begin in French. Come along and meet author Juliette Saumande in Dolphin’s Barn Library for an hour of stories and songs in French. We’ll even make our own books at the end. Free and open to all.
Find out more
Stories from around the world at International Literature Festival Dublin
26th May at 11 and at 12, St Patrick’s Park, Dublin 8
Come and learn new stories from around the world. Storytellers will be reading and telling stories in Arabic, Chinese, Albanian, Portuguese, Italian, French, and more! Suitable for all ages.
Find out more
We hope you can join us in this multilingual celebration!
If you would like to organise similar sessions in your local library, do get in touch!
Over the last 12 months, we have been working with Chester Beatty Library and Dolphin’s Barn Library on two family storytelling projects. We have experimented both with bilingual storytelling, where every child can join in and try to engage with a dual language story and with single language storytelling, where facilitators and parents only read in the children’s heritage language.
This was a fantastic experience for children who hear their heritage language only spoken at home, as it showed children that libraries and other public places welcome their language and heritage, and storytelling in the heritage language can be a fun community activity.
Our multilingual storytelling project Language Adventures
started at Dolphins Barn Library with a series of six mornings in which Italian speaking mothers and fathers read and told stories to their children.
The atmosphere was great, and the children enjoyed the unfamiliar experience of reading in Italian in a public space.
Each session also included arts and craft activities
which allowed parents to get to chat with one another and make new friends.
from Mother Tongues and Beata, head librarian at Dolphin’s Barn library were extremely enthusiastic and pleased with the outcomes of the first few meetings, so we planned a multilingual storytelling series, including Polish, German, Chinese and Lithuanian. Each session was quite unique, and we allowed families to choose their style of facilitation.
For Polish storytelling, we gathered a fantastic group of Polish parents who read famous stories from their home country and created beautiful bear masks. The German storytelling turned out to be a toddler book reading and parents had the opportunity to meet other parents and to ask questions about bilingualism.
In February we were delighted to host Evan Furlong, director of the Dublin School of Mandarin Chinese, who told children and parents how the 12 animals of Chinese Zodiac were chosen and ranked. This storytelling was bilingual, which meant that stories were told in both Chinese and English.
The following month we hosted the Lithuanian Saturday School. They read the story of the fox and the bear explaining why the fox is considered the smartest animal in the forest and the bear’s tail is so short. We were amazed at the children’s incredible reading skills in their heritage language and this special event was made even more special thanks to the visit of Virginija Umbrasiene of the Lithuanian Embassy. You could definitely see that the children were proud and happy to be able to speak Lithuanian.
Our next events at Dolphins Barn Library will be in Greek
. The Greek storytelling is organised in collaboration with the Hellenic Community of Ireland School
and it will take place on 27th April at 10.30. This event will allow everyone to get a glimpse into Greek
language and culture, and it will be held in Greek and English. On 25th May you will meet author Juliette Saumande
for an hour of stories and songs in French
. We will even make our own books at the end.
In collaboration with the Chester Beatty Library, we organised more multilingual storytelling sessions in Chinese, Greek, Lithuanian and Japanese. These events are held bilingually – English and the corresponding language. The first two were well attended and much appreciated by the public.