Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Chitchat: Celebrating the World's Languages

Isabella, Jude, and Kathy Boake. Chitchat : celebrating the world's languages. Toronto, ON Tonawanda, NY: Kids Can Press, 2013. Print.

ISBN:  9781554537877

Audience: Ages 8-12, Grade 3-6

Summary This book explains language and its evolution.  It talks about all kinds of language from spoken to written to sign.  Organized by category (“How Languages Morph, “Slanguistics,” “Language Extinction,” etc.), it has a conversational tone and includes with text boxes adding additional insights, short quizzes, and information about each topic. 

Strengths: The book includes colorful computer generated illustrations that make the subject more accessible. An index and glossary (and answers to the quizzes) are included. It would be a high interest book for advanced readers, and the Trekkies in the crowd might be drawn in by the inclusion of  Invented Languages.

Weaknesses:   There is no Table of Contents so a casual browser would not be able to get an idea of what is included in the book. The title would lead one to think that it would be about different languages (English, French, Spanish, etc), but they are really only touched on briefly in the section on Language Families.

Uses:   Using this book as a read aloud would be a highly motivating way for a teacher to introduce language topics, such as syntax or phonics.  This would be an interesting book to use to jumpstart a research project (CCSS ELA: W.7 Grades K-6) , especially one including technology like graphics and sound (CCSS ELA:  SL.5 Grades 4-6). 

·      Handsigns – Kathleen Fain (An alphabet book using animals and American Sign Language)
·      Eats, Shoots, and Leaves – Lynne Truss (Humorous instruction about the importance of comma placement)
·       Wonderful Houses Around the World -Yoshio Komatsu. (Typical houses from other countries)
·       Same, Same But Different - Jenny Sue Kostecki-Shaw (A boy and his pen pal from India discover their similarities and differences
·      International Children’s Library (website)-

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