Storybooks African Languages (SAL) is a website for teachers, parents, and community members that aims to promote bilingualism and multilingualism in African languages, as well as the common official languages of English and French. It makes 40 stories from the African Storybook available in a wide variety of African languages. Readers can toggle between stories written in an African language, and the same story written in English or French. In this way, Storybooks African Languages helps children to become bilingual or multilingual in African languages as well as English or French. When audio versions of the stories are available, the audio can help beginning readers and language learners make the important connection between speech and text. Development continues at the University of British Columbia in collaboration with Education without Borders.
All 40 stories on the Storybooks African Languages website come from the African Storybook – a groundbreaking digital initiative of the South African organization Saide, which promotes literacy for African children. The African Storybook has hundreds of stories in multiple African languages, as well as English, French, and Portuguese. The stories are openly licensed, which allows the Storybooks African Languages team to repurpose them for an African audience. We are very grateful to the African Storybook and Saide for making the stories freely available under an open license.
We selected the 40 stories out of several hundred from the African Storybook, and sought to create a collection of stories of different lengths that balance the African origin of the stories with internationally relevant themes. There are traditional animal fables as well as contemporary stories about city life. Some stories cover serious topics like responsibility and gender equality. Others are just written to make you laugh. We hope that the universal values reflected in the stories will resonate with children and communities internationally.
Storybooks African Languages has only been possible with the help of a large number of people, including translators, readers, proofreaders, and others who have been part of the process of making these stories available. We sincerely thank all contributors for their time and effort!
|We warmly thank Education without Borders for their collaboration and support in the development of teaching materials based on stories from the site.|
We are particularly grateful to the Storybooks Canada project, which has created the modular website on which Storybooks African Languages is based.