February 21 – International Mother Language Day

Happy Mother Language Day!

The United Nations assigned this day in the late 1990s to encourage multiculturalism and promote linguistic awareness. In the words of Nelson Mandela, “If you talk to a man in a language he understands, that goes to his head. If you talk to him in his language, that goes to his heart.”

Because I grew up bilingual, my first words were spoken in both English and Spanish. So this little board book published by Sterling has a special place in my heart.


However, exposing readers to just the ABCs of languages is a great start to listening with your heart. Here are a few examples of what you can find in your local bookstores and libraries.

18219855Juju’s NOLA ABCs and Fun Facts written and illustrated by Michelle Hirstius (2013)


From Aardvark to Zuma: A South African Alphabet written and illustrated by Alex Latimer (2013)


London ABC written and illustrated by Ben Hawkes (2012)


Sign Language ABC written and illustrated by Lora Heller (2012)


E is for Eiffel Tower: A France Alphabet written by Helen L. Wilbur and illustrated by Yan Nascimbene (2010)


D is for Dancing Dragon written by Ying Chang Compestine and illustrated by Yongsheng Xuan (2007)


ABC of Canada written by Per-Henrick Gurth and illustrated by Kim Bellefontaine (2002)

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