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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Girl Who Learned all the Languages of the World (The)
by Ieva Flamingo
Age Range: 9-11
Lela is clever but also very stubborn. When her mother and father, who is a diplomat, try to encourage Lela to learn some other languages, Lela refuses point blank. “Do wild animals ever bother to learn each other’s languages? Cats don’t bark and dogs don’t try to neigh” she argues. However, this leaves her in a tricky situation when she attends an important international party where she can’t understand anything the grown-ups are saying making her feel utterly miserable. Lela vows from that moment she will learn all of the languages of the world, one word at a time …
Join Lela on her journey, as she starts learning words in Latvian, French, Finnish, German, Spanish, Italian, Estonian, Swedish, Slovenian, Dutch, Maltese and Russian. Whatever word she feels she needs to learn at the time together with the help of a host of dictionaries, Lela learns an eclectic selection of words – Good Day, Face, Pink, Store, Ice Cream, Money, Child, Hat, Bubble, Sad, Letter, Earthworm, Sneeze and many more that come into Lela’s mind.
Ieva Flamingo is one of the most prolific Latvian children’s authors and poets writing today. As well as being filled with humour this story is a great way to introduce children to learning another language and young readers will be able to peruse the pages, and like Lela, learn words in a variety of languages.
Translated by Žanete Vēvere Pasqualini, who works as a literary agent for the Latvian Literature platform and translates in her spare time, and with lovely, bright artwork and vignettes by Chein Shyan Lee, an illustrator based in Malaysia, this is a fun book about the power of learning.
Other titles by Ieva Flamingo translated into English and reviewed on the website are: The Noisy Classroom.