After I had been living in Seychelles for a while i decided to make a visit to Seychelles National Library Children’s Department. I am interested in literature for children and I wanted to find out what kind of books they had to offer for younger children.
The librarian was very nice and showed me around and I was very impressed of the big variety of different kind of books in many subjects from facts to fiction. All classical story books like “Sleeping Beauty”, picture books for the babies and toddlers of high quality all the books you expect to find in the children’s department in a National Library. I saw on the tour that nearly all books were in English and French and I asked the librarian about where the books in the children’s own mother tongue Creole stood. She told me that there just was a handful of books written in Creole for children.
Seychelles has tree national languages Creole, English and French. Seychellois Creole is the first language by most Seychellois and is used in everyday conversation, in schools, in shops and is the mother tongue of the majority of Seychellois. Children start to learn English and French in primary one in Seychelles.
When no small children’s books are produced in Seychelles there are no books in context of Seychelles, not by population, nor by places, not by languages, nothing that the children can relate to and recognize themselves in. it is important for children especially small children to be able to recognize themselves and identify themselves with the characters in story books.
This was the run-up to write and start the project” Give your child a language”!
Researches have showed that books are essential building blocks of literacy and learning. To give small children access to story books in their own mother tongue and to read aloud to them in early age are key components for language development and have a profound impact on their educational development.
Playtime Seychelles makes a book release for children at the Library.