For the first time, Mi’kmaq students in Nova Scotia and Cape Breton are reading Robert Munsch in their own language.
“We need to do as much as we can so kids can see themselves in the curriculum,”says Janice Ciavaglia, literary consultant at Mi’kmaw Kina’matnewey, the organization that runs Mi’kmaq schools and protects language rights.
Munsch believes it’s essential that indigenous languages survive, which is why the iconic kids’ book author grants free publishing rights to First Nations groups, and doesn’t accept royalties.
Translated by a committee of Mi’kmaq educators, the seven Munsch titles include Love You Forever, Thomas’ Snowsuit, Mud Puddle, and I Have to Go. Some books, such as Angela’s Airplane, couldn’t be translated. “When the Mi’kmaq language formed, there were no airplanes,” says Ciavaglia.
Eastern Woodland Print Communications in Millbrook First Nation published the books. Educators will receive the translated editions along with lesson plans and audio recordings of the Mi’kmaq readings. Five hundred copies will be donated to schools and libraries, with another 500 for sale.