Christina Sturm studied International Literature at the University of Tübingen and has worked for the not-for-profit organisation Bücherpiraten e.V. (book pirates) as commissioner for international reading promotion and project coordinator of ‘1001 Languages’ since 2014. She teaches German as a Foreign Language for international students at the University of Tübingen.
1001 Languages: The Challenges and Possibilities of not-for-profit Bilingual Picture Books
The project ‘1001 Languages on bilingual-picturebooks.org’ initiated by the German NPO Bücherpiraten e.V. is a database of free bilingual picture books written by children for children. Picture books can be downloaded in any possible language combination. Outlined as a global platform for reading promotion, the project has become a network of individuals and organisations involved in multilingual and transcultural literature.
Reading promoters from all over the world agree: A child’s first contact with books should always be in its native language. The demand for bilingual picture books in early reading promotion is enormous. But, unfortunately, there are very few available. The aim of the project ‘1001 Languages on bilingual-picturebooks.org’ initiated by the German NPO Bücherpiraten e.V. (book pirates) is a constantly growing database of free bilingual picture book stories written by children for children. On www.bilingual-picturebooks.org children, families, schools, kindergartens and reading promoters can download picture books in any possible language combination for free. The project aims to produce and multiply high-quality books in minority languages free from economic constraints. Outlined as a global platform for reading promotion, the project has gained international contributions in the past years and has become a network of individuals and organisations involved in multilingual and transcultural literature. Yet, it is in a process of constant development and adaptation to the various needs of contemporary literacy initiatives. The aim is the creation of a space and an audience for a multitude of children’s voices and stories in the global discourse of literature for young people. Questions and future challenges remain and can only be tackled by the exchange and contribution of experts, users and practitioners: is universal reading promotion possible? Can a global platform adapt to the needs of local communities? What stories do children and teenager want to share with the world?