by Thomas DeVere Wolsey, Ed. D., Walden University
Finding appropriate books for children aged 3 to 13 that feature high-quality literature, many cultures, and multiple languages is a challenge for schools and libraries with limited budgets. However, the International Children’s Digital Library
(ICDL) Foundation, a unique project begun by the University of Maryland in 2002, seeks to provide digital books that are inclusive of many cultures and in many languages. Most books in this digital collection can be read on standard Web browsers or in Java-enabled devices. The site is easy to navigate and the text of the books can be enlarged. Young readers can quickly find picture books and chapter books by country of origin, language, genre, or suggested age-range. The Foundation “…aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children's literature from the world community (Mission page
At present, the library has 4469 digital books in 55 different languages. Some books are available in multiple languages providing a great advantage to second language learners. Language maintenance is a critical goal in many school systems, and with ICDL, children (and adults) who have immigrated to another country may still access books in their home language, as well. One example is the digital book, Calling the Doves
by Juan Felipe Herrera, a recipient of the Ezra Jack Keats Book Award
(1995). In it, the author writes vibrantly of his childhood in a migrant family. With beautiful illustrations by Elly Simmons, readers learn how Herrera chose his road to becoming an author. Click the link
to view the book, and as you do, consider how you could share this book, or another in the ICDL, with your students on a laptop, in a computer lab, or with the whole class using a digital projector or interactive whiteboard.
Herrera, J. P. (1995). Calling the Doves
. San Francisco, CA: Children’s Book Press. Retrieved from http://www.childrenslibrary.org/icdl/SaveBook?bookid=hrrclln_00030003&lang=English&ilang=English
This article is part of a series from the Technology in Literacy Education Special Interest Group (TILE-SIG).