In a sparkling debut authored by a sixteen-year-old daughter of immigrants, this ode to the power of multilingualism gives voice to the lasting benefits of speaking with more than one tongue.

Product Code: 9282
ISBN: 9781536222517
Format: Hardback
Publisher: Candlewick Press
Pages: 32
Published Date: 02/13/2024
Availability:In stock
Price: $18.99

Sumi’s mother can speak two languages, Malayalam and English. And she can switch between them at the speed of sound: one language when talking to Sumi’s grandmother, another when she addresses the cashier. Sometimes with Sumi she speaks a combination of both. Could it be she possesses a superpower?

With awe and curiosity, young Sumi recounts the story of her mother’s migration from India and how she came to acquire two tongues, now woven together like fine cloth. Rahele Jomepour Bell’s inviting illustrations make playful use of visual metaphors, while Uma Menon’s lyrical text, told astutely from a child’s perspective, touches lightly on such subjects as linguistic diversity and accent discrimination (“no matter how they speak, every person’s voice is unique and important”).

This welcome debut, penned when the author was still a teenager, is an unabashed celebration of the gift of multilingualism - a gift that can transport people across borders and around the world.

Ages 4 to 8.

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The illustrations, which mimic tapestries, are a clever companion to the text, which often invokes a weaving metaphor to explain the feeling of bi- and multilingualism. . . it conveys an essential message about the power of language, and the lyrical narratorial voice beautifully balances curiosity and playfulness. A charming ode to the joy of learning new languages. - Kirkus Reviews

The narration sparks with emotion and imagery. . . this is a cheerful portrayal of diverse connections, and readers who speak one language at home and another in public will value a book that celebrates that as a skill rather than something that sets them apart from English-only speaking classmates. - The Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Menon’s respectful story highlights the power of multilingualism and examines the link between accents and identity. Bell’s tactile mixed-media illustrations incorporate an inventive representation of textiles, fonts, and images reflecting each locale, from a scene of boating in Kerala to a snowy day in America. . . . A thought-provoking look at the connecting power of language. - The Horn Book

The textured mixed-media illustrations reflect the textile metaphors of multilingualism in the narrative. The visual depiction of language, including words and swirls as well as diverse facial features and cultural details, enhances the inclusive messaging. An uplifting story that promotes understanding and connection through language. - Booklist

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