WWW: International Children’s Digital Library Redux

My blogger comrade, Keira, posted a great article on this in the beginning of the year, but I think it’s such a key resource that it bears repeating and expanding. View Keira’s article here!

Do you ever wish you could find books about different cultures from all over the world offered for free digitally so you could add it to a comprehensive lesson plan about reading, writing, literature, history, social studies, cultures, etc? Just call me Samantha, allow me to wiggle my nose and poof! Here you go!

Our World Wide Web post today highlights the International Children’s Digital Library, “a public library for the world [who’s] collection reflects diverse cultures, perspectives, and historical periods”. This totally free digital collection aims to, “support the world’s children in becoming effective members of the global community – who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas — by making the best in children’s literature available online free of charge.” The ICDL gains its collection of books from individuals inside the country and/or culture which the book represents with specific knowledge of literature (i.e. national libraries). Books must meet a number of criteria before being placed within the ICDL collection such as highlighting an understanding of different cultures, countries and people, promoting acceptance and diversity, furthering children’s knowledge of the global world, be age-appropriate and easily placed into a digital format. The goal of the ICDL is to have 10,00 books in 100 languages (yeah, I know!) that are free and widely available for all to access. In addition, they specifically work with children in order to design the site and book content most effectively for their learning (imagine that: asking kids how they best think they can learn!).

The collection is designed for two audiences: children ages 3-13 and those who help foster their learning (teachers, librarians, parents, care givers, etc.), and researchers and scholars of children’s literature. The collection is free and available for all to use but cannot be downloaded nor printed nor copied (copyright laws and what not). The ICDL has a few great suggestions on how to use their collection whether you are a teacher, librarian, parent, or children’s literature lover (ahem, ahem).

  1. Read for Pleasure.There are a myriad of ways to search the collection: age range, award winning, language, country, theme, book length, type of book, dozens more, and most any combination of the above you could think of. Very comprehensive and interactive!
  2. Digital Story time. Hook up that dusty projector and pull down that white screen because while the books aren’t able to be downloaded, they can be projected making for a fun and different kind of story time!
  3. Scavenger Hunt. Help kids learn to use the varying search functions and find books on a given topic, place, theme, etc.
  4. Complete the story. Using your projection skills or at home reading time if you have an older audience, engage in the first half of the story then have children write the second half. It will be inspiring to see the diversity of endings that are bound to come out of this activity. Finish the actual book and see how the kids’ ideas compared!
  5. Creative Writing. View a picture book in a foreign language and have your kids write the story that goes along with the pictures.
  6. Bonus! View their teacher training manual which has execution ideas on a number of the aforementioned activities.

The ICDL is a great resource to enhance the reading, writing, viewing and internet using capabilities of children. Additionally, it fosters dialogue and understanding on the vast cultures and places that make up this great planet of ours, something I hope we all strive to achieve.

Red cover book + short book + imaginary creature book + Spanish = ……?


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