Why is literature and storytelling so important for children and adolescents? Nina explores this topic with special guest, Evelyn Arizpe, an expert in children’s literature and literacy. A pioneer in research into children’s responses to picturebooks and visual literacy, in the last decade, Evelyn’s research has focused on migration and displacement, building on this to develop a programme for migrant readers.
“When you have nothing, when you have lost your home, when you have lost your material possessions, when there are no resources, maybe even when you have lost the power to express yourself in the language of a new place, one of the things that you still have is your own language, your own voice and the potential to tell your own story.”
We also hear from three educators with a passion for books and storytelling: Susan in Hong Kong, Lina in Athens, and Trini in Santiago.
Susan works in a library in an international primary school in Hong Kong:
“Reading is such a wonderful outlet and I think in times like these, children like to identify themselves in books and picture books as a way of helping [them] to identify feelings that maybe they can’t put into words themselves.”
Lina specialises in teaching language and literature in Athens:
“Using wordless picture books as a starting point, teachers can promote their students’ critical thinking and initiate thought-provoking conversations… I think the most rewarding outcome as an educator is listening to children’s views, giving them space to express their ideas and making their voices heard.”
Trini is a headteacher with limited resources at a state primary school in Santiago. While she doesn’t have access to many materials, she’s moving heaven and earth to provide books to read and talk about with her students.
“I believe that reading and enjoying a book in whichever form can have a healing aspect. It can have a concept of reflecting on your own life but also learning about other people’s experiences, other realities, other fantasies.”