In addition to helping young readers learn to love literature and develop higher-level thinking skills, Hoopoe’s beautifully illustrated books for children bridge cultures and promote tolerance among people of all backgrounds. The stories are traditional tales from South and Central Asia and the Middle East that resonate with children from those regions, as well as with parents and grandparents. But these stories are not culture-specific; rather, they’re universal tales that everyone, everywhere, can relate to.
Add to this the fact that Hoopoe publishes these award-winning books not only in English, Spanish, French and German, but also in bilingual editions that pair either English, French or German with one of the main languages (Dari, Pashto, Urdu and Arabic) of the countries where these tales originated. This encourages communication and acceptance between the newly arrived and the recipient communities. Ideal for those who are learning a new language, these bilingual editions enable refugee children living in the West to read wonderful stories in their mother tongue as well as the language of their new home, and to share their culture – its differences and commonalities – with their classroom friends, developing empathy and understanding.
What’s more, most of the Hoopoe titles depict the people, clothing, architecture and animals indigenous to those parts of the world. For children, a book is not just a lens through which they see the world; it’s also a mirror in which they see themselves. So, in addition to promoting tolerance by centering on characters who look different, these books also help promote a healthy sense of identity in people of the diasporas whose roots are in those cultures.
Related materials for teachers and parents are available for free online and further enhance the value of these unique books, which are also excellent for adults who are learning English, French or German.