On Saturday May 21, pionier press meets with author Taliah Pollack (»Äggskal/Coaja de ou«) and author and illustrator Ingela Bergmann (»Flytten till Landet Annorlunda/Flyttingen til Annerledeslandet«) at Översättarcentrum in Stockholm to discuss the power of bilingualism. What is their relationship to bilingualism, and why are bilingual children's books needed?
Arina Stoenescu (publisher pionier press).
Photo: Malin Bohman.
Relationship to bilingualism
Ingela Bergmann moved to Norway with her family, and they became »luxury immigrants.« The Norwegian language and culture are considered so similar to the Swedish that the two are viewed as virtually the same. This expectation of similarity made the differences even more prominent, and Ingela felt that the Bergmann family were »very much outsiders.«
Taliah Pollack and her family moved from Sweden to Israel and immediately fell into poverty. The differences were expected, but that didn't make them any easier to handle. Little help was offered to the family, and the Swedish language became something to be ashamed of, a symbol of »otherness.«
Why are bilingual children's books needed?
»They make children curious about other languages and cultures«, says Ingela Bergmann, and adds that they are also a good support for parents who may be trying to learn the language. For Taliah Pollack, it's all about equality. »Bilingual books make the "mother language/culture" visible next to the dominant language and culture. It shows that the two can coexist; there is no reason to be ashamed of where you come from.«
Ingela Bergmann (left), Taliah Pollack (right). Photo: Malin Bohman.
What about the future? Ingela Bergmann muses about a book written on two different levels of language comprehension: an easier, more straightforward one, and a more complex one. Taliah Pollack hopes to publish her book »Äggskal/Coaja de ou« in Israel, and provide children like her with a bridge between their native language/culture and their new one.