Author: Jonathan Litton
Illustrator: L’Atelier Cartographik
Publisher: 360 Degrees
Publication Date: September 1, 2016
Audience: Ages 7-10
Summary: “Hello starts friendships. Hello opens doors. Hello brings smiles.” So says author Jonathan Litton. He has chosen 150 of these greetings from the approximately 7,000 languages spoken in the world today. For example, bon jour is placed on a small flap, accompanied by a native speaker, placed on the appropriate continent. Lift the flap and discover tips on pronunciation, the name of the language, and the number of speakers. (bon zhoor, French, more than 70 million speakers in Europe.)
Six continents are presented (not Antarctica), dotted by flaps to be lifted. The first double spread is a map of the world. Lift the 14 flaps on this page, practice and you can say hello to half the people in the world. You’ll also learn something about sign language, hieroglyphics, and vanishing languages. The final spread is the world again, without flaps, but with ten ways to say good-by.
Literary elements at work in the story: This is a big book, 10 ½” x 12 ½“ in size, in concept and in content- an atlas, a dictionary, a sampling of cultures around the world. And it’s an inviting book full of color, people, detail in bright colors with page layouts that are remarkably uncluttered for the amount of material that they contain. Children who read will use this independently with pleasure and in partnership as they greet each other in different languages. Even non-readers (I tried it with two five year olds) can grasp numbers, different forms of writing, differences in costumes. If the book is being used for the first time, it’s a good idea for an adult to lift the flaps in advance. They’re hard to open. It’s a sturdy book, still it should probably be spread on a table.
How does the perspective on gender/race/culture/economics/ability make a difference to the story? This is a very inclusive book.
Theological Conversation Partners: One aspect of Pentecost is the ability of people of different languages to communicate (Acts 2), a reversal of the story of Babel where the building project ceased when people could not understand one another. (Genesis 11) However these stories are interpreted, language can be either a means of communication or a barrier. One of the first task of any missionary is to translate the Bible into the native language. John Eliot, Adoniram Judson, Henry Martyn were only a few who translated the Bible into the language of native Americans, Burmese, Indians, and Persians. For many years Americans had to travel to hear anything but English; that is rapidly changing. In the beginning of computer programming studies, “hello world” is the first thing a student learns to program. Hello World can do three things for our students: it can broaden their understanding of the many languages spoken; it can equip them to actually speak to people from these countries that they may meet; it can reinforce the value of affirming others by greeting them-all lessons and skills for a disciple of Jesus.
Faith Talk Questions:
- What language do you speak? Why?
- Is there anyone in your school or town who speaks English as a 2nd language. How do you say Hello in their language?
- Why is a greeting important? What does it say about the significance of the person greeted?
- Why should a follower of Jesus be one of the first to greet another?
- Do you think it is important to learn to speak another language? What would you like to speak?
- When you can’t share words, can you communicate?
- What can you do with language when you use it well?
Thanks to frequent reviewer Virginia Thomas who answered our request to do a review very quickly so we could have this up before Pentecost!!!