A Hundred Thousand Welcomes
Mary Lee Donovan
40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99
“There are almost as many ways of making someone feel welcome as there are people on the planet. ”
However, regardless of the race, religion, culture or creed there are two things that particularly permeate our need to connect with others, to seek acceptance if not friendship, and offer help and protection for those in need and that is the verbal language of welcome and the sharing of food.
In this book, written as a poem to the world as a “protest against intolerance, injustice and inhumanity” both are explored and explained through the text and illustrations. Beginning as a way to discover how to say ‘welcome; in as many languages as possible, it has evolved into an exploration of the various customs that usually accompany the word when it is spoken. Sitting alongside the text, the illustrator illuminates this with pictures of everyday families sharing food as they welcome strangers to their homes, culminating in a huge four-page spread that has everyone at the same table. There is even a pronunciation guide to help you get your tongue around the unfamiliar words.
Even though there are many languages throughout the world, there is a limit to the number that can be included and so the author has selected 13 of those most commonly spoken – English, Indonesian, Arabic, Spanish, Mandarin, Japanese, Bengali, German, Hindi, Urdu, Lakota Sioux, Bashkir and Gaelic – immediately offering an opportunity for your students to add their own version both of the words and the customs, providing an authentic activity to celebrate both diversity and inclusion. Astute teachers would include a focus on the language of our First Nations peoples and a closer examination of the meaning, purpose and origins of the traditional Welcome to Country.
Just as the author discovered that there is so much more to ‘welcome” beyond the spoken word, so, too, there can be so much more to sharing this book to explore and share meaningful, purposeful learning.