Litton, Jonathan. Illustrated by L’Atelier Cartographik. Hello World: a Celebration of Languages and Curiosities. 360 Degrees, an imprint of Tiger Tales, 2016. $19.99. ISBN 9781944530006. Unp. Ages 3+. P8Q9
How does a Macedonian say, “Hello”? How many characters are used in the Chinese language? What measurement did Australian aboriginals use to assess length and create maps? These are all questions answered by Hello World: a Celebration of Language and Curiosities. Is it a small world? After all, there are over 6,500 languages and countless dialects, many of which are represented in this book. Each “hello” is displayed in its language’s own characters or glyphs and is accompanied by a phonetic spelling concealed behind interactive tabs. The languages are arranged by continent of origin and illustrated by friendly, culturally dressed native speakers. Languages that are less familiar to Western readers—like those that use scripts—are given a more in-depth explanation. However, to maintain its graphic accessibility, no language’s description extends beyond blurb status. Hello World is a successful introduction to the multitude of human languages that exist on Earth.
Verdict: This book introduces languages and peoples that are nearly forgotten or vastly unknown to many. It would be especially impactful when included in curriculum related to Geography, colonization, or units on specific cultures of the world.
February 2017 review by Lillian Curanzy.