A team of Mi'kmaq educators in Cape Breton have translated seven Robert Munsch books into Mi'kmaq to distribute to First Nations students in the province.
The seven translated books are Love You Forever, Thomas' Snowsuit, I'm so Embarrassed, Andrew's Loose Truth, A Promise is a Promise, Mud Puddle and I Have to Go.
Janice Ciavaglia is a literacy consultant for Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, the organization that runs Mi'kmaq schools and has jurisdiction in Mi'kmaq educational matters. She said they wanted to bring a feeling of being at home into the classroom.
"Growing up, you remember those stories that your parents read to you every night and then you saw them in schools," she said.
"But for some of our children when we have Mi'kmaq immersion classrooms, they don't see the same books they might remember."
When it came time to choosing an author, Ciavaglia said Robert Munsch — the iconic Canadian children's book author — jumped out to both her and Blaire Gould, the Mi'kmaq Language Co-ordinator for Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey.
Gould said the number of books in Mi'kmaw is limited.
"I think it's important to make connections through literacy and Mi'kmaq and English. It's very important to feel a part of a bigger thing," she said.
"It's very important to make those connections when you're so young."
Ciavaglia and Gould chose to stick to books that could accurately be translated into Mi'kmaq. They considered translating Angela's Airplane — another of Robert Munsch's books — but couldn't because there is no concrete word for airplane in Mi'kmaq.
Munsch has given permission for all First Nations to translate his texts, Ciavaglia said.
"We want them to see their language everywhere and feel that just because something is written in English does not mean they can't read it in Mi'kmaq," she said.
Ciavaglia said the translation was done through an advisory committee with members from each Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey community. The books will be published through Eastern Woodland Print Communications.
Teachers will receive the books along with a lesson plan and CD of the Mi'kmaq readings. Gould said they expect that will happen at the beginning of May.