22 September 2020
To celebrate European Day of Languages, this autumn every child starting Reception class across Jersey’s primary schools will receive a Jèrriais translation of Julia Donaldson’s classic picture book ‘The Gruffalo’s Child’.
Following the success in 2018 of J’allons à la chasse à l’ourse (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), and in 2019 of Lé Gruffalo, the Jèrriais Teaching Service is once again giving away free copies of a well-known children’s story to encourage young readers to take an interest in Jersey’s native language. This year, the release of La P’tite Gruffalinne, the much-loved sequel to The Gruffalo, has been timed to coincide with European Day of Languages on 26 September.
The book is published in association with Macmillan Publishers and has been sponsored by local law firm Voisin Law. Head of marketing Georgina Jeffries explained why the firm chose to sponsor the book. She said: "Voisin Law is proud of its Jersey heritage so supporting a children’s publication in the island’s native language seemed a natural fit for us."
Some lucky learners from Springfield School reception class will be the first children to hear the story and receive their copy of the book this week. Members of the Jèrriais Teaching Service will then visit schools to present the books throughout the autumn term. Copies will also be gifted to every school library as well as Jersey Library.
Ben Spink, Jèrriais head of service and translator of the text, said: "We’re really excited to release a Jèrriais picture book for the third year running. For Jèrriais to survive and thrive, we have to provide a context for the language beyond the classroom and these books for young readers are just one of the ways in which we can do that."
Books will be available to purchase from the bookshop at Société Jersiaise and from L’Office du Jèrriais.
Deputy Jeremy Maçon, the Assistant Minister for Education, said: "This is a wonderful initiative which will hopefully encourage younger readers to become interested in Jèrriais. We should be proud that we have our own language and must do everything we can to ensure Jèrriais continues to be spoken in Jersey for generations to come."