WorldView: A Language Blog

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WorldView Good Reads: Off the Press for January 2021

Published: January 27, 2021

Here are good reads from around the globe that caught our attention during the month of January. 

Conversation with The Little Prince. Capturing the spirit of the International Day of Education on Monday, January 25, UNESCO and partners spearheaded the Learning Planet Festival to celebrate learning in all contexts and share innovations that fulfil the potential of every learner, no matter what their circumstances. Watch and read in their languages the winners’ contributions to an essay contest of “Le Petit Prince:” 10-year-old Xiyuan Jin from Nanjing China; 16-year-old Klaudia Makowska of Krakow, Poland, who won the English award; 16-year-old Manel Fennouche of Algiers, Algeria, winner of the French award; 25-year-old Vanessa Gabriela Cabrera Cárdenas, of Quito, Ecuador, winner of the Spanish award, and winners of the Arabic and Russian awards.  

How Covid-19 Threatens Native Languages. Jodi Archambault, a Hunkpapa and Oglala Lakota woman and former special assistant for Native American affairs under President Obama, writes from Cannonball, North Dakota about how Native Americans are dying from COVID-19 at extraordinarily high rates across the country. North and South Dakota, home to the Lakota reservations, lead the United States for coronavirus rates per capita. As she writes, that means that “we are losing more than friends and family members; we are losing the language spoken by our elders, the lifeblood of our people and the very essence of who we are.”  

Connecting to nature is good for kids – but they may need help coping with a planet in peril. Louise Chawla, Professor Emerita of Environmental Design at the University of Colorado Boulder, writes how children and adolescents benefit from living near nature and having adults in their lives who encourage free play and outdoor discovery. When they feel connected to nature, they are more likely to report good health and a sense of well-being, more likely to get high scores for creative thinking, and more inclined to show cooperative, helping behaviors. They are also more likely to say they are taking action to conserve nature, such as by feeding birds, saving energy and recycling. Lack of access to nature, in turn, has adverse effects. For example, COVID-19 restrictions on travel and social gathering shows that feeling connected with nature can bring difficult emotions as well as happiness and well-being. She offers a number of coping skills to work through these feelings and address environmental problems constructively. 

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