Saint Paul Public Library has published two children's books in the Karen language, and one book in Amharic and Oromo. The two Karen books, Elephant Huggy and The Hen and the Badger were written by authors from Saint Paul. The translation of Teach Me to Love into Amharic and Oromo was made possible by a community effort.
The library commissioned original texts of Elephant Huggy and The Hen and the Badger from authors Win World and Saw Powder and original color illustrations from children's book illustrators Betsy LePlatt and Jingo de la Rosa. The books were produced by a team of librarians, educators, and Karen community members, in addition to the authors and illustrators.
A special thanks to Sandra Schloff, The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library, Sleeping Bear Press and our community members!
Saint Paul Public Library produced these books because of the lack of children's books in the Karen, Amharic, and Oromo languages to serve the city's growing population of these communities. The library saw an opportunity to develop materials to support children's early literacy and school success. This project was produced by the Saint Paul Public Library and The Friends of the Saint Paul Public Library with the generous support of Sandra Schloff.
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About the Karen
The Karen are an ethnic group from Burma and Thailand. They have long been subject to persecution and ethnic cleansing by the Burmese government, and many lived in refugee camps before resettling in Minnesota. There are approximately 6,500 Karen living in Minnesota, and the city of Saint Paul has the largest and fastest-growing Karen population in the U.S.
About Oromo and Amharic
Amharic and Oromo are the major languages of Ethiopia. After 1974, many Ethiopians came to the United States as refugees of war and famine and to join families already established in the U.S. The U.S. Census estimates that approximately 13,927 Ethiopians reside in Minnesota.