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Following on a post by Laura Gibbs posted on Latinteach, about reading material in Latin, and comprehensible input, I have this to add:

One thing we need, to promote and advance Latin, are a large number of very basic childrens books, in Latin. Not enough of these exist. Books as basic as those produced for 2 and 3 year olds, mostly pictures, with only a few words. We need tens, hundreds, of books like these. I believe there would be a market for them, with parents who want to give their children a head start with Latin, and in the growing homeschooling movement.

These need to have macrons, and, if possible, an accompanying audio file.

Very basic books are needed, the Latin equivalents of "Janet and John". Things like "Look, John, look! See Janet See" Look how it runs" etc etc.

A site where it would be possible to upload books you or your class have made, is:


This site hosts thousands of out of copyright childrens books, and new books uploaded by authors. Simply translating an existing book is an option.

This could actually be a good project for an advanced Latin class, who would then as a whole class edit the work, after all working on it
together. Some teachers out there who use Latin in more active ways, might find this a useful possible idea......it would also get the kids into the computer rooms, where they would have to design the book, its layout, etc.
Computers are a motivator for learning.

Views: 765

Comment by Pam Koleszar on January 14, 2009 at 11:27am
Terrific idea! I have had students do books, but never shared them with the world. Now I will. Thank you.
Comment by Pete Boyer on March 17, 2009 at 10:52am
For my granddaughters' first birthdays, I want to create a version of Fun with Dick and Jane with facing pages in Latin. Do I need permission from the publisher? The publisher is Grosset & Dunlap.
Comment by Laura Gibbs on March 17, 2009 at 2:21pm
Hi Pete, it would be considered academic fair use I believe to do the translation for your granddaughters ONLY. The book was published in 1946 so it is not in the public domain, which means you cannot distribute a translation without permission from the copyright holder (more specifically, the holder of the subsidiary copyrights).

The book has recently been reissued in 2004 by Penguin - but apparently they do not regularly acquire the subsidiary rights from the original publisher because on this FAQ page they urge you to contact the original publisher of the hardcover book with questions about subsidiary rights:

You might contact the folks at Bolchazy-Carducci to see if they are interested in acquiring the subsidiary rights for Fun with Dick and Jane, so that you could publish a Latin translation with them. I think that would be super: most of the children's books in Latin are way too hard, but that would not be the case with this one! :-)
Comment by Pete Boyer on March 19, 2009 at 11:34am
Hi Laura, gratia tibi :) Your link is much more informative than the one I found on my own. I do have a copy from my local library.

What I plan to do is: scan the copy I have, create duplicate pages with the same art work, but replace the English text with Latin, then print and bind it. My goal is to marry this classic American primer with classic Latin.

Depending on how it turns out, I will definitely contact the publisher you suggested and see if they're interested.

I'm really happy that there are other people who share my interest in introducing very young children to classic languages.

Thanks again!
Comment by Laura Gibbs on March 19, 2009 at 11:45am
I've had students do projects like that for class, exactly as you described, replacing the English text with Latin but keeping the illustrations. It was always so much fun, and so sad not to be able to distribute the results.

If you are interested in finding public domain children's books, especially illustrated ones, The International Children's Library online is amazing:
Comment by April on May 27, 2010 at 6:20am
There are several already translated children's books in Latin, but the Latin would be difficult for most students unless they have at least third year level Latin. The other problem is that many of these books are out of print. I have Tela Charlottae (Charlotte's Web), but considering how much I paid for it, I'm afraid to let my students use it. Incidentally, that brings up a question for me. Why are there only three of the Beatrix Potter books translated into Latin? Does anyone know?
Comment by Latinum Institute on May 27, 2010 at 7:04am
Since this post, we now have the Tar Heel reader site, with over 400 illustrated children's books in Latin, all written since May last year. Amazing!


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