Monday, February 3, 2014

Story time session for International Mother Language Day 2014

Do you know Eric Carle's book 'The Very Hungry Caterpillar'?

In the past three years we have been celebrating International Mother Language Day with a multilingual story time session. The 2014 motto is “Local languages for global citizenship: spotlight on science.”

This year we will meet again at the State Library of WA for an exciting book reading in many languages.The event is on 21 February 2014 from 10am for a 10:30 start in their children's area 'The Place', first floor, 26 Francis Street in Northbridge, Perth, Western Australia.

We love this colourful and simple book and if fits the 2014 theme perfectly. Through this book we learn, repeat and practice the colours and lower numbers in many languages and we also learn about the science behind the development of a butterfly.

This book served us well in the past years and will again be the feature of the event which also includes a creative activity for pre-schoolers. We plan to read the book in English, German, Spanish, Indonesian, French and Italian and we hope to add a few more community languages, including Mandarin, Arabic and Hebrew if we can organise native speakers to be part of the event.

As we only have the hard copy of the big book in English which we use to show the pages. Following each page the native speaker reads out the words in the native language, as the pages get turned by the reader or a helper.  This worked very well in the past years and helped us overcome difficulties in locating the actual hard copy book in the other languages. This year we hope to initiate simultaneous story time sessions on this book, all over Australia and even further.

The book was originally written in German.

Watch Eric Carle himself read the book in German "Die kleine Raupe Nimmersatt."

The book has been translated into at least 49 languages. We found texts in various languages on the internet and here are some of the resources we used:

This is a lovely French version of 'La chenille qui fait des trous'

Here is the South American Spanish version 'Oruga Muy Hambrienta':

Another Spanish title is 'La pequeña oruga glotona': [Thank you to Irene for alerting us to this title. :)]

The Italian version 'Il piccolo bruco Maizacio' is available here:

The Portuguese title is 'A lagartinha comilona'. The pages are available in a power point document here: You find the a reading here:

Please leave links to any additional resources on public pages as a comment below and also let us know if you are hosting a similar event in any other library in Australia or elsewhere. We would welcome very much if your library, ethnic organisation, parent group or even families in your private home would join us and read Eric Carle's book on that day.

Please take photos and share them in your network and with us. We are on facebook too

Many thanks
Irma from Bilingual Families Perth


  1. We have read this story much times at home. We have the spanish version. Its name is "La pequeña oruga glotona". The mean is almost the same but I think spanish from Spain know it with this name.


  2. Thank you for your comment, Irene, I have updated the blog and even found a video reading the Spanish version you mentioned. Me has ayudado mucho. :)

  3. Hello, we have a little estonian community in Perth with bunch of young mothers who gather with their children to let the small ones learn estonian through singing, reading, craft, etc. The very hungry catepillar had also been in our reading. Do you think we could read the book in Estonian on the International Mother Language Day? I understand if you find that it is going to be to much. With best regards, Liina

  4. Yes, Liina, I remember meeting you last year and talking about the Estonian version! We would love to have the book read in Estonian on International Mother Language Day! Please confirm by email to Also we have a workshop on Raising Children in more than one language this Saturday in Mount Hawthorn, might be of interest to members of your group. More details on the website Thanks for sharing your story. Kind regards Irma

  5. Great idea! We will read this story in 10 languages at the Reykjavik City Library!

  6. Greetings to Reykjavik City Library and best of luck with your event! We just finished the event in Perth, reading the book in English, Czech, Indonesian, German, Portuguese, Italian, French and going through the colours and numbers as well in Mandarin and Swedish. A fun event low key with about 40 parents and children. Thanks to the readers and listeners! We'll do it again.