The ASP is a sort of precursor to my scholarship effort, although on a vastly larger scale, because it seeks across all of sub-Saharan Africa to help young children to become literate first in their own languages and then in a world language like English. The idea is to create a vast digital library of children's stories collected from the local communities, to illustrate them, and then "version" or translate them into both English and a wide variety of other local languages. Version" because cultural variations from community to community may result in a story from one area having elements that are inappropriate or mystifying to the parents, teachers, and children in another area.
What do I mean by story elements inappropriate or mystifying to parents, teachers, or children elsewhere? Well, Judith recounted an African story she had been told about two sisters walking in the woods who meet a scary old woman suffering from leprosy. The old woman asks the first sister to help her into her hut, but the little girl recoils at the thought of touching the woman, and refuses. The old woman asks the second sister, who agrees and helps her. Good things then happen to the helpful sister. And the moral of this story, as told to Judith? "Obey instructions or you will end up in the elephant's mouth." I think we can all agree that this moral might not strike readers everywhere as natural or appropriate!
Here is one children's story that Judith downloaded from a flash drive onto my computer. Remember that these stories will be brightly illustrated, and are for very little children:
"Goat, Dog and Cow were great friends. One day they went on a journey in a taxi. When they reached their destination, the driver asked them to pay their fares. Cow paid her fare. Dog paid a bit extra, because he did not have the correct money. The driver was about to give Dog his change when Goat ran away without paying anything. The driver was very annoyed. He drove away without giving Dog his change. That is why, even today, Dog runs towards a car to peep inside and find the driver who owes him his change. Goat runs away from the sound of a car, fearing to be arrested for dishonesty. And Cow is not bothered when a car is coming. Cow takes her time crossing the road because she knows she paid her fare in full."
You can see why I decided to sign on. This is going to be fun!