by Lisa Fernandes Friday December 14, 2007

Read books from a variety of cultures, written in a variety of languages, all free and online at the International Children's Digital Library (A Library for the World's Children).

More about the ICDL from their website:

Whether in an urban or the rural area, globalization and language barriers are making it harder for children to read for pleasure in their native tongue. As families move from place to place, books published in their native tongue must often be left behind. In their new homelands, it may be difficult, if not impossible, to find children's books from their cultures and in their mother tongue. Parents have little access to the books and stories from their youth to pass on to the next generation. Many children must grow up without knowledge of their family's heritage and first language.

According to the International Children's Digital Library Foundation website: "A fundamental principle of the International Children's Digital Library Foundation (a non-profit corporation) is that children and their families deserve to have access to the books of their culture, as well as the majority culture, regardless of where they live. According to a paper published in 2005 by the United Nations Educational Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO) in preparation for the second meeting on the World Summit on the Information Society, "Denial to access to information in one's mother tongue is equivalent to a denial of a human right." The report also concludes, "In terms of pedagogy, how do children learn best? In their mother tongue."

The mission of the ICDL Foundation is to support the world's children in becoming effective members of the global community - who exhibit tolerance and respect for diverse cultures, languages and ideas -- by making the best in children's literature available online free of charge. The Foundation pursues its vision by building a digital library of outstanding children's books from around the world and supporting communities of children and adults in exploring and using this literature through innovative technology designed in close partnership with children for children

The ICDL Foundation's goal is to build a collection of books that represents outstanding historical and contemporary books from throughout the world. Ultimately, the Foundation aspires to have every culture and language represented so that every child can know and appreciate the riches of children's literature from the world community."

I'd love to hear what you think about this resource, so feel free to comment!