What a Wonderful Word:
A Collection of Untranslatables from Around the World
by Nicola Edwards
This book is a collection of words that are untranslatable. It describes unique words from around the world and helps us to see the wonder of language.
When I was a little girl my dad thought it was hilarious to stand next to me, then tap me on the opposite shoulder from behind. I often fell for the joke. After I finally figured out what was going on, I began to play along, and intentionally made a point to look in the wrong direction. We’d laugh at the silliness of the stunt.
Well, come to find out, they have a word for this type of prank in Indonesia! It’s “mencolek.”
The book is filled 28 other untranslatable words. Many of them are funny, some of them are heart-warming and all of them speak to a situation that you are probably familiar with. They make you go, “Ah! Yes! Thank you for putting a word to that experience!”
Along with each definition, there are interesting facts about the words. Nicole Edwards describes some of the culture from which the word is derived, as well. That is the reason many of these words exist. They are often tied to a certain way of life that many other cultures are not familiar with.
I would recommend this book for all ages! Younger children will want to read it with an adult, but everyone can receive inspiration from it.
I like her work because of the bright, bold colors. Each picture has lots of movement and has you wondering what might happen next.
If you are interested in seeing more of her work, I would also recommend this gorgeous version of The Secret Garden.
This book would make a fun read aloud for children. It would also be important to read part of it with kids of any age in order to help them with the word pronunciations. There is a list of pronunciations at the back of the book.
This would be a great book to work through slowly with your kids:
- Together, read a page at a time and make it a game to use the word in your everyday conversation.
- Talk about the information shared about the culture and see if you can tie any of the country’s traditions into your own routine for a few days.
- Discuss the importance of learning new words. How does this help you to become a better reader? How does this help you to understand others a little more?
- Observe the illustrations before you start reading. Make a prediction of what you think the word might be about. Were you correct?
- How does the picture help you to understand the meaning of the word better?
- Read our list of fairy tales from around the world. Make connections to these stories and the untranslatable word you are reading about!
- Also discuss the traditions found in different cultures from the fairy tales compared to what you learn about the untranslatable word.
Other Books by Nicola Edwards
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