|BASIC INFO||LANGUAGE LEVEL||COMPREHENSION-AIDING FEATURES|
|Book Title Qui parle français ?|
(Who speaks French?)
Author(s) Carla Tarini
Illustrator(s) Esther Rosier
Other Contributors Anny Ewing
Published by Arcos Publishers
Publication date 2019
|From the author/publisher’s website|
Total Word Count
|Illustrations YES |
Guiding Questions NO
|IDENTITIES PRESENT IN THE TEXT||SYNOPSIS|
|Races, Ethnicities, and Nationalities|
Sex and Genders
|From the author/publisher’s website |
Written in easy, accessible French, the Qui parle français? books offer you the ideal entry into la francophonie– the French-speaking world.
In Book 1, you will meet ten fascinating people, including a successful businessman who was born in the Syrian desert, a poet turned president, a soccer player, and a mime who saved children during the Holocaust.
|To what extent do the illustrations present positive and thoughtful representations of identities?|
The book intentionally reflects a diverse set of people to highlight. The illustrations appear to be equally representative. Distinctive physical features such as facial features and hair are present without being caricatured.
|We understand identities are complex and no single story represents the spectrum of identity-based experiences. Also, a text may address a stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization without relying on it.|
Does any stereotype, misrepresentation, or generalization affect any positive and thoughtful representations of identities in the text?
This book does not mention the exact consequences of Django Reinhardt’s accident and therefore omits a critical part of his identity as a disabled person.
|This section is for teachers who are working towards sourcing more texts within the four domains of anti-bias education. We are excited about reading all books and we understand that not all books are written for this specific purpose. |
Does this text work toward goals within any of the four domains of anti-bias education as defined by Learning for Justice?
Identity: Promote a healthy self-concept and exploration of identity
Diversity: Foster intergroup understanding
|Qui parle français 1 highlights the lives of 10 “special’’ (as per the subtitle) Francophone people. This is book 1 in a series of 10. The book gives a one-page description of each personality by stating who they are, what they like, and where they are from, accompanied by corresponding illustrations. It also includes 6 maps of the French-speaking world. The series contains biographies of French speakers from a wide range of backgrounds and identities. Each biography is written in the first-person and present tense, contributing to their accessibility and comprehensibility to advanced beginner French language students. |
This book emphasizes the diversity of the Francophone World by situating French as a language that is spoken in North America (Louisiana), the Caribbean (Haiti), Oceania (Nouvelle-Calédonie), South-East Asia (Vietnam), Africa (Senegal), North Africa (Algeria), the Middle-East (Syria), and Europe (France and Belgium).
The author and illustrators were intentional to reflect the diversity of francophone speakers. The biographies reflect identities from an empowered perspective and framework. There is a diversity of racial, ethnic, gender, socioeconomic, and national identities portrayed in the series. Tarini is also mindful not to limit identities in French colonization, identifying people by their ethnic backgrounds that pre-exist their francophone identities (p. 13).
People in the book are empowered and the author demonstrates their varied forms of resistance to oppressive power structures. For example, the famous mime, Marcel Marceau, was part of the French Resistance during the occupation of France by Nazi Germany (p. 10). The professional French football player, Chrsitian Karembeu, refused to sing the French national hymn during the World Cup in 1998 to protest France’s history of imperialism and the concept of ‘’human zoos’’ during the various colonial expositions where racialized and colonized subjects were displayed in ‘’natural’’ state in Paris before the eyes of French people (p. 13).
The diversity of the Francophone World is the direct result of years of French colonisation and oppression of the countries selected in this book. As a result, it is very important to contextualize why French is spoken in West Africa, North Africa, the Middle-East, the Caribbean, Oceania, and South-East Asia. This book does not provide this historical contextualization which silences, thus, the French “civilizing mission’’ in its former colonies, an imperialist ideology that was used to justify France’s colonial conquests and expansion.
It will also be important for a teacher to point out the exact result of Django Reinhardt’s accident and how it contributed to his identity as a musician with a disability. He was known for only having the use of two fingers on his playing hand. This would present an opportunity to be inclusive and representative of disabled people.