A book which aims to teach children about Jersey’s unique history and heritage has been published simultaneously in both English and Jèrriais in time for the 251st anniversary of the Corn Riots.
'Charlie & Spud and the Corn Riots' is the second title in the series of children’s books about Jersey’s history written by Penny Byrne.
It was commissioned as part of the Island Identity Project, which aims to strengthen Jersey's understanding and celebration of its own culture, in the hope of sharing the Jersey's history with young people in an accessible way.
"It is important for children to understand and learn about Jersey's cultural character because it enables them to make sense of their surroundings and fosters a strong sense of place, identity and belonging." said International Development Minister Deputy Carolyn Labey, who led the Island Identity project.
"That is why the publication of Charlie & Spud and the Corn Riots is so important - it is an excellent and highly accessible way for children to learn about Jersey's democratic history. I hope it encourages young people to have an interest in their Island's history, and to become engaged in its political future."
Pictured: School classes will hear Penny Byrne reading the book at Jersey Museum throughout this week.
The story follows a young boy’s journey through time into the eighteenth century, where he witnesses islanders’ resistance to Jersey’s power structure, food shortages, rising prices and an unfair taxation system, recalling the heroic struggle for justice and equality that gave rise to the Corn Riots. The riots, which prompted reforms in Jersey’s government, took place on 28 September 1769 and involved hundreds of Islanders protesting against landowners exporting wheat from Jersey, driving up domestic prices.
The book is the second title in the series of children’s books about Jersey’s history written by the author. The first book, Charlie & Spud in the Stone Age, tells the story of Charlie’s journey through time into the Neolithic era where he meets the inhabitants of a Stone Age village and discovers a variety of prehistoric artefacts.
Pictured: A scene from Charlie & Spud and the Corn Riots, which has been illustrated by Erin Brown.
Charlie & Spud and the Corn Riots has been published this week so that it is coordinated with the Corn Riots Festival 2022, which will run from Friday 30 September to Sunday 2 October.
During the week, school classes will hear Penny Byrne reading the book at Jersey Museum, and pupils will then tour the People! Power! Protest! Exhibition and create protest banners which will be featured during the festival.
To reach as many local children as possible, each of the 33 primary schools will receive five copies of the English version and one copy of the Jèrriais translation to aid the teaching of Jersey's curriculum.
Ben Spink, Head of the Jèrriais Teaching Service, said: "The language of most Islanders at the time of the Corn Riots would have been Jèrriais, so it feels appropriate to have a version of the book in Jersey's indigenous language. It will also serve as a very useful teaching resource for me and my team. Any resource that makes our precious native tongue more visible is to be welcomed."
To further encourage interest in Jersey's native language, every child starting Reception will receive a Jèrriais translation of Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler’s classic picture book Monkey Puzzle.
Pictured: Ben Spink said that "making the story rhyme whilst retaining the meaning was a challenge but it was a lot of fun to translate!"
The Jèrriais Teaching Service is offering over 1000 copies of D’vinnâle dé Marmoûset (Monkey Puzzle). This follows giveaways of J’allons à la chasse à l’ourse (We’re Going on a Bear Hunt), Lé Gruffalo (The Gruffalo) and most recently La P’tite Gruffalinne (The Gruffalo’s Child).
Children's Minister eputy Inna Gardiner, said: "Jèrriais is a vital part of our Island identity, so I'm delighted that our youngest learners will have access to this excellent picture book. We must encourage our schoolchildren to learn Jersey's native language so that it may endure for generations to come."
The official anniversary of the Corn Riots is today, and there'll be plenty of activities across the week to celebrate...
Want to know the history of the Corn Riots? Listen to Express's handy explainer podcast with Senior Archivist Stuart Nicolle either below or on your favourite podcast provider...
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