By LACHLAN MOORHEAD
CHILDREN from a Serbian playgroup in Hallam will be among the first kids to be given a new book which teaches the Serbian alphabet.
Mum Irena Chia, who came to Australia from Serbia when she was just seven, wrote the book after struggling to teach her young daughter the basics of the Serbian language.
She will now be donating copies of her book, titled Fun With Serbian Letters, to Hallam Gardens Children’s Centre later this month which runs a Serbian playgroup.
“I wrote this book because I found there was much need for it in Australia.
“When my daughter was old enough to start learning the Serbian alphabet I struggled with finding reading material that would be easy to follow and at the same time stimulating,” Irena said.
“This book not only teaches the youngsters that are born and raised here our alphabet but simultaneously our culture.”
Fun With Serbian Letters is an alphabetical exploration of all things Serbian – the places, the people, and the traditions.
In the book, printed by Amazon, each letter has a Serbian twist, with both alphabets included, while each page also has an English translation. In addition there are short poems which have been translated into English as well.
“Like many of us that have left our motherland, with each passing year I find myself yearning for those sweet albeit long-gone moments when I sat in my grandparent’s lap and listened to age-old stories about Serbia’s rich history,” Irena said.
“How I wish I had asked them more.
“Having children of my own now, I appreciate the importance of passing on our spiritual wealth and traditional ways to the new generation often born and brought up in a foreign land.”
Irena will be donating copies of Fun With Serbian Letters to each child in the Hallam playgroup in the lead-up to Christmas.
“A purpose I had in mind when writing the alphabet book is to remind ourselves, especially our young ones, the sheer joy of our language,” she said.
“The Serbian language is a bridge to our precious history and rich culture. It celebrates the ties that bind us as a community even as we settle far away from our home country.
“I could see my parents reading this to my kids whilst relating their own personal stories along the way.”
The Serbian playgroup at the Hallam Gardens Children’s Centre is for kids aged up to five.
They listen to Serbian stories, rhymes, and participate in other fun activities.
For more information on Irena’s book, visit www.funwithserbianletters.com.