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Press Release: Ping & the Snirkelly People

Updated on May 21, 2011

Contact Information: amnfn @  well  dot com.

For Immediate Release.

Texas County, Missouri.

Every year, thousands of children start off to first grade in the United States who do not speak a word of English. In many cases, these are the children of immigrants who have not been exposed to English prior to enrollment in school. But besides the foreign children who are perfectly fluent in their own language, and the children of linguistic minorities who have not had the opportunity to interact with others outside their own group, there are also American children whose parents speak only English, but who have language disabilities and impairments that prevent them from acquiring their home language. Sometimes educators have trouble telling the difference, and so perfectly able children are sent to "special education" classes along with children who have serious disabilities or developmental delays.

Ping & the Snirkelly People is a chapter book about a Chinese little girl learning English by total immersion in a first grade class in the United States. This book explores how it feels to be suddenly unable to express oneself, despite being an intelligent, even precocious child. Author Aya Katz, a linguist, drew upon her own experiences as a monolingual Hebrew speaker starting to school in a Romeoville, Illinois classroom in 1966. The story dramatizes both the social isolation and the linguistic puzzle of language learning that every such child has to face.

This book is a must-read for ESL students, ESL teachers and even for the classmates of children who find themselves facing such a challenge.

The Book Trailer for Ping & the Snirkelly People

Ping & the Snirkelly People

The cover of Ping & the Snirkelly People
The cover of Ping & the Snirkelly People | Source

Books by Aya Katz

The Prognosis for Language Learning in the Classroom

At age six, children learn fast. They are able to acquire total fluency in a foreign language in a matter of months, not because of any special effort on the part of educators, but because the brain plasticity of a very young child allows for it.

Years after her successful experience with English, the author of Ping & the Snirkelly People faced a similar challenge trying to learn Chinese in Taiwan. While her advanced years did not allow for the same kind of experience as she had had in childhood, the events in Taiwan reminded the author of what had happened long ago in that Illinois classroom and compelled her to write this book.

There are things about English that we can know only when we stand outside the language and look in. Children who are bilingual have certain advantages in understanding how languages work, and they can share these insights with their classmates, if this is encouraged by educators.

Ping & the Snirkelly People is a dramatic unfolding of cultural and linguistic information that will help both adults and children to explore the mysteries of language learning, of reading, spelling and morphology, and of daring to look at life from more than one point of view.

Recommended for children and adults. Minimum reading level: third grade. This book can also be read aloud to younger children.

© 2011 Aya Katz


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    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      PrairiePrincess, thanks so much!

    • prairieprincess profile image

      Sharilee Swaity 6 years ago from Canada

      This looks like an excellent resource. Congrats on getting a book published, and I have "liked" it on Facebook.

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Ping and the Snirkelly People is now listed on Be sure to review it there after you have read the book!

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Ping & the Snirkelly People has been published and is available to purchase here:

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Hi, I-Scribble, glad you found this, too. I hope that this book will be of help to you and your mentor in language training.

      Every case is different. Sometimes a child who seems language delayed has simply not had enough exposure to the language in question.

      The cover illustration for Ping & the Snirkelly People is by Lanie Frick, a very talented artist from the Ozarks.

    • i scribble profile image

      i scribble 6 years ago

      I'm glad I decided to check out this hub, though I had no idea it was about a book you wrote. This topic is intriguing and relevant for me as I tutor children with dyslexia and other learning challenges. I began tutoring two "ESL" children (or is it Ell?) about six months ago, only to eventually learn that they were both born in the US and did not even speak the native language of their parents fluently. However, they seem to be somewhat disadvantaged in vocabulary and English language mastery related to their parents' English as second language status. My coordinator/mentor in language training will be just as intrigued by your book as I am, and we will certainly want to buy a copy. It will be perfect reading for our students and ourselves. I am curious, who illustrated your book?

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thanks, Dr. BJ! I'll keep you posted!

    • drbj profile image

      drbj and sherry 6 years ago from south Florida

      The title has already fascinated me, Aya, and I'm sure your book will live up to its advance PR. I will follow you to learn when it's available. Best of luck. :)

    • Aya Katz profile image

      Aya Katz 6 years ago from The Ozarks

      Thank you, Van. It will come out sometime at the end of this month. Please keep checking here, because I will announce availability.

    • profile image

      Van 6 years ago

      I will definitely look into it! My 2 year old loves story.