Rome (Fides Service) – From its Vatican office the Catholic association Aid to the Church in Need, reports that its children’s bible, “God speaks to his Children”, has reached the 140 million copy mark.. The book, published in 135 different languages and read by children in 115 different countries, is an illustrated collection of Bible Stories. It was first published in 1979, the international Year of the Child, to be a gift for children in third world countries. In that same year a Spanish edition was presented to the Bishops of Latin America, meeting at Puebla, Mexico, for the 3rd meeting of the Council of Latin American Bishops Conferences CEALM. It was welcomed by dioceses with great enthusiasm and in 1979 alone Aid to the Church in Need printed and diffused more than one million copies in four languages, English, French, Portuguese as well as Spanish.
Soon the first editions were printed for the countries of Eastern Europe, Africa and the Middle East. The little book has become a major activity for Aid to the Church in Need, since it is requested by Bishops all over the world. In fact not rarely the book “God speaks to his Children”, is the only Bible the children ever see. In many cases, translated into local languages, it serves also to teach children to read and to develop their cultural and linguistic identity.
Among the 135 languages in which the children’s Bible is printed and diffused are: Arabic (490,000 copies); Russian (470,000 copies); Vietnamese (300,000 copies) and Chinese (230,000 copies). There is also Malayam for India (350,000 copies), Hausa for Nigeria (265,000 copies) and Aymara for Bolivia (150,000 copies). Before the end of the year ACN hopes to print and distribute 1,300,000 including a Maya edition for children in Mexico and Gumuzinga for Ethiopian youngsters. SL (Fides Service 4/7/2003 EM lines 21 Words: 314)