Roberto Piumini’s Fables as Italian Lessons
Our research intends to find selection parameters for children’s literature to be used as a fundamental part of a foreign-language curriculum. We achieve this through an analysis of the educational and cultural-linguistic advantages of this literature. Our project’s goal is to expose our students to Italian literature using their second language, rather than their first one, as a way to convey cultural meaning. This educational project was conducted in 2015, in a school in Chicago that offers classes of Italian Language and Culture to children at various linguistic levels, including the English-Italian bilingual one. Our research paper is divided into three parts. The first part introduces a theoretical excursus on the meaning of children’s literature and on the fable’s structure as a literary genre. The second part presents examples of how a specific text (L’albero delle fiabe by Roberto Piumini) was selected and used during the project; this part also includes our comments based on the observations of the child participants. Finally, the analysis stage describes the generalisation of our data within a framework indicating how to select a literary text, which may be useful for other teachers when deciding which children’s books to use and how to apply them to educational curricula.