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The Very Hungry Caterpillar celebrates 50 years with an Indigenous translation

It may be only 224 words long, but The Very Hungry Caterpillar is a heartwarming story of change and growth that has been translated into 62 languages and sold more than 50 million copies.

Moreover, it’s just turned 50 years old. To celebrate, the iconic children’s book has been translated into the Yuwi language through the efforts of volunteers.

Photo: ABC

In celebration of its 50th anniversary, The Very Hungry Caterpillar been translated into an Aboriginal language that was once considered “virtually extinct”.

A massive group effort from a volunteer community gathered 1,000 words of the Yuwi language, which was enough to create its own translation of the popular book. The Yuwi language of the Yuibera and Yuwibara Indigenous communities in Queensland’s Mackay region has no fluent living speakers, and the language was considered extinct by the State Library in Queensland in 2015.

However now, children of Yuibera and Yuwibara communities can now hear the story in their ancestors’ words, with the volunteer group coming up with plans to incorporate local Indigenous stories into more children’s books.

The Very Hungry Caterpillar was first published 50 years ago by American writer Eric Carle and even in today’s digital age, the pictures and storyline continue to engage children around the world.