Cherokee Language Program collaborates with local publisher

The Cherokee Language Program at Western Carolina University is collaborating with EarlyLight Books of Waynesville to publish a bilingual and Cherokee-only version of a book titled “Animal Colors,” which is designed to teach early readers about colors and animals.

The book has already been translated into the Cherokee syllabary and should be available to the public in July, said Dawn Cusick, owner of EarlyLight.

The publisher, who graduated from WCU in 2008 with a master’s degree in biology, also envisions an audience for the book beyond schoolchildren.

“The book seems like a great souvenir,” said Cusick. “The Cherokee syllabary is absolutely beautiful in its printed form.”

The Cherokee Language Program helps produce materials for a Cherokee language immersion program on the Qualla Boundary for children from 6 months old through second grade. The program is an effort to keep the Cherokee language alive.

The program has produced two books in the Cherokee language, “Grouchy Old Woman” and “Spearfinger,” both based on Cherokee legend.

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