First book in Papiamentu for iPad

Our thanks to Peter Jordens for sending this post.

For the first time a children’s picture book in Papiamentu has become available as an app for the iPad, as Désirée Martis reports for Radio Netherlands Worldwide.

A first for Papiamentu. The first picture book for children in Papiamentu is now available in the AppStore. Charlotte Doornhein’s Komedó di lèter, faro i barku pirata [Letter gobblers, lighthouses and pirate ships] can be read on the iPad. It is a so-called interactive book with sound and moving images intended for children three years of age and older.

The book was originally written in Dutch and was translated by Diana Lebacs [Curaçaoan author of children’s books]. While ‘thumbing’ through the book, the reader hears all sorts of noises and the voices of the characters in the book. One of the nicer challenges facing the translator and Doornhein was translating the names of the characters. ‘Baby Storm’ became ‘Warwaruchi’ [small tornado] in Papiamentu.

The book was not aimed specifically at Caribbean children, Doornhein says: “It appears in six languages. I wanted a book that is universal.” But she is very proud that this is the first book in Papiamentu for iPad. The writer does have a Caribbean connection: “I lived in Curaçao for five years.” Moreover, her mother grew up there and her grandparents lived in Aruba and Curaçao for 25 years. She herself grew up reading books by Diana Lebacs and Miep Diekman.

The interactivity makes for a different experience for the children who read the book, but also for the writer herself the experience was special. “It’s an entirely different way of working. You can really show movement.” The child can really see a pool of water and the sea and he/she can actually do something with it. “It’s terrific for children.”

Doornhein realizes that a book for iPad also has its limitations, because for many children and parents the device is too expensive. “It’s a new market. I had to buy one myself. But you get used to it quickly.” In some schools textbooks are already being replaced by the iPad and the author expects that the device will soon become widely used on the island of Curaçao too.

The iPad app Komedó di lèter, faro i barku pirata is presently available in Dutch, Papiamentu and German and will soon also be available in English, Spanish and French in the AppStore. Android versions will also soon become available.

For the original article (in Dutch), go to

The book’s website (also in Dutch) is

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s