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Public is invited to the virtual screening of more than 10 storytimes that feature languages from around the world. 

On Friday, Jan. 28, community volunteers from different cultural backgrounds will gather at the Lake Oswego Public Library to read children's books in various world languages including Mandarin, Japanese, French, Finnish, American Sign Language (ASL), Korean and more.

For the past five years, the library has hosted a reading event for Multicultural Children's Book Day to bring awareness to all the languages spoken in the community. To keep everyone safe, the event is virtual this year. Storytime readings are prerecorded and will go live on the library's website on Friday, but are available for the entire month of February.

The national day is focused on raising awareness around children's literature that celebrates diversity, said Andrea Milano, the library's youth & technical services manager.

"A book can be a mirror or a window or a sliding glass door for a child," Milano said. "In other words, a child can read a book that reflects back to them their experiences or develops compassion for another person's experience. Or have an opportunity to visit another world or experience (it) and then come back to your own, but with expanded knowledge and empathy for others."

This year, the library has selected 14 books that touch on diversity, identity and friendship.

On of the books, "My Voice is a Trumpet" by Jimmie Allen touches on how children can change the world when they stand up for what they believe in.

On its website, the library also will share reviews of other books that they recommend community members pick up to advance their knowledge of other cultures.

"Within our community, most of our readers are members of families that we see here in the library on a daily basis, and so we hear these different languages being spoken," Milano said. "We want to take the opportunity to celebrate that and acknowledge that we're all one community working toward an excellent cultural experience and quality of life for everyone."

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