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Watch: 18 traditional Welsh legends brought to life in BSL storybooks for children

25 Jan 2024 2 minute read
Branwen image by Aidan Saunders: Atebol

Stephen Price

Eighteen of Wales’ most treasured legends and stories have been brought to life in British Sign Language (BSL) storybook videos, available in both Welsh and English.

Each story was designed with school children in mind, however they make a perfect introduction to some of Wales’ important legends and stories for all ages.

From Macsen to Melangell, Cantre’r Gwaelod to Blodeuwedd, these exciting versions of iconic Welsh tales have accessibility right at their hearts.

Trilingual project

The resource aims to provide practitioners with engaging content they can use with young BSL learners as part of a BSL Storytime project for the Welsh Government’s free ‘Hwb’ Digital Learning Platform resources.

The videos feature striking background illustrations from celebrated artists such as Valériane Leblond and Aidan Saunders. Each story is interpreted engagingly in BSL with a voiceover in Welsh or English.


Since 2022, Wales became the first country in the UK to include British Sign Language in its Curriculum.

This collection of videos supports the local, national cross cutting theme in the Curriculum for Wales and are aimed at progressions steps 1-3 and are appropriate for ages 5-11.

Commissioned especially by the Welsh Government, the unique resource puts BSL at the forefront of the storytelling.

Cerys Matthews. Credit: Rhys Frampton. Branwen detail. Credit: Aidan Saunders and Atebol


Speaking about one of her books being included, Cerys Matthews said: “I’m delighted that my children’s storybook, ‘Gelert’ is now available as a British Sign Language adaptation too.

“BSL is such a vibrant and expressive language, it really brings the story to life. I loved voicing the story in Welsh and English and watching it being interpreted in BSL for the first time.

“And best of all, it’s free for everyone to enjoy on the Welsh Government’s ‘Hwb’ website.

Note that south Wales BSL Dialect is used in this resource. There are also variations in BSL, and children or teachers may have seen or learnt signs that are not in this resource.

View the full list of BSL storytime titles on the Welsh Government’s ‘Hwb’. (Drop down menu for Welsh or English versions)

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Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago

Lovely job, it might inspire some local film company from Ynys Mon or Cardiff to write a screenplay or two…enough Scandinavian darkness and crime…

5 months ago

Great idea and glad to see more inclusivity.

On a separate note, the illustrations are great too. People complain there’s no male Welsh national costume equivalent, but a woollen cloak and broach combo ourmale heroes are wearing here look so, so good.

Mab Meirion
Mab Meirion
5 months ago
Reply to  RdWd

When I got sacked by Polanski mid take and ordered off the set, I hitched home dressed in a similar costume including a prop broadsword in my leather belt, the perfect look for 1970…

5 months ago

British (Cymric) legends! They only became “Welsh” when the English imposed their language and terms on us.

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