Bilingual Summer Reading List

Whether your summer is action-packed or laid back, there are stretches of time that are perfect for getting in some bilingual reading. But what books are perfect for the long ride to grandma’s, or the quiet afternoon by the lake? We’ve brought together some of our favorite summertime reads that are sure to appeal to kids of all ages and interests. Bonus: They’ll be improving their bilingual skills. Our titles are available in English with your choice of over 50 languages!

Books About Outdoor Fun

We’re Going on a Bear Hunt

It’s such a beautiful day – let’s go on a bear hunt! Dad takes his four children on a grand adventure across grassy fields, through a river and into a cave. They’re not afraid!  (Ages: 2-7)

Let’s Go to the Park

This board book is all about letting young children explore the area they live in.  What animals and people will they meet? What objects will they see and hear? The simple text is just right for young readers who are starting to recognize words. The text promotes simple conversations: What can you SEE? What can you HEAR? WHO will you meet? (Ages: 0-4)

Goal! Let’s Play!

Let’s discover games and sports played around the world! In Nigeria there’s swimming, running in France, and even camel racing in Dubai. Children will be inspired to get moving! This book, part of the “Our Lives, Our World” series, explores the diversity of children’s lives around the world. (Ages 2-6)

Books About Friendship

I Took the Moon for a Walk

A young boy goes on a magical adventure with his friend, the Moon. Lyrical verse combine with detailed illustrations, delivering a dramatic backdrop for an imaginative journey. Readers will love the serene beauty of the night time world. At the end of the book, discover facts about the moon as it passes through the sky, and the ways it influences our lives. Readers can also learn about many nocturnal animals who occupy the world at night. (Ages: 3-8)

What Shall We Do with the Boo Hoo Baby?

What should Dog, Duck, Cat and Dog do when the baby says, “Boo-hoo-hoo!” Should they feed him? Play with him? Will that baby EVER stop crying? Cressida Cowell brings us an award-winning book full of gorgeous illustrations and a story familiar to any family that’s been blessed with a new addition. Toddlers and preschoolers will love the repetition and animal sounds. (Ages: 1-6)

Keeping Up with Cheetah

Cheetah wants a friend – a friend as fast as him. But poor Hippo can’t keep up, and is left in the dust. With so many differences, how can these two characters play together? Young children will learn about what it means to be a good friend. (Ages: 2-7)

Multicultural Books

The Crow King

The evil Crow King has stolen a beautiful bride, and her husband must set out on a dangerous journey to rescue her. How can this mere mortal defeat a merciless demon? With strength and courage! This Korean tale by Lee Joo-Hye is about the fight between good and evil.  (Ages: 5+)

Mamy Wata and the Monster

Mamy Wata is the queen of all the water. One day, when she is swimming peacefully in a big river, she hears the news: a terrible monster has been scaring the nearby villagers. So Mamy Wata lies in wait near the monster’s cave. But, to her great surprise, instead of finding a monster, she finds a sad and lonely man who has been bewitched. This colorfully illustrated book brings African culture to life on each page. Children will be captivated by the lyrical text, perfect for reading aloud. (Ages: 4+)

Deepak’s Diwali

Deepak is having the worst Diwali ever! No sparklers, no fairy lights, and now Deepak is certain Ravana the demon king is after him! This story by Divya Karwal is part of our “Celebration” series. It’s a warm contemporary story, with beautiful illustrations that celebrate Hindu mythology, recipes and activities. (Ages: 3-8)

Traditional Stories… with a Twist!

Not Again, Red Riding Hood!

Little Red Riding Hood is on her way to see her father. She has ten cookies to bring to him. Along the way, she meets some familiar characters, who also happen to be very hungry: The three bears, the three billy goats gruff, and Rapunzel. And, as always, there is the Big Bad Wolf. How will Little Red Riding Hood get past that hungry wolf? This clever story combines favorite characters from many tales, and can also be used as a math counting book.  (Ages: 3-8)

Jill and the Beanstalk

Jill, the self-assured protagonist, must battle an evil giant and save her family. While on her adventure, she meets characters from other nursery rhymes, like the Queen of Hearts and Little Bo Peep. “Jack couldn’t help feeling envious of Jill, he wished he’d climbed a beanstalk instead of a hill….” (Ages: 4+)

Pinocchio and the Real Boys

This bilingual story re-tells the classic tale of Pinocchio, a puppet who wants to be a real boy. After learning lessons through some misadventures with his schoolmates, Pinocchio decides to be responsible, and think for himself instead, and finds that his greatest wish comes true! This is a great read-aloud book with lyrical text and whimsical illustrations.  (Ages: 4+)

How does your family make time for summer reading? Comment and let us know!

“Reading” by Marketa via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d5CknA

Multicultural Learning Activities for Summer

A beach in the summer timeWith summer here, many parents find themselves asking the same question: What should I do with the kids until school starts up again? There’s no reason you can’t make language and cultural learning part of your summer break routine!

Games

These 5 multicultural games from around the world are a simple way to get moving and playing together! Try a rousing game of 1, 2, 3 Dragon, or a few rounds of Palm Ball. It’s a great way to stay active this summer, all while learning about different cultures.

Reading

Taking a months-long hiatus from learning might set your kids up for the dreaded “summer slide,” when kids lose some of the progress they made the year before. For bilingual learners, especially, a long break from consistent language exposure can erode some of their hard work.

Set aside some time in your schedule for reading. To help you pick the right bilingual books for your family this summer, we put together a handy reading list with stories that are humorous, tell traditional tales, and are full of fun songs to sing!

Travel

If your summer includes travel plans, you can make bilingualism part of your family’s summertime adventures. Engage children in fun travel activities, whether it’s during a ride to the grandparents’ house, or a flight overseas. Try out these travel activities, and you’ll be there before you know it!

Ease Into Summer

Lastly, are you or the kids feeling a bit off-kilter, now that the school schedule has come to an end? Some people experience anxiety about big changes to the daily routine. In this post, we offer 3 tips to ease the transition into summer break.

What are your kids’ favorite summer activities? Comment below and let us know!

“Slice of paradise” by Kevin Dooley via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d85Y5u

5 Multicultural Games for Kids to Try This Summer

Kids playing outdoorsIf you’re looking for something fun to do this summer, give these multicultural games from around the world a try! From games that you can play in a group, to one-on-one games, they are perfect for all ages. Get your kids or campers outdoors to play a fun round of Catching Stars or a competitive game of Hoops! It’s a great way to stay active this summer while learning about different cultures.

STALKER (Botswana)

In this enjoyable group game, two players are chosen to be the Hunter and the Springbok. These two players are blind-folded, and the rest of the players form a circle around them. The Hunter must try to catch the Springbok, and the Springbok tries to stay away from the Hunter. The group is not allowed to touch either player, but they may choose to make different animal noises to distract the Hunter. Once the Springbok is caught, the group chooses two new people to be the Hunter and the Springbok.

CATCHING STARS (Equatorial Guinea, Zaire)

This game is typically played with a large number of players. Split the group into one smaller group and one bigger one. The smaller group is Catchers and the bigger group is Stars. All the Stars stand in a line on one side of the field, and the Catchers stand spread out in the middle. The Catchers say, “Star light, star bright, how many stars are out tonight?” The Stars respond, “More than you can catch!” The Stars then try to run as quickly as possible to the other side of the field without being tagged by the Catchers. If Stars are tagged by Catchers, they become catchers too. The game continues until all Stars become Catchers.

1, 2, 3 DRAGON! (China)

This is an active group game that is fun for children of all ages. Players form a line with each player’s hands on the shoulders of the person in front of them. The first person in line is the Head, and the last person in line is the Tail. The Tail yells, “1, 2, 3 dragon!” and the Head starts moving to try and catch the Tail. The rest of the players must follow the Head’s movements exactly, while staying connected to one another. If the line disconnects, then the dragon has died, and the Head must move to the end of the line to become the Tail. If the Head is able to catch the Tail, the Dragon survives! The Head still moves to the back of the line to become the Tail in order to give the next person in line a chance to be the Head.

HOOPS (Greece)

It is helpful to have at least 5 people on each team in this game. There are two teams, and each team selects one person to be the Roller. The Roller will stand at the starting line with a hula hoop. The rest of the players will be on the side with small balls or bean bags. The Roller rolls the hula hoop past the people on their team, and they try to get as many balls through the hoop as possible without the balls touching the hoop. The team who is able to get the most balls through the hoop is the winner.

PALM BALL (Italy)

Similar to Dodge Ball in the US, you only need a ball and a piece of chalk to play this game. Mark off a big rectangle on the ground with the chalk, and draw a line through the center of the rectangle. Each player stands in their side of the box. One player starts by serving the ball into the other person’s box, and that player must send the ball back by hitting it. You can’t hold the ball – you can only hit it back into the other person’s box. The ball can only bounce in your box twice before making it to the other side.

Comment and tell us about your favorite multicultural game to play with your family!

“Kids Playing” by Mr Hicks46 via Flickr is licensed under BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/51JNBG

New Bilingual Children’s Books Available!

Language Lizard is excited to announce that we’ve added two new bilingual books to our offerings:

Pinocchio and the Real Boys

We are thrilled to announce the addition of Pinocchio and the Real Boys, a title made even more special because it’s available in a new language – Kurmanji Kurdish!

Pinocchio and the Real Boys is a bilingual story that re-tells the classic tale of Pinocchio, a puppet who wants to be a real boy. After learning lessons through misadventures with his schoolmates, Pinocchio decides to be responsible, and think for himself instead, and finds that his greatest wish comes true!

This is a great read-aloud book with lyrical text and whimsical illustrations by Magda Brol. Available in your choice of 19 languages with English!

For the month of May, we are offering a 10% discount on Pinocchio and the Real Boys. Simply enter coupon code PIN10 during the month of May 2018 to receive the discount.

Let’s Go to the Farm

We’ve also added the bilingual board book Let’s Go to the Farm. This charming story by Kate Clynes uses bold illustrations and simple text about the world around us, to support language development in young readers. This book is also great to use with the PENpal Audio Recorder Pen (sold separately) because children can tap around the pages to hear sounds from the story!

 

Kurmanji Language & Kurmanji Books: Facts, Figures & Resources

city view in kurdistan

Today’s spotlight language is Kurmanji. We’ve gathered some background info and interesting facts about the language. We also have information on our newest Kurmanji children’s book.

Where is Kurmanji spoken?

Kurmanji is a major dialect of the Kurdish language. It’s spoken in Kurdistan, Syria, Turkey, Iran and Iraq. There are approximately 15 million speakers worldwide.

How Many Kurdish Speakers in the US?

According to the most recent US Census data, there are about 17,000 Kurdish speakers in the US. Some of the largest Kurdish populations are in New York, California, New Jersey and Florida.

Interesting Facts About Kurmanji

Kurdish dialects are broken into three main groups: Northern Kurdish (Kurmanji), Central Kurdish (or Sorani) and Southern Kurdish (Pehlewani).

Nearly all people in the Kurdistan Region can speak or understand Kurmanji and Sorani.

The Kurdish language came into being around 3,000 years ago.

Kurmanji can be written with Latin or Cyrillic scripts.

Kurmanji Books – Bilingual Children’s Books

We have long offered many bilingual Sorani Kurdish storybooks and audio books for kids, like The Little Red Hen and the Grains of Wheat and Hansel and Gretel. We are proud to now offer Pinocchio and the Real Boys in Kurmanji Kurdish, and we will be adding more titles in the Kurmanji language in the coming months.

Do you speak Kurmanji, or know someone who does? Comment below and share your interesting language facts!

“Sulaimani city view from slemani palace building” by Diyar se via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/d1VH7U

The “Seal of Biliteracy” in Schools Across the Country 

Graduates throwing caps in the airAcross the country, more schools are embracing fluency in multiple languages by offering a special award called the “Seal of Biliteracy” that can be earned by bilingual students.

Earning the Seal of Biliteracy

The first program began in California in 2010 to showcase biliteracy as an asset. The Seal of Biliteracy helps to elevate language programs in our schools, and gives students a new goal to work toward.

More than two dozen states now offer a state- or district-wide Seal of Biliteracy award to high school graduates who demonstrate that they can speak, read and write in more than one language. 

The purpose of the seal is to recognize the hard work of becoming biliterate. Offering the seal also sends a message about the value of maintaining native languages, and the importance of language learning.

Once earned, the seal appears on a student’s diploma and/or transcript, or as a special certificate. In some states, students can also earn “pathway awards” as they journey toward earning the seal.

In the long-term, students who have earned the seal are more attractive to colleges and employers, which leads to greater earning potential over their lifetimes.

Are you looking for a special gift for someone earning a Seal of Biliteracy? Read our previous post to learn about some unique gifts for bilingual students.

“goodbye” by Jessie Jacobson via Flickr is licensed under CC BY-SA 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/6uZfvq

Diverse Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week & to Celebrate Bilingual Students

Spring is a great time to celebrate the outstanding educators and language learners in your life!

Teacher Appreciation Week & More!

Teacher Appreciation Week is May 7-11. It’s the perfect opportunity to say “thank you” to the teachers and school staff that work tirelessly to make a difference in our children’s lives.

April is also National Bilingual/Multilingual Learner Advocacy Month. Be sure to show your support of those students who are working to maintain their home languages, while also learning a new one!

Gifts that Celebrate Diversity & Inclusion

Looking for unique gifts that celebrate diversity and inclusion?

We’re excited to offer new multicultural t-shirt designs that celebrate bilingualism and diversity such as: Welcome Your Friends (with HELLO in 35+ different languages), I’m Bilingual, What’s Your Superpower? and We All Smile in the Same Language.

There are many more design and color options available at our Amazon store, as well as bilingual and Spanish-only versions of some of the designs.

Many of the same designs are now available on mugs and phone cases, too!

These gifts encourage and promote language learning – perfect for multicultural classrooms!

Home Language Maintenance Strategies

In previous posts, we’ve discussed the benefits of home language maintenance. However, many parents struggle to maintain the home language (HL) for a variety of reasons. Here, we offer some concrete suggestions that parents can use with elementary-aged children, to ensure they receive the cognitive, cultural and professional benefits of bilingualism.

Teachers can share the following strategies with parents and even provide assignments that will support HL maintenance. Educators can also build bilingual book libraries to provide resources for children to read at home in the HL, and at school in English.

  • Require your child to speak to you in the HL while at home. Give praise for doing so, and do not punish the child for wanting to speak English. Children will need several daily reminders to speak the HL.
  • Have one parent do homework with the child in English (as that is the language at school).
  • Provide grade level-appropriate homework for your child in the HL. If possible, coordinate with the teacher to select homework that is related to what they are doing in class. If there is not enough time to do this on the weekdays, pick a weekend day to do it.

1. Incentivize your child. Example: If you do this homework, then we’ll go to the_____________. If you don’t finish, we cannot go.

2. During the summer, do homework in the HL on a regular basis (if possible, work with your child’s teacher in determining summer assignments.

  • Find cartoons, music, movies, multicultural books, apps and educational shows to play for your child in the HL. Screen time should be limited.
  • If possible, send your child to your home country.  If you still have family there, you may be able to arrange a home stay where the child gets maximum exposure to the HL.
  • Explain to your child why it is important for her/him and your family that he or she speak both languages. Young children can understand and think critically about the importance of bilingualism, such as:

1. Maintaining the family’s native culture.

2. Maintaining communication with family who only speaks the HL.

3. Having pride in where you come from.

4. Being wll prepared for the future and a bilingual world and workplace.

  • Give age appropriate examples of how others value their bilingualism. Examples: “My friends at work wish they spoke two languages,” or “your teacher is so proud of you and impressed by your bilingualism,” or “I got my job in part because I speak two languages.”
  • Provide a print-rich environment for your child in the HL: Have your child help you choose fiction and non-fiction books in the HL, make grocery lists, write letters to relatives, and do other writing tasks in the HL. Reading and writing in the HL takes time and effort, but is important.
  • Stay firm, confident and proud of your “HL Only” rule while in the house. Children in elementary school are much more likely than middle school or high school children to eventually accept the rule and adapt to it.
  • Think of HL maintenance as part of parenting – you’re the enforcer!
  • Do not get discouraged when your child doesn’t want to speak the HL. If your child is just making the change to home language use, start by having your child speak to you in the HL for an allotted amount of time each day.

1. Be creative and pick a phrase in the HL that your child must use a couple of times a day for that week, for example.

2. Tell your child it’s like a challenge or a game: “If you speak to me in Spanish after school for 20 minutes and during dinner, you’ll be rewarded with _____.” Sticker charts, point systems, and more will show your child how s/he is progressing and s/he can earn something after reaching a certain point.

  • Do not criticize your child for using incorrect grammar, having an accent, or using the wrong word when speaking the HL. It’s natural to make mistakes, and you can gradually correct him or her with gentle reminders.
  • If you have an infant as well, have your elementary school child speak to the baby in the HL only (for the benefit of both children).

Don’t be afraid and don’t get discouraged if the time and effort to implement a plan seems overwhelming at first. It will become part of your routine, just like anything else you’ve established in your home. Reach out to other parents who are in your situation, join online communities of bilingual parents, and do your own research if you have the time. There are many resources out there that can help you! It’s very rewarding when your child can speak to you and to others in your native language.

Guest author Emily Enstice is a former teacher at Willow Creek Academy, a K-8 charter school in Sausalito, California. She received her doctorate in International and Multicultural Education from the University of San Francisco.

This blog post is linked with the monthly Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop. Be sure to check out other bloggers’ tips, teaching strategies, and resources!

Creative Kids Culture Blog Hop

“Facts About Languages” by Elaine Smith via Flickr is licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal (CC0 1.0) https://flic.kr/p/VoddCu

8 Great Folktales for Kids – Favorite Folktales from Around the World

World Folktales and Fables Week is celebrated the third week of each March. (This year it’s March 18-24.) Be sure to enjoy a good folktale at home and in your classroom! Use #WorldFolktales on social media, and tell us about your favorite folktales and fables.

World Folktales & Fables: Important Teaching Tools

Every culture has its own way of teaching lessons and sharing how different things came to be. Many do this through the telling of fables or folktales. Here, we look at eight folktales from around the world. Each one explores the origin of different phenomena and reflects important values. These folktales, which are all part of our Multicultural Book Sets, are a perfect way to teach your students or children about different cultures and languages from around the world.  A special discount for World Folktales & Fables Week is offered at the end of the article.

How the Moon Regained Her Shape, By: Janet Ruth Heller and Ben Hodson

This accomplished children’s book is the winner of the Benjamin Franklin Award and the Moonbeam Children’s Book Award. This Native American folktale follows the story of the moon and her journey to understanding that other people’s words should not define her. Moon lets the Sun’s hateful words get the best of her and it makes her feel inferior and small just like a bully’s tormenting can make a victim feel small and oppressed. The Moon’s true friend, Round Arms, then shows her all the great things that people say about her and that she should not be discouraged by the hateful words of others.

The Empty Pot, By: Demi

This book provides a great vehicle to convey the message that honesty is the best policy. This Chinese folktale about the Emperor looking for a successor shows children that you will be rewarded for your honesty in ways you could never imagine. The Emperor had given all the children seeds and said that whoever returns with the most beautiful plant in one year will be the new emperor.  All the children but one return a year later with beautiful plants. Yet the one boy with an empty pot, Ping, becomes the new Emperor. The Emperor had given everyone cooked seeds so nobody should have been able to grow a plant. Ping claimed his reward for his honesty and became the new emperor of China.

Once a Mouse… By: Marcia Brown

Winner of a Caldecott Medal, this book teaches children to be thankful for what they have as things can change at any moment. In this Indian folktale there is a hermit sitting in the forest when all of a sudden he sees a mouse running away from a crow. The hermit then turns the mouse into a cat and then into a huge dog and many more animals all increasing in size until what was once a mouse is now a tiger. The tiger becomes greedy and wants more power. The hermit spots his greed and turns him into a mouse once again because he is not thankful for what he has. Children will learn from this book that it is important to be thankful for all the good you have in your life and not focus on what you don’t have.

The First Strawberries, By: Joseph Bruchac and Anna Vojtech

This Cherokee folktale about the first man and women teaches children the important lesson to forgive and forget. The story tells of the man coming home one afternoon from hunting and getting angry at the women because she did not prepare any food for him. They fight and then the woman runs away, leaving the man stricken with sorrow and trying to catch up with the woman to win her back. The woman finally stops fleeing when she sees the strawberries, giving the man ample time to catch up with her. They then forgive each other for their mistakes and go back home. Reading this book is a great way to celebrate Cherokee culture and to learn how to forgive someone even if they hurt you.

Toad is the Uncle of Heaven, By: Jeanne M. Lee

This Vietnamese folktale tells the story of the toad and how his determination and strength must be respected regardless of his size and appearance. There was a horrible drought in Vietnam, people and animals were dying and the toad knew that something must be done. He set off on a long journey to find the King of Heaven and ask him to pour rain down on the Earth. Along the way other animals joined him to the Heavens. When they got there, the King refused to speak with them, so the toad and the other animals had to prove themselves. Finally the King listened to their complaints and rained water down over all of the Earth. The King now respected the Toad for his bravery and determination and called him “uncle” which is a sign of respect. The bravery and courage of the toad teaches children that with a little courage of their own they can do anything.

Why Mosquitoes Buzz in People’s Ears, By: Verna Aardema and Leo and Diane Dillon

This entertaining African story about a pesky mosquito who will not stop buzzing and own up to his faults is the winner of a Caldecott Award. The iguana’s anger towards the mosquito’s foolishness sets off a chain reaction which spirals out of control, and one of the Owl’s children ends up dying because of it. The animal council then tries to find who is at fault until they finally realize it is the mosquito’s fault for telling nonsensical stories. This folktale teaches children that it is more important to tell the truth than to exaggerate facts and be dishonest.

Liang and the Magic Paintbrush, By: Demi

Originating in China, this folktale tells the story of Liang and the paintbrush he was gifted by the old man on the phoenix. It was a magic paintbrush because everything he painted with it came to life! Liang used it to paint things for the poor and the needy, and everyone was very thankful. Until one day the greedy emperor found out about the paintbrush and tried to steal it from Liang. But since the emperor could not paint well, everything turned into something he did not want it to be. The Emperor then freed Liang with the condition that he would paint whatever the Emperor wanted.  In the end, Liang was ordered to paint him an ocean and the Emperor drowned in it. This shows that if you are humble and you do things to benefit the needy then you will be blessed, but if you let greed get the best of you then there will be nobody to save you from drowning.

Rabbit and the Moon, By: Douglas Wood and Leslie Baker

This fable about friendship and giving is of Native American origin and still resonates with many people today. Rabbit has always wanted to go see the moon, and the crane was the only bird willing to fly the rabbit all the way there. The story goes that Rabbit is still on the moon now and anybody looking at the Moon from Earth can see Rabbit hopping around. In return for the trip to the moon, Rabbit gave the crane a red spot on his head. Crane’s legs were stretched out because the rabbit held on to them for so long during his flight. This story teaches that lending a helping hand to others will be a rewarding experience for all involved.

Language Lizard is offering a special 10% discount on some of our favorite bilingual folktales for World Folktales and Fables Week. Use code WFF2018 to get a 10% discount on The Dragon’s Tears, The Giant Turnip and Yeh Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella through the end of March 2018.

Bilingual Books & Multicultural Resources: Worldwide Shipping Available!

little hands making heart over earth drawingLanguage Lizard now offers WORLDWIDE shipping at competitive rates with lots of payment options!

We’re thrilled to announce that we are working with a new international shipping partner to simplify international ordering (outside US & Canada).

Simply add items to your Language Lizard shopping cart and choose the “international checkout” button to see the cost for shipping and duties and taxes. You can even choose to prepay duties and taxes when you check out, so there are no additional funds collected upon delivery.

You can pay with international credit cards, PayPal, bank wire transfers, Alipay or other local payment options. Our partner, GlobalShopex, will process your payment and guarantee delivery.

This is great news for our international customers, as well as those who wish to send bilingual books and resources to family and friends abroad!

Supporting Dual Language Learners and Bringing Multiculturism to the Classroom!