Category Archives: At Home

Mungo Makes New Friends: New Bilingual Book!

We are thrilled to announce a brand new bilingual children’s book! Mungo Makes New Friends is sure to be a hit with the kids in your classroom and family.

Mungo Makes New Friends

Mungo Makes New Friends is a story about an old horse who, at first, is quite lonely on his own. He has seen better days, and thinks there isn’t much to look forward to. One by one, Mungo and the reader are introduced to brand new animal friends. However, when winter comes, and Mungo must move into the stable, what will happen to his newfound friendships?

This lovely story about the joys of friendship is written by Gill Aitchison. Jill Newton creates the story’s beautiful illustrations, set in the Scottish Highlands.

Read Mungo Makes New Friends with the children in your family or classroom, and open up a discussion about the value of friendship, and the importance of inclusion. They will love to follow along with the adventures of Mungo and his friends, while also building their literacy skills.

Mungo Makes New Friends is available in English with Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French, Hungarian, Italian, Latvian, Lithuanian, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Slovakian and Spanish.

Chinese New Year – A Multicultural Holiday

Page from bilingual children's book Li's Chinese New Year

Chinese New Year begins on Tuesday, February 5, 2019. It’s a special time to honor ancestors and renew family bonds with traditional rituals and feasts. Also known as Spring Festival, for those who celebrate it, it’s one of the most important social and economic holidays of the year.

CHINESE NEW YEAR

Chinese New Year is tied to the Chinese lunar calendar. The celebration begins on the night of a new moon, and culminates with the Lantern Festival, when families gather in the streets with beautiful lighted lanterns.

Part of preparations for the new year is a thorough cleaning of the home, to invite good fortune in the new year. Each day of Chinese New Year is celebrated with friends and family, enjoying feasts, music, gifts, and red envelopes full of good luck money.

YEAR OF THE PIG

Page from bilingual children's book Li's Chinese New Year

This year will be the Year of the Pig! In Chinese culture, pigs are the symbol of wealth and good fortune. According to legend, people born in the year of the pig are realistic, thrifty, and are sure to get enjoyment from their lives. They are never lazy, and bring enthusiasm to all their endeavors. The colors yellow, gray and brown, and the numbers 2, 5 and 8 are considered lucky for those born in the Year of the Pig.

MULTICULTURAL CELEBRATION IN THE CLASSROOM

Page from bilingual children's book Li's Chinese New Year

Celebrate this special holiday with the bilingual children’s book Li’s Chinese New Year. Available in English and your choice of 12 languages, the story introduces us to Li, who must make the important decision of which animal costume he will wear to the school’s big New Year assembly. Readers will find all twelve of the zodiac animals in the story, and discover facts and activities relating to the holiday at the back of the book.

Now through February 28, 2019 get 10% off Li’s Chinese New Year by entering discount code CNY2019 at checkout!

Share this fun multicultural holiday with your students by downloading our free Chinese New Year lesson plan so students can explore the holiday by utilizing geography, crafts and discussion. Compare similarities and differences between the Chinese New Year and the American New Year with a Venn diagram activity. The lesson also includes suggestions for teaching about world geography and population density.

The book Li’s Chinese New Year is the inspiration for this lesson plan. It introduces students to the Chinese New Year celebrations and ties concepts together in the lesson plan. Teachers can also use the story to introduce students to Chinese characters in the bilingual English-Chinese version of the book while reading the story out loud in English.

The primary focus of the lesson plan is to help children cultivate an appreciation for cultural and linguistic diversity. Through collaborative activities and discussions, students can build positive relationships with one another while learning to appreciate our world’s global diversity.

Do you celebrate Chinese New Year? Comment below and let us know what your favorite part of the holiday is!

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

#CountAllKids – Why the Upcoming Census Matters

The 2020 US Census has been a hot topic in the news* because of a controversial citizenship question. The #CountAllKids campaign wants you to know why it’s absolutely essential that our nation’s children are counted.

Our Constitution mandates that the government will count its population once every decade, and our next Census will happen in 2020. Because of a controversial citizenship question announced by the US Census Bureau in March of 2018, there is the fear that millions of immigrants may decide not to complete their surveys. Already vulnerable, marginalized communities could go uncounted, leading to a massively skewed distribution of Congressional representation and federal funding.

There are also undercounting risks that will specifically hurt our nation’s children. According to the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s website, “Researchers believe up to 2 million children under age 5 could be missed in the count…” Vital health insurance programs, foster care programs, low-income education programs, special education funding, and new school locations are just a few ways that children will be directly impacted by the Census results.

As the Count All Kids website states, “When we miss young children in the census, it has serious consequences for them, their families, their communities and our nation – with many of those consequences lasting for at least 10 years.” Go to their website to learn more about the upcoming US Census and to find out how you can support the #CountAllKids campaign.

*Note: At the time of publication, the ultimate fate of the citizenship question was still being argued in the court system.

Unique Multicultural Gifts for the Holidays

bilingual shirts and mugs

Celebrate diversity and show your support for bilingualism with these fun and unique gifts! Perfect for bilingual students and teachers in diverse classrooms.

Discounts on ALL Bilingual Book Sets – Available in 40+ languages!

We hand-selected our most popular titles for bilingual book sets to save you time and money. All books include English and one other language of your choice. Tailored to meet the language needs of teachers and librarians, they make ordering easy! Our book sets include the most accessible, popular, and culturally appropriate books for the children you want to reach.

Exclusive PENpal Interactive Literacy Sets are a great way to support dual language learners! We offer an extensive selection of literacy sets that include the PENpal Audio Recorder Pen, along with our award-winning bilingual “talking books.”

Discount is applied during checkout – no code needed!

Multilingual Posters – Great for teachers with diverse classrooms!

To help you decorate your multicultural classroom or library, we are offering a discount on our multilingual poster 3-pack. This set of 3 posters lets you display “Hello,” “Thank You” and “Welcome” in over 30 languages. The discount is available online – no coupon code required.

Unique T-shirts & Mugs Celebrate Diversity and Bilingualism!

bilingual shirtsWe’re excited to offer new multicultural t-shirts that celebrate bilingualism and diversity with messages like: Welcome Your Friends (with “HELLO” in 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, Spanish-only, French and German versions of some of the designs.

bilingual mugsSimilar designs promoting multiculturalism are also available on mugs! (Note that there are multiple pages.)

Gift Certificates – Let Recipients Choose What They’d Like!

Language Lizard gift certificates are great for students, teachers, librarians, and others who support dual-language children. Your recipients can choose books in over 50 languages, including Arabic, Chinese, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Haitian-Creole, Italian, Japanese, Nepali, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, Somali, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese and more!

You can select gift certificates in any value, add a special note of thanks, and have them sent via email within one business day!

4 Musical Multicultural Kid Crafts

Music is an wonderful way to introduce kids to different cultures. As Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “Music is the universal language of mankind.” It can evoke emotions that are at the heart of the shared human experience. Here, we offer four musical multicultural kid crafts that celebrate diversity and remind us of what we all have in common. Try them with your little ones at home or school! Continue reading 4 Musical Multicultural Kid Crafts

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! Continue reading Bilingual Summer Reading List

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. Continue reading 5 Multicultural Games for Kids to Try This Summer

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. Continue reading Diverse Gifts for Teacher Appreciation Week & to Celebrate Bilingual Students

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