Category Archives: Holidays

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

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!

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.

Multicultural Children’s Book Day – January 27

multicultural children's books in outline of earthLanguage Lizard is a Proud Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day on January 27th. Let’s work together to get more books that celebrate diversity into our classrooms and libraries! Check out our previous post on 3 reasons why multicultural children’s books are so very important.

Multicultural Book Sets for Pre-K through 5th Grade

25 Favorite Children's Books About DiversityWe offer numerous Multicultural Book Sets that celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures. Check out our new, exclusive collections that feature the best multicultural books for preschoolers and kindergartners, grades 1-3, and grades 3-5. We also have sets that focus on cultural holidays and traditions around the world.

#ReadYourWorld with Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Childrens Book Day banner 2018January 27th of each year is Multicultural Children’s Book Day. It’s a day to “not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.”

Use #ReadYourWorld on social media, and share your love of diverse characters and multicultural stories. It’s an easy way to help get more multicultural children’s books out into the world. Or go to the event’s website and find other ways to support this great cause. While you’re there, don’t forget your Free Classroom Empathy Kit and Diversity Book Lists and Activities for Teachers and Parents!

Comment and share your recommended reading list for Multicultural Children’s Book Day!

Why Multicultural Children’s Books Are So Very Important

child reading a multicultural bookWe’ve written before about the benefits of bilingual books at home and in the classroom. But what about multicultural books, with characters as diverse as our communities are today? There’s a movement to bring attention to the need for more multicultural children’s books, and to bring more of those books into classrooms and libraries. Here are 3 reasons why it’s so important that kids have access to more multicultural books… and how you can help get more diverse books out there.

1. Kids See Themselves in the Pages

Child reading Chinese Cinderella storyStories touch us most when we see ourselves reflected in the characters. Until very recently, the vast majority of characters in children’s books were white, largely because of what’s known as the “publishing diversity gap.” As recently as 2014, only 10% of children’s books featured non-white characters. This, in spite of the fact that by 2020, more than half of American children will identify as a non-white ethnicity.

It can be disheartening for students to read a never-ending stream of stories featuring characters they don’t relate to. Students in diverse classrooms get a boost of self-esteem when they read or hear books in which their cultures or ethnicities are represented and celebrated. It’s a proud moment to see parts of your own life showcased for an attentive audience made up of your classmates.

2. Kids See Life Through Another Person’s Eyes

child reading a diverse book

Kids are inherently self-centered, and they gradually learn empathy in order to have meaningful connections with other people. Researchers believe empathy may be the key to having a joyful life because it leads to better relationships at home, school, and eventually work. It is certainly key to ending behaviors like bullying and cruelty.

The tricky part is this: You can’t really teach empathy like you would teach a kid to ride a bike. It’s something that must be modeled, nurtured, and kindled. Empathy is more than simply understanding another person’s point of view. Even selfish people can do that. (Con men do it particularly well.)

Empathy involves understanding, respecting and placing value on another person’s perspective. These complex feelings require a multi-faceted, immersive experience. Children’s books are a great way to introduce an entirely new point of view, a different way of life, and also address important life topics with our kids.

3. Celebrate a More Realistic, Diverse World

When books are filled with only white characters, it creates a false impression of the world at large. It can create a sense of “otherness,” or Us vs Them. The reality is that we live in diverse communities, and our population is getting more diverse every year.

If we want our children to truly succeed and flourish in their lives, it’s essential that they understand and celebrate diversity. In this Fast Company article on career skills critical for success, being able to motivate a diverse workforce is #1.  A knowledge of other cultures is #2. In fact, almost the entire list consists of communicating effectively with people with other viewpoints, and having an open mind that can quickly adapt to different ways of thinking.

#ReadYourWorld with Multicultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018 bannerJanuary 27th of each year is Multicultural Children’s Book Day.  Its mission is “to not only raise awareness for the kid’s books that celebrate diversity, but to get more of these of books into classrooms and libraries.”

It’s an easy way to help get more multicultural children’s books out into the world. Just use #ReadYourWorld on social media, and share your love of diverse characters and multicultural stories. Participate in their eBook fundraiser, and 100% of the proceeds will be used to gift multicultural books to classroom libraries.

Don’t forget your free Empathy Kit, which includes an immigration and refugee book list, classroom activities, and this colorful poster:

Multicultural Children's Book Day 2018 free poster

Language Lizard is a Proud Sponsor of Multicultural Children’s Book Day. We also offer numerous Multicultural Book Sets that celebrate diversity and teach children about different cultures.

In 2016, Multicultural Children’s Book Day was able to reach 3.6 billion social media shares, and trended at #2 on Twitter. Help them surpass those numbers, and spread the word!

Comment below and tell us about your favorite multicultural book!

Giving Thanks Around the World

Thanksgiving is here! Let’s take a look at the meaning behind this holiday in the US, and what its traditions have in common with celebrations in other parts of the world. And learn to say “thank you” in different languages!

Harvest Celebrations

basket with food itemsThe first Thanksgivings celebrated by the Pilgrims and the Wampanoag Indians were a celebration of a good harvest.

Harvest celebrations are held in every part of the world, throughout the year. For example, Vietnam celebrates the Mid-Autumn Festival, and Israel celebrates the festival of Sukkot. (Check out our post for fun and easy kids crafts that celebrate these harvest celebrations and more.)

Giving Thanks

hands holding "give thanks"Thanksgiving is an opportunity to pause our hectic schedules, and appreciate all that we have to be grateful for.

In the US, we generally express our gratitude with the words “thank you,” with meaningful gifts, and with gestures like hugs and handshakes.

Every language has its own way of saying the words “thank you,” as shown in this colorful thank you poster with 40 different languages (e.g., Gracias, Danke, Salamat, Obrigado, Hvala, Paldies, Diolch, Tack, Gijtto, Falemindert, Asante, Merci).  Each culture has its own unique set of norms for showing gratitude, as well. In India, for example, people only actually say “thank you” to strangers, not loved ones.  And, in the Philippines, the act of giving is given more importance than the actual item being given.

Sharing a Meal with Loved Ones

people sharing a holiday mealThanksgiving’s “main event” is the meal. While the stuffed turkey is the star of the show, just as important are the sides of cranberry sauce, mashed potatoes, pumpkin pie and countless others.

The first Thanksgiving menu in 1621 likely included seafood, like mussels and lobster, and a dish cooked inside a hollowed-out pumpkin.

There are a variety of traditional dishes enjoyed at gatherings in the winter months. In Mexico, tamales are a popular dish. In Japan, people dine on hot Udon soup. Speckknödel (dumplings) is traditional in Germany. See our post for more winter holiday dishes, with links to recipes.

What’s your favorite part of the Thanksgiving holiday? Comment below and share your unique traditions!

“Happy Thanksgiving” by Faith Goble via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8UykdQ

“A holiday feast with my dearest friends, Masako and Satch Takayasu” by Ron Frazier via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/pEzNEZ

Huge Bilingual Books Giveaway for Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

Language Lizard will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year… so you have more chances to win! We are launching our most exciting BILINGUAL BOOK GIVEAWAY on October 1st, 2017, the start of Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month.

Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month

October is an exciting month for language learners because it’s also Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month! Let’s take this opportunity to recognize the many children who speak two or more languages and understand multiple cultures. We can encourage literacy and parental involvement, and celebrate the children who work so hard to learn a new language.

Enter the Language Lizard Bilingual Book Giveaway

We will give away a free “surprise set” of bilingual books to at least one lucky winner every month for a year, so you have many chances to win. Over $1,000 of language materials will be given away! The multicultural children’s books offered in this giveaway will engage and inspire teachers and students in their continued language learning.

How do I enter for a chance to win?

It’s easy! Just fill out the form on our Giveaway Page AND sign up for Language Lizard’s Culture Connection newsletter.*

The sooner you sign up, the more chances you have to win – enter today! For more information and details on the giveaway, visit our Giveaway Page.

What languages will I receive?

Winners will receive bilingual books in one or more of the languages listed on their entry form.

Language Lizard bilingual books are available in English with Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Burmese, Chinese Simplified, Chinese Traditional, Croatian, Czech, Dari, Dutch, Farsi, French, German, Greek, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hebrew, Hindi, Hmong, Hungarian, Irish, Italian, Japanese, Karen (Sgaw), Korean, Kurdish, Latvian, Lithuanian, Malay, Malayalam, Nepali, Norwegian, Panjabi (Punjabi), Pashto/Pashtu, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Scottish-Gaelic, Shona, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Swahili, Swedish, Tagalog, Tamil, Thai, Tigrinya, Turkish, Twi, Urdu, Vietnamese, Welsh, Yiddish and Yoruba.

*Note: Existing newsletter subscribers do not need to resubscribe. Books will be sent to US or Canada addresses only.

Comment below and tell us how you celebrate the outstanding bilingual children in your life!

 

Text and fade added to “2010 10 31 Autumn leaves leave 4” by Mark Strobl via Flickr is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/8PPonW

 

 

World Teacher’s Day Giveaway

World Teachers Day is coming up on October 5. Don’t forget to tell the wonderful teachers in your life how much their hard work is appreciated!

Brief History of World Teachers Day

World Teachers Day was first founded in 1994 by the United Nations to commemorate various intergovernmental recommendations regarding the rights and responsibilities of teachers around the world. These recommendations are guidelines that elevate the status of teaching and promote high quality education.

Enter Our World Teachers Day Giveaway

We’ve teamed up for a K-2 Teacher Giveaway in honor of World Teachers Day. Enter now through October 7, 2017, for a chance to win!

Enter for a chance to win a $100 Visa Gift Card
1. Like this post
2. Comment with your grade level
3. Enter our short Rafflecopter

4. Help us spread the word

How will you celebrate World Teachers Day? Comment below and share!

“Madagascar Teaching” by Frontierofficial is licensed under CC BY 2.0 https://flic.kr/p/dgmzdB

World Refugee Day – Support Those in Need

refugee children using Language Lizard books
Language Lizard bilingual books used in a refugee camp

World Refugee Day is coming up on June 20. Marked in over 100 countries, its goal is to raise awareness and funds to help provide refugees with shelter, food and safety.

There are an estimated 60 million refugees in the world. More than half of them are children.  According to the UN, every minute 24 people become refugees who are fleeing war or persecution.

Refugee children in the US face many challenges when adapting to a new life: culture shock, making friends, and learning a new language are just a few.  There are educational resources out there to help ease the transition for newcomers, as well as for teachers, administrators and other students.

Refugee child reading a Language Lizard multicultural children's book
Refugee child reading a multicultural children’s book

There are a number of organizations that support children living in refugee camps.

We at Language Lizard had the pleasure of working with volunteers at The School Box Project, an organization that provides trauma-informed care to relieve the effects that years of violence and conflict have had on the children emotionally and physically. They run various programs that include fun, physical games, as well as projects that allow children to sit quietly and create beautiful artwork.

In Greece, volunteers used Arabic-English bilingual books in a refugee camp to engage children in creative art and reading sessions with parents and teachers. 

Whether you support a local refugee family, help a newcomer in your school, or donate to a large refugee organization, every act of compassion makes a difference.

Do you have plans to mark World Refugee Day? Comment below and share your experiences.