Category Archives: Libraries

New Bilingual Book Sets – Now in 30 Languages!


bilingual children's book set available in 30 languagesLanguage Lizard is excited to announce that our bilingual book sets are now available in 30 different languages! (All books include English and one other language of your choice.)

Bilingual Book Sets Save You Time and Money

We have hand-selected groups of our most popular books to support language learning and promote literacy initiatives. With just one click, you can even choose between sets of five and ten. Tailored to meet the language needs of teachers and librarians, they make ordering easy and eliminate the work of searching through our site to find the perfect books for your classroom or library. These book sets will save you time and money, and help you choose the most accessible, interesting, and culturally appropriate books for the children you want to reach.

Now Available in 30 Languages!

Bilingual Book Sets are available with English and your choice of the following languages:

Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Bulgarian, Chinese, Czech, Farsi, French, German, Gujarati, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Italian, Japanese, Kurdish, Lithuanian, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Russian, Somali, Spanish, Tagalog, Tamil, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Yoruba.

10-10-10 Book Set Promotion

To celebrate our 10th anniversary, we are offering $10 gift certificates for every 10-book set that you order before May 31, 2015. If you order multiple 10-book sets during this promotion, you can receive multiple gift certificates!

To receive your gift certificate(s), simply order a 10-book bilingual book set by May 31, 2015, AND in the “Order Notes” section of your online order, write “10-10-10” and your email address. If you are mailing or faxing an order, simply write “10-10-10” and your email address on the cover or front page of your order.

All gift certificates will be sent out in the month of June and can be used toward any Language Lizard order within the next year. (Note: certificates will be sent to the email address that you supply.)

The Multicultural Library: Responding to the Needs of Ethnically Diverse Communities

multicultural library with ethnically diverse booksAccording to 2013 Census data, nearly 13% of the US population is now foreign born and about 1 in 5 residents age 5 and older speak a language other than English at home. These figures are expected to increase, and are considerably higher in many areas of the country. Many new immigrants are struggling to learn English while maintaining their connection with their heritage language and country.

Innovative Ways for Libraries to Attract Ethnic Populations

As the United States has become increasingly diverse, more and more librarians are implementing creative strategies to attract and meet the needs of their ethnic patrons. Many libraries have transformed themselves into centers of information and learning for the diverse community. Following is a list of innovative ways librarians are welcoming and attracting their ethnic populations:

  1. Presenting story times in various languages.
  2. Offering newspapers in multiple languages.
  3. Developing a collection of bilingual children’s books for language learners and families trying to teach a heritage language to their children. Patron feedback has been especially positive when librarians set aside a “bilingual book display area” instead of simply including the books in their stacks.
  4. Sponsoring/hosting English as a Second Language (ESL) classes or creating “literacy centers” to help adults learn English.
  5. Offering special programs, such as citizenship classes or cultural programs that highlight important ethnic holidays (e.g., Chinese New Year, El Día de los Niños).
  6. Displaying colorful multilingual posters, and putting up signs in multiple languages.
  7. Carrying books that promote an acceptance of diversity, have multicultural themes and include illustrations of ethnically diverse characters.
  8. Accepting alternative forms of identification (such as a Matricula Consular from Mexico) and address verifications (such as utility bills and rent receipts) in order to increase access to the library. REFORMA, a national network of library organizations dedicated to promoting library services to the Spanish-speaking communities, suggests that this will help ensure that libraries serve the community regardless of a patron’s legal status.
  9. Hiring staff that speaks the language(s) of the immigrant communities (another recommendation by REFORMA).

Starting Your Multicultural Library

For librarians just beginning to develop their programs and collections for ethnic patrons and language learners, here are a few recommendations to get started:

  • Look up census data to determine which languages your library should support. The Modern Language Association offers a Language Map where users can find the number of speakers of each foreign language by zip code, city, county or state. The information also is available directly from The US Census Bureau.
  • Conduct an informal (or formal) survey of patrons to find out which newspapers they would read and which language books are most in demand.
  • Start with a small collection of children’s books and display them in a bilingual or foreign language book area. This will stimulate interest, and drive more patrons to share their own needs. It also will provide an opportunity to assess which books are checked out most.
  • Post multilingual posters and/or signs to welcome all patrons.
  • Ask around to see if there is a volunteer parent, board member or teacher who would be willing to conduct a bilingual or non-English story time.

Ethnic patrons truly appreciate when libraries increase their language holdings and offer services and programs to meet the needs of non-native-English speakers. Small, gradual steps to move forward in this area are met with great response, and establish libraries as true centers of learning for the entire community.

Tell us about an outstanding multicultural library in your neighborhood by commenting below!

This article originally appeared in Language Lizard’s Culture Connection Newsletter.  To receive this newsletter, please sign up here.

Photo “New Public Library In Dun Laoghaire, Officially Called DLR Lexicon Opened To The Public Today And It Is Worth Visiting Ref-100534” by William Murphy via Flickr, licensed under CC By 2.0.

Giveaway & New Site to Celebrate Our 10th Anniversary!

language lizard new website

We are very pleased to announce the launch of our newly designed website! Just in time for our 10th anniversary, the new site is designed with a fresh new look, user-friendly navigation, and a variety of features to help educators, parents and librarians support their language learners.

Finding the Right Bilingual Products Has Never Been Easier!

Language Lizard still offers the high quality, beautifully illustrated, professionally translated books and posters you know and love. Our new website design features faster, easier navigation, whether you’re searching for a particular product, or want to make use of our many free resources. You can search by language, reading level, product type, or title. While you’re there, be sure to check out our new video, featured on the homepage, to learn about all the ways we can support you!

New Website Giveaway

To celebrate our 10th anniversary and our newly designed website, we are holding a special giveaway! Just send us your thoughts, opinions and suggestions for our new site via the Contact Us form, and you will be entered to win a Language Lizard gift certificate. The lucky grand prize winner will receive a $50 gift certificate, and 3 runners-up will each win a $25 gift certificate! All entries must be received by May 15, 2015. No purchase necessary.

Celebrate “World Folk Tales & Fables Week” in the Classroom and at Home

IMG_3201This year, World Folk Tales and Fables Week is from March 16 through March 22. It’s a week dedicated to encouraging children and adults to explore the lessons and cultural background of folk tales, fables, myths and legends from around the world.

Reading folk tales is a great way for children to explore different cultures and enhance literacy skills. Learn more about why kids love folk tales and fables in a previous blog post that discusses why folk tales are such a great teaching tool for kids.

A folk tale is any story that has been passed down through generations by a group of people. A fable, one type of folk tale, is a short story that teaches a lesson, often features talking animals, and is directed particularly at children. The most well known creator of fables is Aesop, a Greek slave believed to have lived around 560 BC. Some of his most popular fables are “The Tortoise and the Hare,”  “The Goose that Laid the Golden Egg,” and “The Lion and the Mouse.” There are also more modern-day fables, like Dr. Seuss‘s The Lorax.

Resources for Teachers & Parents

If you’d like to introduce your class or family to folk tales, but aren’t sure where to begin, Language Lizard offers a series of blog posts dedicated to international folk tale characters. There, you can get an overview of characters from around the world, like the Monkey King from China, and Finn McCool of Ireland.


One of our favorite stories, the Bengali folk tale Buri and the Marrow, is used in the lesson plan entitled “Language, Customs, Culture in India,” which can be downloaded at no cost from our website. Don’t hesitate to use any of our lesson plans to help you explore different cultures and folk tales with your students.

Or try another great folk tale, Yeh-Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella. This Chinese version of Cinderella is similar to, yet delightfully different from, the more recognized European or Disney interpretations of the story. Children will be inspired by Yeh-Hsien, a strong character who takes her destiny into her own hands.


We also offer the Myths and Legends collection (Pandora’s Box, Isis and Osiris, Beowulf, The Children of Lir), which can be a good starting point for older children to explore various cultures and classic stories.

We hope you have an exciting World Folk Tales and Fables Week, exploring new characters, adventures and cultures from far away lands!

Get 10% off two entertaining world folk tales – Buri and the Marrow and Yeh-Hsien: A Chinese Cinderella – by entering Coupon Code FOLKTALE2015 at checkout! This discount is valid now through March 31, 2015.

Comment below and share with us your favorite folk tales and fables!

Helping Children of Different Languages Communicate, Learn & Play – ‘New Words, New Friends’ by Karen Nemeth



New Words, New Friends
Written by Karen Nemeth
Illustrated by Diego Jiménez Manzano
Paperback and ebook
Available in English and Spanish
Ages 4-8
Review by Sue Kwon

Theo and Wyatt, two friends at school, are at the center of New Words, New Friends, the latest children’s book from Karen Nemeth, a national expert on early education and advocate for dual-language learners. Theo and Wyatt play just fine together, until their paths cross with that of the New Kid. “The New Kid got the ball and bounced it away. ‘Hey, You!’ cried the boys, ‘we need the ball to play!'” As we know, there is no greater offense for young children.

Little ones can sometimes get upset when reading about or seeing an emotionally charged situation like this. Yet Nemeth narrates this story with a sweet, uplifting rhyming style that allows kids to understand the important aspects of the plot without prodding any negative emotions. The lines are kept brief and concise – something adults will appreciate when kids ask to hear the book again and again. (And with this one, they will.)

The story’s characters, brought to life by Spanish illustrator Diego Jiménez Manzano, are drawn in a bold, playful, childlike style. The characters have round faces and big, bright eyes that are sure to please young readers. Jiménez Manzano also takes the time to fill each page’s background with small, colorful details, so there will be something new for kids to find on multiple readings.

In the story, Theo and Wyatt are lucky to have a knowledgeable, nurturing teacher who takes the time to explain why the New Kid behaves the way she does: She speaks another language, and didn’t understand what they were saying to her. The teacher tells them, “‘When a friend speaks a language that’s different than you, these are three things you can easily do.'” Thanks to her thoughtful guidance, a brand new friendship is able to grow between Theo, Wyatt and the New Kid, who we find out is named Violet. This story is about the importance of kindness and empathy when interacting with people from different backgrounds.

While New Words, New Friends is a book that kids will love reading, Nemeth also intends it to be “a storybook resource for teachers, librarians and parents.” The end of the book features Discussion Questions to help adults get their kids thinking and talking about the important lessons in the story. This book is meant to be a guide for adults who are helping little ones navigate the tricky yet essential journey of learning social and communication skills. “New Words, New Friends” delves into these important tasks, and presents it in a fun way, for both adults and children.

New Words, New Friends is available in English and Spanish, in paperback and ebook on

Be sure to check out, Karen Nemeth’s website that offers a wealth of resources for anyone who teaches young children who speak different languages.

Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month – $100 Grant Available!

photo credit: Katherine Dykstra
October is “Celebrating the Bilingual Child Month”!
To help you celebrate, Language Lizard is offering a $100 Gift Certificate for Bilingual Children’s Books!
Books are available in over 40 languages and it’s easy to enter. Simply go to submit the form for entry.  And don’t forget to let your favorite teachers and local librarians know about the giveaway!
If you’re looking for other ways to celebrate this month, read 10 great ideas in our blog post: Celebrate the Bilingual Child Month!

Your Bilingual Staycation Starts Here!

This summer, are you looking for a vacation that’s easy, cheap, environmentally friendly, relaxing, educational and fun no matter what the weather? 

Give up the hours you’d normally spend trawling the internet looking for the perfect spot and instead opt for a Bilingual Staycation!  You’ll be able to spend these sweltering months bonding with your child and learning more than you ever would poolside at a resort.

To take a staycation, you simply need to stay put and enjoy your hometown and its surroundings rather than jetting off to an exotic locale. 

If you want to make your staycation this summer extra special, then a bilingual element is all you need, and Language Lizard has plenty of ideas to help you with your first one.

First things first: choose a country in which to take your bilingual staycation.  Why not pick a nation that means something to your family?  Maybe you have Irish heritage, or great-grandparents from Russia, or you spent a year teaching in China.  And if you’re still stuck for ideas, you could go for a country which is heavily represented in your child’s school.  Think how much better their understanding of their classmates will be once they’ve delved into their cultures!

Once you’ve chosen your special country, your first stop will be your local library. Ahhh – it’s air conditioned!  And of course, it’s a treasure trove of books you can use for an authentic bilingual staycation.  Children’s books from your country’s culture will provide a wealth of colorful images and insight into its values and beliefs, not to mention its well-known characters and stories.  Pick up a travel guide from a publisher such as Lonely Planet or Rough Guide and linger over all of the tourist attractions without the crowds and lines.  Longer novels set in the place you’ve chosen can even help you continue your journey during a special parent-child reading time on a hot afternoon, or long after the children have gone to bed.

Your library may also stock subtitled films: perfect for when the weather isn’t co-operating.  You may automatically picture foreign films as serious business, but check out this list of family-friendly flicks you can all curl up with on a rainy day and still manage to immerse yourself in the culture of your bilingual staycation.

Of course, it’s very likely that you’ll get some beautiful sunny days and will want nothing more than to play outside.  You don’t have to scrap the bilingual element of your holiday in order to enjoy the weather!  Find out what games are popular or traditional in the country you’ve chosen and try them out.  If you’ve gone south of the border, soccer is an obvious (and fun!) choice.  Did you decide to go Down Under? This website has a wealth of information on the games that indigenous Australians play.  Or did you travel east?  Take some time on this site about the traditional games of Asia. No matter what country you’ve chosen, you’re sure to have fun, learn about a new culture, and get some exercise to boot.

One way to add an extra element of bonding to your staycation is for you and your child to explore a new language together.  It doesn’t need to be an intimidating prospect: just a few words and phrases can give you real insight into a culture.  To get you started, check out our main website for a generous selection of bilingual children’s stories.  Our books have English and your chosen language printed on the same page to help you make connections between familiar and new words, and they’re available in over 40 different languages. 

Similarly, songs will help you continue your exploration of culture.  Youtube and iTunes can help you tap into everything from your chosen country’s national anthem to its nursery rhymes to its most recent number one hits.  Pick your song and watch the clip until you’ve got some of the words down – some will even have the lyrics flashing on the screen – and before you know it you and your child will have a fun tune that you can share together to celebrate your cultural adventure.

There are few better ways of capturing the imagination than  through the stomach.  Get your family excited (and hungry!) by searching the phrase “traditional recipes” with the name of your chosen country.  Most supermarkets these days carry a wide variety of authentic ingredients, and plenty of cultural recipes can be made with familiar products that are just prepared in different ways and in different combinations, like the Jamaican rice and peas, for instance.  Websites like Pinterest can give you a good idea of what the recipe you’ve chosen should look like at the end. has lots of different versions posted of famous dishes.  With just a little extra effort in the kitchen, you can bring the flavors and scents of your chosen country to your very own dinner table.

If you want to do things on a slightly bigger scale and you’re lucky enough to live in a big city, you could continue your virtual journey by visiting a museum to seek art and artifacts from the culture you’ve picked.  Many important National Days (like Sweden’s, on the 6th of June, or the Peruvian Independence celebration from July 28-29th) take place during the summer and if you have a local population from that country you could take part in their community celebrations. 

There are so many different ways to have the ultimate bilingual staycation without breaking the bank or leaving town.  Of course, you might decide you do want to hop on a plane and visit your chosen country at some point, and if so, these ideas will have really helped to prepare you for your trip!  Hopefully, they will also have provided you with an enriching, exciting summer vacation right on your own doorstep.

Smile! You’re about to get a Free Book!

With spring finally here, it’s hard not to SMILE! And did you know that NATIONAL SMILE POWER DAY is just around the corner on June 15th, 2014? (Yes, this is also Father’s Day… another reason to smile!)

With this in mind, we’ve decided to GIVE AWAY our favorite bilingual book about SMILING: Augustus and His Smile. This award-winning book – available in over 20 languages* – teaches children that happiness can be found all around and within us (see review at the bottom of this page for more details about the book).

How can you get a free bilingual copy of this book?

There are two ways you can receive a free copy of “Augustus and His Smile”: either make a purchase of $150 or more via our website; or enter our lottery to win the book (3 lucky winners will be chosen)! Here’s what you need to do (by June 15, 2014):

Option 1) Place an order of $150 or more on our Language Lizard website between today and June 15, 2014, and we will add a FREE copy of the book to your order! To be eligible, you must write the word SMILE in the order notes (also write the language edition* that you would like). Note: this giveaway cannot be applied to orders already placed. Product total must be $150 or more (excludes shipping/handling).

Option 2) Enter our GIVEAWAY. THREE Winners will be chosen at random to win a copy of the book (your choice of language edition). Fill out our contact form in full by June 15, 2014. In the Questions/Comments section, write “SMILE GIVEAWAY” and include the language edition* that you would like. Note: we never share your contact information, we use it solely to notify you and send you the prize if your name is chosen.

–> Want an extra giveaway point? Simply write a comment on one of our other blog posts or post about the giveaway on Facebook or Twitter. Let us know that you have posted when submitting your contact form and you will be entered twice!
And be sure to subscribe to our Culture Connection Newsletter to be notified of future giveaways and special promotions!

*This bilingual book is available in English and you can select one of the following language editions: Albanian, Arabic, Bengali, Chinese Simplified, Czech, Farsi, French, Haitian Creole, Hindi, Irish, Panjabi, Polish, Portuguese, Romanian, Slovakian, Somali, Spanish, Turkish, Urdu, Vietnamese, and Welsh.

Details: Winner will be selected using‘s sequence generator. Winner must include ship-to address in order to be included in drawing. Only new orders placed and contact forms received between May 20 and June 15, 2014 will be eligible for the book giveaway. The offer is only for shipments to the US and Canada. For more details, please see our giveaway page at


“Augustus the tiger was sad. He had lost his smile.” So begins an epic quest as Augustus searches for his lost smile. His search takes him under bushes, up to the treetops, and to the crests of the highest mountains. He finds a beetle, chirping birds, and swirling snow clouds, but no smile.

As his journey progresses, however, Augustus’ expression gradually begins to change. His pleasure becomes evident as he swims in the oceans and “splishes and splashes with shoals of tiny, shiny fish.” His long tail also begins arching in a smile to match the one on his face. Suddenly he is prancing and parading in a desert, dancing and racing in raindrops, and splashing through puddles. Then he finds it – in the reflection of a “huge silver-blue puddle” – his smile!

Augustus comes to realize that he carries his smile with him, “whenever he (is) happy”. His journey teaches him that he only has to do the things that please him, like swim or dance or look around him at the world “for happiness (is) everywhere around him.”

For Augustus and his Smile, award-winning author and illustrator Catherine Rayner spent hours observing and sketching tigers at the Edinburgh Zoo. Her talent and attention to detail are evident as we watch this boldly-drawn tiger move through his various poses. Children will appreciate both this story’s message as well as the illustrations of Augustus.

The last page of the book lists some “amazing tiger facts” and notes their endangered status.
(Review by Maureen Barlow Pugh)


International Folktale Character: Mamy Wata



Woohoo!  It’s almost summer!  Let’s go SWIMMING! Did you bring your bathing suit?  Oh yeah…um…I totally left it at home…plus you know, I ate less than half an hour ago…I don’t want to get a cramp…

You’re looking decidedly shifty. What’s the real reason you don’t want to go swimming?  Ok, to be honest, it’s because I’ve been doing some reading up on popular African deity Mamy Wata.

Who?  Mamy Wata, which means “Mother Water”.  She’s a water entity worshipped by many people in West, Central and Southern Africa and in the African diaspora around the world.  She’s known for her powers of divination and clairvoyance, and her seductive but protective nature. She also goes by Mamadjo, Maman de l’Eau, La Sirene, Yemanya, Yemoja…I could go on…

What does she look like?  She’s a serpent priestess or mermaid with long, curly black hair who often carries a mirror, comb, or watch.  She can also appear fully human and stroll through the streets and markets.

Why should all this stop you from swimming?  Well, she could abduct me.  She’s very into abducting both her followers and random people while they’re swimming or boating.

Why would she do that?  She would bring me to her realm in the spirit world underwater.  When I returned I’d be completely dried off and I’d have new spiritual understanding.  I might even grow wealthier, more attractive, and more easy-going.

You know what, that doesn’t sound so bad.  Yeah, I guess not!  But she might also haunt my dreams and demand my everlasting faithfulness to her.  Like water itself, she is both good (she can protect you and cure you from your illnesses) and bad (she can be dangerous and cause illness too).  She generally wants her followers to be healthy and well-off but is also associated with fatally strong undertows.

Sounds like I should make sure I keep her happy if I happen to meet up with her.  What kind of gift would she like?  Having emerged and gained popularity during a time of great trade and wealth for Africa, Mamy Wata loves her trinkets and baubles.  She is a real capitalist deity and adores anything shiny, expensive, and modern.  She’ll also happily accept perfume, alcohol, delicious food, Coca Cola, and anything with a designer label.  Her largely matriarchal priesthood and her initiates worship her by dancing feverishly until they fall into a trance, so she might appreciate it if you try your hand at that too. 

I haven’t seen you dancing yourself into another state of being lately.  How did you hear about her?  Her legends were brought to America by slaves.  In fact, her worship was recorded (and outlawed) by Dutch slavers in the 18th century.  But she must surely have seemed to retain her power as the slaves fought back swamp waters on New World plantations. 

Anything else I need to know before I strap on my goggles and flippers?  Just make sure you’re keeping your eyes peeled for her at all times; in southern Africa people believe she can fly around in a tornado, so keeping dry won’t necessarily save you!


Don’t say: Are you a manatee or a mermaid?

Do say: Where can I read more? 

Language Lizard carries Mamy Wata and the Monster in many popular languages.


Our Personal Shoppers are at Your Service!

We are pleased to announce that Language Lizard is now offering a complimentary Personal Shopper Service to simplify ordering of bilingual books, multilingual posters, and teacher resources.
You gave us your feedback, and we heard you!  Many of you are trying to support language learners but don’t have the time to look through our site to select specific titles. Now you can make your life easier by working with one of our Personal Shoppers, who will listen to your requirements, find the right products, and place a “pre-order” for your review. You can make any changes you wish before you approve or submit to a purchasing department as part of an official school/library purchase order.
To find out more about this service or to contact a Personal Shopper, please visit the Personal Shopper page on our website:

As a reminder, we continue to offer Language Book Sets in specific languages to simplify ordering as well.