Friday, 9 March 2012

Books Glorious Books

I love books and as I´ve mentioned before, I´d love to pass on my passion for reading to my daughter so I thought I´d take another look at what´s on our bookshelf. We have quite a few of the famous children´s classics in English,such as Dear Zoo,Where´s Spot? (which I actually bought for teaching English purposes!) and Guess How Much I Love You.

Dear Zoo by Rod Campbell is a great book for babies and toddlers as it has many flaps that young children love lifting up or opening, which helps to involve the children in the story. It introduces many animals and has very bright and colourful illustrations to grab children´s interest. With its simplistic text it is also a great book for the ESL classroom.Here are some further reviews on Amazon.

Where´s Spot? by Eric Hill is also a lift-the flap book about a mother dog´s hunt for her puppy,Spot.Again it is beautifully and colourfully illustrated and its simplistic text makes it ideal for the ESL classroom.It also introduces many animals, furniture and prepositions.Here you can read other people´s reviews. My daughter really enjoys these books especially lifting up the flaps, we just have to be careful that she doesn´t rip them!

I haven´t bought many bilingual books so far and at the moment I only have one:

Cinderella/Cenicienta published by Susaeta Ediciones. It is a very thin book with lovely illustrations but is aimed at an older audience than my daughter, probably around 4-5 year olds!The story is very condensed with it being in both languages. Susaeta Ediciones have published quite a few popular fairy tales in their Cuentos Bilingues and they are ok. When I borrowed another of their Cuentos Bilingues(Little Red Riding Hood) from the library, my husband was reading the Spanish tale to my daughter and his verdict was that it wasn´t very well-written.

The final book I´m going to look at isn´t a book that I own but one that I borrowed from the library. There are quite a few books in English at the library in my city,more than I expected to find anyway, although a lot are aimed at Spanish children learning English. The majority of the English books are translations of Spanish books and as we´ve already borrowed most of the "true" English books, I decided to get the following book out " Tento and his tooth"by Ricardo Alcantara, a translation of the Spanish book. At first, everything started off great, lovely illustrations and the story seemed interesting but as I read on, I noticed a number of translation errors (or printing mistakes). For example, Ratoncito Perez was translated as Tooth Mouse instead of the Tooth Fairy and there were also a couple of grammatical errors such as a double past e.g. didn´t wanted etc. I know I can correct the mistakes when I read it aloud to my daughter but if she were to read it herself when she was older,she´d be reading incorrect English and therefore learning it so I´m trying to avoid translated books as much as possible. However, this narrows down the amount of English books available to borrow from the library. If my daughter turns out to be as big a bookworm as her mum, the library won´t have enough English books to keep her going(but they do have loads of Spanish books)!! Although I´m going to buy her plenty of books,I don´t know where I´m going to keep them all!!!

Last but not least, I´ve been doing some more background reading and if you are interested in finding out more info about bringing up children bilingually, then you might find the following article interesting and useful: Ask A Linguist FAQ, which gives two different perspectives about bringing up children bilingually from linguists.


  1. Hi Tracey! I feel like I've been neglecting your blog and so, even though it is late and I should be in bed, I can't resist reading and posting a comment!
    I love books, too :) Is it something that goes hand-in-hand with bilingualism? Seems like most of us in the bilingual blogging community can't help buying "just one more book"!
    So far I've avoided bilingual books (although I don't know that I've encountered too many in English/German). Something in me feels I'd like to keep the languages separate. That being said, we do have a few books in two copies, one each language. (I think just Eric Carle books.)
    As for translations, that is such a shame that you are finding errors!! When I was in Germany in December, I bought a bunch of German books. When I got home and was going through them I was shocked to discover that many were translations of English books! Luckily I haven't noticed any errors. And they're actually quite sweet. I wonder if there's a correlation to publishers - maybe you can discover which ones to avoid and which might be trustworthy?
    Now as for where to put all these books, I'm just grateful to have an Ikea 30 minutes away! :) I have been wondering, though, about "filing" the books. Right now, we have a shelf for Dutch books, one for English, and a basket for German (don't know why it worked out that way) in A's room. We also have a bookcase in his playroom with all English books (he mostly looks at these on his own or with an English-speaking sitter) as well as a shelf of books in the family room - mostly English, I think. We basically have books all over the house :) But does it matter if they are mixed or separate? I separate them in part for the sake of the monolingual sitters (still looking for a German-speaking one....). Maybe I'm making too much of this (I did mention that I should be asleep by now!).

  2. Hi! No problem,I´m also been a bit busy to comment on blogs lately!For now, I might try and avoid bilingual books or like you suggested try to find which publisher´s are trustworthy ones. Great ideas of how to store all the books...I have a limited amount of space! We have books all around our flat too (mainly mine and mainly in English!)We have some shelves with books in our bedroom and where I also keep Chloe´s books for now, a bookcase in the hallway and big bookshelves in the office (that are full!). Chloe´s bedroom is quite small so for now she only has one shelf which her cuddly toys occupy at the mo! can´t wait till we find a house and move!!

  3. I hate it when bilingual books aren't well done!

    Books are so important to me, and I'm glad I can share them with my kids.

    The Spot books are fab for toddlers and also for beginning readers. Just right for my son who has just started reading.