“A” is for airplane. But “V” is for vliegtuig… the beauty of bilingual resources from Diglot Books

The question of reading – who reads what and in what language? is a common one in bilingual families. Should each parent only read books in their own language? Is it okay to read books in the other language? What if your accent is terrible? What if you only want to read in *your* language but your tantruming toddler wants the favourite book in the other language?
My standard advice is that you can “read” a book in any language you want, especially kids’ books which are not, let’s face it, very challenging in terms of vocabulary and content. So, I can read an English book to my kids in French, and my husband can read a French book in English. It sounds simple, doesn’t it?
Of course, nothing in life is always that simple. And that realization led to a great idea. In 2010 two friends, Alison O’Dornan and Wilma vanRiel were having coffee and chatting and Wilma brought up and issue she was having with her daughter and books. Sophie was being raised with two languages, Dutch and English. And she was finding alphabet books confusing, because words do not always start with the same letter in both languages. This led Wilma to the idea of writing an English/Dutch bilingual alphabet book with only words that work in both languages. From this idea, Diglot Books was born.
These books are fantastic resources for bilingual families. Not only is it easier for children to manage one alphabet, but it also demonstrates to them bilingualism in action – you can read in two languages, and you can use both to say the *same* things. Some of the books are available digitally and some in print version, and the selection of books varies by language pair. Right now they have resources available in Dutch, Italian, French, Spanish, Portuguese, Welsh and Cornish, all paired with English.

You can browse the store or find out more at Diglot Books

Author’s Note: This is not a sponsored post. I am blogging about Diglot Books because I believe they are a great resource for bilingual families, and I am not getting any compensation, either monetary or other, for this post!

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5 thoughts on ““A” is for airplane. But “V” is for vliegtuig… the beauty of bilingual resources from Diglot Books

  1. We tend to just grab whatever book, and read it in the language that we speak to our son. Luckily, the content is still simple so we can improvise. We actually bought a fun book in Italian on our vacation and it’s no problem when the visual effects and pictures are more prominent than the words. I’m interested to find out if there’s a solution for older children and more complicated stories.

  2. So far we just grab whatever book is within reach and improvise. We’ve actually bought a book in Italian on vacation and it’s no problem, since the visuals are more prominent than words. Interested to find out what happens with older kids that will focus more on the words/stories.

  3. Hello Eowyn,

    I got your reference from Simone Davies. I and my 3 yr old daughter attend the mother-toddler class in her Montessori.

    I have a few concerns regarding the introduction of English language to my daughter. Since birth, she has been spoken to in my mother tongue, Marathi (one of the languages spoken in India). She has been exposed to English but only by the means of books and rhymes. She has never been spoken to in English. She knows quite a few words (mostly nouns and verbs) in English, but I don’t think she can make much sense of the sentences. She has recently started being quite fluent in Marathi. Now if I suddenly start speaking to her in English, will that freak her out? Will she get confused between the two languages? Will she forget Marathi? How should I go about introducing English to her? Should I follow a specific routine?

    Why I want her to learn English is because all schools in India want children who can understand if not converse in English. So could you please guide me with this?

    Thanks a lot!

    Pallavi Pande

  4. Hello Eowyn,

    I got your reference from Simone Davies. I and my 3 yr old daughter attend the mother-toddler class in her Montessori.

    I have a few concerns regarding the introduction of English language to my daughter. Since birth, she has been spoken to in my mother tongue, Marathi (one of the languages spoken in India). She has been exposed to English but only by the means of books and rhymes. She has never been spoken to in English. She knows quite a few words (mostly nouns and verbs) in English, but I don’t think she can make much sense of the sentences. She has recently started being quite fluent in Marathi. Now if I suddenly start speaking to her in English, will that freak her out? Will she get confused between the two languages? Will she forget Marathi? How should I go about introducing English to her? Should I follow a specific routine? Why I want her to learn English is because all schools in India want children who can understand if not converse in English. So could you please guide me with this?

    Thanks a lot!
    Pallavi Pande

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