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!