I actually say that every time I do a seminar on raising bilingual children. I take my copy, and I show it around, and tell the parents that *this* is the book to buy. So what is so great about this book already (it’s been top of my recommended resources list since I started) and what makes the new edition even better?
The book is for parents and teachers who are bilinguals themselves, for parents and teachers who are monolingual, and for other professionals such as doctors, speech therapists, practicing psychologists, counsellors, and teachers who want to know more. xvii
Really, it is for *everyone* who is interested and needs to know about bilingualism. It isn’t a niche book. It doesn’t speak only to parents or to academics, like so many books. It is accessible enough for the lay-person to find it easy and enjoyable and thorough and research-based enough for the professional to treat the ideas within it with respect. Colin Baker not only knows about bilingualism, he also knows how to talk about it so others can understand it.
One of the great things about this book is the format. It’s a question-and-answer format, divided into themed sections. So if you have a question or concern, you can look it up in the index and be directed to a 1-2 page answer to that specific question. This also makes it easy to share a page or two with a friend, teacher, doctor… who may be giving you poor advice! However, if you want the whole picture, you can get this from reading the sections together as a “chapter”. For example, you can read the whole section on “Language Development Questions” to get a good overview of bilingual language development. Or, you can dip in to just one question, if, for example, you are concerned about whether one person should speak more than one language with your child (B15 – Should my child use two languages with the same person?).
So, whether you use it as a “textbook” or to answer the questions that inevitably crop up on the journey to bilingualism, this book will help you along the way.
The fourth edition has some interesting additions that reflect how the bilingual community is changing. New sections include questions about IT and the Internet, Translanguaging, International Education, Adoption and many others that further refine areas dealing with language input patterns, and areas of difficulty. These additional sections serve to widen the knowledge base presented in the book and respond to new developments in the bilingual child paradigm and new research in the field.
And so, A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism will remain in my top resources list, with the new 4th edition cementing its place as “Most Valuable Book”.
Below is a clickable link (cheer for my technical progress!) to the book on Amazon.
(NB: I was asked to review the book but do not profit in any way financially from either the review or the sales from this link.)