To continue the celebration of books, today we’d like to share with you a list of ten resourceful books to keep inspiring your bilingual journey. OK, we know just the thought of reading A book these days is a daunting task, much less ten. Don´t panic, this is just a list for you to keep in your personal archive and refer to when you need some extra advice and/or expert encouragement.
We compiled this list through our own reading list, research and recommendations from SpanglishBaby experts. All of these books can be found at, my favorite place, the local library and in La Tiendita.
Top 10 Resource Books for Parents
1. 7 Steps to Raising a Bilingual Child – by Naomi Steiner MD and Susan L. Hayes. The authors explain how the brain learns more than one language, explode common myths, address frequently asked questions, and reveal an array of resources available to families. Packed with insightful anecdotes and powerful strategies, this is a one-of-a-kind guidebook for those seeking to provide their children with a uniquely valuable experience. Naomi Steiner, M.D., is a developmental-behavioral pediatrician at Tufts Medical Center Boston. Dr. Steiner is an expert in the methods that are used to teach children more than one language, and she works closely with many bilingual and multilingual families. She is raising her own two children multilingual and lives in Boston. Susan L. Hayes is a writer and editor whose work has appeared in Parent & Child, Parenting, Woman’s Day, and other publications. She lives in Brooklyn.
2. The Bilingual Family: A Handbook for Parents – by Edith Harding-Esch and Philip Riley. This best-selling book gives parents up-to-date information and advice they need to make informed decisions about what language ‘policy’ to adopt with their children. This new edition also looks at cases of single-parent families with bilingual children, as well as schooling and bi-literacy issues. The authors help parents identify the factors that will influence their decision to bring up their children as bilinguals. The second part consists of case studies of bilingual families, which illustrate a wide range of different ‘solutions’. The third part is an alphabetical reference guide providing answers to the most frequently asked questions about bilingualism. Bringing up bilingual children is a challenge and this book helps parents meet that challenge.
3. Raising Bilingual-Biliterate Children in Monolingual Cultures - by Stephen J. Caldas. This book is a longitudinal case study carefully detailing the French/English bilingual and biliterate development of three children in one family beginning with their births and ending in late adolescence. The book focuses most specifically on the children’s acquisition of French and English during their early through late adolescence, in both their Louisiana and Quebec home environments. Stephen J. Caldas is professor of educational foundations and leadership at the University of Louisiana – Lafayette. His research interests include psycholinguistics, socio/psychometrics, desegregation and the social/political contexts of education.
4. The Bilingual Edge: Why, When, and How to Teach Your Child a Second Language – Kendall King, Ph.D., and Alison Mackey, Ph.D. In The Bilingual Edge, professors and parents King and Mackey wade through the hype and provide clear insights into what actually works. No matter what your language background is—whether you never passed Spanish in high school or you speak Mandarin fluently—King and Mackey will help you: select the language that will give your child the most benefits; find materials and programs that will assist your child in achieving fluency;identify and use your family’s unique traits to maximize learning. King and Mackey are linguistics professors at Georgetown University. Between them, they have written nearly a hundred research articles and books on bilingualism and language teaching methods. Also, they are both parents, teaching their children more than one language.
5. Growing Up with Two Languages: A Practical Guide - by Una Cunningham-Andersson and Staffan Andersson. Growing up with Two Languages is aimed at the many parents and professionals who feel uncertain about the best way to go about helping children in contact with more than one language and culture to gain maximum benefit from the situation.Una Cunningham-Andersson is a Lecturer in English Phonetics at the University of Stockholm and the book’s lead author. Staffan Andersson, her husband, teaches computing and electronics. They are the parents of four children whom they are raising to be bilingual in English and Swedish in Sweden, and they draw on their own experiences throughout the book.
6. Raising a Bilingual Child- by Barbara Zurer Pearson (one of our own experts!) Raising a Bilingual Child is a comprehensive and versatile handbook written with depth and zest. It provides parents with both an overview of why they should raise their children to speak more than one language and detailed steps they can take to integrate two languages into their child’s daily routine. Pearson gives one of the best summaries available of bilingual research, and she successfully explains in down-to-earth language why the studies she discusses are relevant to parents and children in their everyday lives. Barbara Zurer Pearson’s Ph.D. is in Applied Linguistics. She is a Research Associate in Linguistics and Communication Disorders at the University of Massachusetts Amherst, and did much of her ground-breaking work on bilingual acquisition and assessment during the 20 years she was at the University of Miami. Multilingual Living Magazine says, “If you are going to read only one book on multilingualism, we suggest you let it be this one.”
7. Raising Bilingual Children: Parent’s Guide series – by Carey Myles. Written in an accessible, nonacademic style, this resource provides current research and real solutions to everyday problems faced by parents in a bilingual family. This research is used to help children deal with emotional issues and special situations, while helping parents understand language acquisition and cognitive development related to childhood bilingualism, whether by necessity or by choice. Issues addressed include the bilingual brain, school, biliteracy at home, emotional issues, and daily dilemmas. Also addressed are questions and challenges that can arise when raising children bilingually and learning from the experiences and advice of other parents.
8. How I Learned English: 55 Accomplished Latinos Recall Lessons in Language and Life – edited by Tom Miller. All over the world there are people struggling to master the quirks and challenges of English. In today’s America, many millions of them are Latino—and in this eloquent collection, nearly 60 of the best known contribute fascinating, revealing, often touching essays on the very personal process each went through to achieve this common end. Their successes are inspiring. Their pieces, engaging and entertaining all, express the whole range of emotions that learning any new language entails. And of course, every new English-speaker has a tale to tell: an immigrant yearning to assimilate and achieve, or a political exile suddenly far from home and alone, or a child who just wants to fit in. Their fears and triumphs will resonate with everyone who has shared this exasperating, exhilarating experience, whether last year or a lifetime ago. This wonderful, eclectic, inviting collection speaks to—and for—all of them, and goes directly to the heart of the national debate on language and immigration. Tom Miller has been bringing us extraordinary stories of ordinary people for more than thirty years. His acclaimed travel books include The Panama Hat Trail, On the Border, and Trading with the Enemy: A Yankee Travels Through Castro’s Cuba.
9. Growing up Bilingual: Puerto Rican Children in New York - by Ana Celia Zentella. This book provides an inside view of the social construction of bilingualism in one of the largest and most disadvantaged Spanish-speaking groups in the United States. It walks readers through a New York Puerto Rican Community and describes the five varieties of Spanish and English that constitute the community’s bilingual and multi-dialectal repertoire, the four major communication patterns that predominate in the homes of twenty families with children, and the syntactic features and discourse strategies of so-called “Spanglish”. Zentella, an anthro-political linguist, is Professor in the Department of Black and Puerto Rican Studies at Hunter College, and in Anthropology, Linguistics, and Developmental Psychology at the City University of New York Graduate Center.
10. Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism - by Colin Baker. Written in a very reader-friendly style, the book is a practical introduction for parents and teachers to bilingualism. Straightforward and realistic answers are given to a comprehensive set of frequently asked questions about bilingualism and bilingual education. Areas covered include family, language, culture, identity, reading, writing, schooling and issues. Baker is Professor of Education at the University of Wales, Bangor and a Fellow of the British Psychological Society. He has three bilingual children and frequently gives talks to parents and teachers on bilingualism. He is the author of 14 books and over 50 articles on bilingualism and bilingual education, with specific interests in bilingual development and bilingual education. His books include Foundations of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism (4th edition 2006) which has been translated into Japanese, Spanish, Latvian, Greek and Mandarin. He is the Editor of the International Journal of Bilingualism and Bilingual Education.
Have you read any of these books? What do you think about them? Do you have any other suggestions you can share with us?