Recently, I realized that we haven’t updated our list of recommended reference books for parents raising bilingual children in more than two years. Unlike other parenting topics, books on bilingualism do not abound. So, whenever a book in this subject comes out, we try to get our hands on it both for our own research and to share it with all of you.
Last time we wrote about this subject matter, I gave you a list of 10 books I recommended. This time around, there’s only five. I haven’t read all of them, but I figured I’d include the last two because they’re written by highly respected experts in the field of bilingualism. Around this time next year, as we recently announced, we’ll be so honored to be able to add our own book to the list of recommended reading for parents raising bilingual kids.
1) Bilingual: Life and Reality Francois Grosjean – Professor Grosjean is no stranger to bilingualism. Not only is he one (English/French), but he has basically dedicated his career to this topic and his expertise includes code-switching and borrowing – two of my favorite areas when it comes to bilingualism. He’s written two other books, Life with Two Languages and Studying Bilinguals. I’ve only read this last one which came out last year. I devoured it as soon as I got my hands on it because I was able to relate to so many of the things he wrote about. His blog, Life as a Bilingual, which I’ve linked to many times on our Facebook fan page, is an extension of his book and all his work. Highly recommended!
2) Consigue que tu hijo sea bilingüe by Barbara Zurer Pearson – The Spanish translation of Raising a Bilingual Child, written by our very own expert and translated and published by Bilingual Readers – who will publish our own book in the Fall 2012, this was like our bible when we first started trying to figure out how to raise bilingual children. Pearson definitely knows this subject well and now that it is available in Spanish, more parents can take advantage of her knowledge. If you’re raising bilingual children, you need to read this book.
3) Bilingual by Choice by Virginie Raguenaud – This is another great book to read if you’re raising children with more than one language. It is extremely easy to read and has tons of useful resources including activities and techniques for making sure your children stay bilingual. I particularly enjoyed the uncommon ideas she shares for exposing your bilingual children to the minority language. Raguenaud is bilingual and is raising bilingual (English/French) twins.
4) Multilinguals are …? by Madalena Cruz-Ferreira – While I haven’t read this book yet, it’s definitely on my must-read list because it deals with myths, paradoxes and misconceptions about multilingualism, which, as we all know, are so prevalent, especially in this country. I strongly believe that if we’re able to eradicate all the unfounded beliefs surrounding bilingualism, lots of things will change in this country when it comes to raising children with more than one language. You can find additional information about Cruz-Ferreira’s latest book, as well as several reviews, on her blog, Being Multilingual.
5) Bilingual Siblings: Language Use in Families by Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert. This one I haven’t read either, but I have read several articles written by Barron-Hauwaert and I remember actually getting in touch with her when I was researching the topic of raising a second child when I was pregnant with Santiago. At the time, she was working on this book and I’ve really been waiting for it to be ready because this is another one of those bilingualism topics which interest me for obvious reasons. I’ve often wonder if English will be the common language between Vanessa and Santiago as they get older because they currently speak in Spanish. Barron-Hauwaert is not only a researcher, but also the mother of three bilingual children. Should be interesting!
Do you have any recommendations for the rest of us? We’d love to add them to our list, so please share in the comments below or add a link to our guide below.