October is the Bilingual Child Month! We wanted to give you an overview of some truly helpful, inspiring or eye-opening books on bilingualism. Whether you are just starting out on your bilingual journey or your children are already older and you want to keep the home language alive - these books will help you with general strategies and remedies. They offer stories and cases of people who succeeded in raising truly bilingual kids (and why) and also give you some insight into the findings from research. Even if you don't aim to raise your kids to be hundred percent fluent in speaking, reading and writing, it is worthwhile to get some ideas how to make speaking German at home no big deal and fun. After all, we all can use some help!
BILINGUAL. LIFE AND REALITY
Francois Grosjean is one of the leading experts and scientists on bilingualism. He also grew up to be bilingual, raised his children in two languages and has taught and researched at universities in France, the USA, Switzerland and at Cambridge (hence in French and English). He therefore understands only too well, what it means to be bilingual, what the pitfalls are when raising bilingual children and can present the research on the topic like no other. He offers a definition of what a bilingual is, corrects many misconceptions and explains the often overlooked aspect of biculturalism of some (though not all) bilinguals. A truly inspiring read, written in an engaging anecdotal manner.
ZWEISPRACHIG AUFWACHSEN. Herausforderung und Chance für Kinder, Eltern und Erzieher
If you are looking for a book in German that provides an overview of the latest research, this book is your best choice. It offers many case studies as well as scientific surveys on early bilingualism starting with babies, preschoolers as well as on school kids and teenagers. Barbara Abedelilah Bauer has been working in the field for three decades as a researcher, consulter for families and educator for professionals in bilingualism (and is, as so many in the field, bilingual herself). Overall, this is a book for the more theoretically inclined. It is also available in French and Spanish (Le Defi des Enfants Bilingues.)
A PARENTS' AND TEACHERS' GUIDE TO BILINGUALISM
This is a very useful reference book. It is organized in 114 questions that frequently come up, such as "What are the advantages of my child becoming bilingual?" - "What if the grandparents disapprove?" "My child mixes languages, is this normal?" as well as addressing stuttering, schools, or the child refusing to speak the second language... and gives the answers based on latest findings in research, gives tipps and further reading on the particular topic. If you don't have the time or interest to read in depth on bilingualism, but want to just have go-to book to look into when you have a concern, this book is invaluable.
BRINGING UP A BILINGUAL CHILD
Most of us really just want to know: what can we do so not to fail raising a bilingual child? Rita Rosenback's books is truly helpful for anybody with bilingual or even multilingual children. She herself raised her children to be multilingual - and can tell you how to handle the bilingual journey when major changes like a divorce or a move to a country with one more language come up, she has experienced it all herself. She offers tons of suggestions and strategies, from her own experience as well as a consultant to bilingual families. (www.multilingualparenting.com)
MAXIMIZE YOUR CHILD'S BILINGUAL ABILITY
Adam Beck runs one of the most successful blogs on raising bilingual kids called Bilingual Monkeys (www.bilingualmonkeys.com). He is an English language teacher in Japan and father of two kids. He had rather ambitious plans for his children. He wanted them to speak and write English on a native like level, while facing rather difficult conditions to start with. Playdates and regular visits to the US were no option and he could only spend limited time with his children. In this book he shares the strategies he found, based on research, to have truly bilingual, biliterate children, despite all odds. One major take away: reading (and writing) can make a huge difference.