Raising Billingual Children - BOOKS

If you are a faithful follower or new to the blog, both Kim and I are in LOVE with children's books.  I can't get my hands on enough of them and read them with my kids all the time.  Research shows that these interactions with literature benefit children in SO many ways that I could keep writing for the rest of my life (that will be future posts!)  So if you are raising your children bilingual, you cannot neglect the importance of books in the language you are teaching.  Unfortunately, books in Russian are VERY hard to come by.  In fact, I cannot find any online much less in stores.  When we had our first daughter, I took all the hard baby books and had my husband translate them with a permanent marker. It's not pretty, but it does the trick.  I practiced reading these books until I sounded like a halfway fluent reader of Russian (for those books).  We tried to put it as close to the English writing as possible.  These translations are also not word for word translations that you may get using an online translator, rather a grammatically correct translation that considers the meaning of the author as well.  Then, I read them every day for many, many days with my baby and still re-visit them now that she is 5 and with my 1 year old.  
I started asking my in-laws or friends who came to visit to bring books instead of souvenirs and when my husband or I traveled abroad, we always brought back books. Now I am not talking about Disney stories poorly translated, but truly good literature in Russian! I am just starting to feel good about my collection of Russian books that has now taken almost 6 years to collect. 

Just as I rotate my books in English, I try to rotate my books in Russian. At some point, I tried putting all the Russian books in one collection, but the kids grew tired of this and became less interested in reading and listening to literature in Russian.  Adding them to my rotating theme collection has worked the best for all of us!
-Amanda

4 comments:

  1. Thanks Amanda for reminding me of how important it is to have bilingual books in the home with our little ones. It's so hard to find them so I guess we need to do what you did and write in some of our easily translated books.

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  2. My kids get frustrated when I read them bilingual books - stop, mommy, just read it in English. I make them say it in Spanish and if they do, I switch. Any suggestions for encouraging them?

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  3. You could try kniga.com - they have a decent selection of Russian books. I buy books for my parents from there. I am so impressed with the effort you put into teaching your kids a language that is not your own. I saw a video of your daughter singing with your husband, and she really did a great job!

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  4. Great technique! I have written translations in French into some of Griffin's books and also some of his games.

    Here are some resources for free books for children; surely some of them will be in Russian?

    http://babybilingual.blogspot.com/2010/08/free-books-and-stories-and-fables-and.html

    I've also had minor success in making some of my own books in French:http://babybilingual.blogspot.com/2007/07/carls-newest-french-book.html andhttp://babybilingual.blogspot.com/2011/04/lalphabet-de-griffin.html, for example.

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