When children’s books author Laura Caputo-Wickham asked me to review her newest book, I got really exited. You see, this book was written for bilingual children! And as you probably know, I’m raising my kids bilingually ( you can read about it here and here).
And even though here where we live ( Montreal, Canada) there are many bilingual families, sometimes we’re still attracting attention. And that makes me wonder, how my growing daughter feels about the fact, that she is a bit different. A friend told me recently that even though Lili’s vocabulary is pretty developed, she speaks in French with a bit of hesitation. And I never noticed that in a language that we speak together. So it made me think about my daughters perception of bilingualism. Is it positive? Does she see the difference between her and some of her friends as a disturbing one, or rather as an advantage?
And so, when the author of A Fish in Foreign Waters has approached me, I was really happy to see that this book addresses exactly the same issues: the differences between a bilingual kid and the peers, the feelings about belonging (or not) to the group, the family members being different (talking differently) then other people.
So we snuggled and read it aloud. Of course I had to translate it in-to our language (which is Polish) and that’s a bit of a pity, because the rhymes are really lovely. ( don’t you miss the rhymes in children’s books? There’s almost no contemporary books with nice rhymes anymore!) And even though I’m a pretty good translator, and I tried my best, it is better in original ( Laura, you rock!)
But Lili did love it. She loved the illustrations: the cute and whimsical fish family with a pet-crab, the detailed coral town, the colorful undersea party. And she loved the fact that Rosie Ray is just like her. Bilingual.
Then she wanted her dad to read it with her. They speak together in French, so he translated it in to French.And again, the lovely rhymes have suffered a bit, bit the story stayed the same.
Then, just for fun we read it in English, as it’s written. Did I already mentioned that the rhymes are so pretty? And the melody and the rhythm of the repetition makes it a perfect bed time story too!
So now the A Fish in Foreign Waters became her new favorite book. The one that she takes with her to the patio to read while we snack, and that she wants to read while snuggled in bed with me.
She even decided that it’s time to explain to her little sister that being bilingual is fun ( and lets be honest here, Rose just starts talking, so that conversation could wait a little!).
They sit together on her bed, while Lili “reads” aloud ( I know, too cute!)and my heart melts.. (only to fight 3 minutes later over who’ll hold the book..)
And I loved the lesson that it teaches them, that : “doubling the languages doubles the friends!”
This book is a really valuable tool for parents. It’s a great conversation starter. We talked about the different languages that we speak, and how fun is it that we do have more friends because of that. We listed all the families that we know that speak in more than one language at home. We talked about how we may like different food because of the different language that we speak ( therefore the different culture that we’re from) and how it’s ok.Even if you don't raise your kids bilingually, this book is great to teach them empathy… Click To Tweet
I also think that even if you don’t raise your kid bilingually, this book is a great way to teach empathy to your child. It’s a great way to teach them about kids who have just moved in from a different country, and how they may feel lonely or sad. And how just by being a friend at school they can help.
And I’m sure that bilingual or not, any kid will enjoy this charming story.
You can also get it on Amazon ( just click on the picture) :
Disclosure: I received this product free for review. All opinions remain my own.