From “agenda” to “relationship”: an update to my bilingual parenting journey

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(Photo courtesy of Futureatlas.com, Flickr Creative Commons)

Last year I wrote about my then two-year old daughter’s language development in Spanish. My husband, D., a native of Spain, and I are raising our two children bilingually: our family’s language policy is Spanish at home/among us four and English with everyone else.

With the arrival of my daughter E. three years ago, I began my bilingual parenting journey with what some might call a “hard core” approach: use only Spanish with my children, all the time. Never English. No translating. Promote, promote, promote the minority language.

As a trained linguist, I can cite all of the research supporting bilingualism. I recognize the advantages of a family language policy that supports the minority language.

And, while I’ll be the first to raise my hand with an emphatic YES! to the benefits of being bilingual, I have to admit that my initial approach to raising bilingual children rested on nothing less than fear and control.

Constantly running through my mind were thoughts like, One day she’ll realize that English is the majority language and hate Spanish!, or, She’ll probably refuse to speak the minority language to me when she’s older, or, What if she never becomes fluent in Spanish?, or, I will never use one word of English in front of her so that she is never tempted to speak it with me.

Fear and control.

I bought book after book for E. in Spanish, I devoured all the parent “how-to” books on raising bilingual children, I joined Facebook groups, I made sure to FaceTime daily with our relatives in Spain. I even started a blog on bilingual parenting!

Fast forward three years later to today. Continue reading

#ReadYourWorld! (My book review for Multicultural Children’s Book Day)

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This month I’ve had the privilege to participate as a book reviewer in the Multicultural Children’s Book Day. Since I’m the mother of a bilingual toddler, I requested books to review that would be appropriate both for that age and linguistic level. So, the folks over at  Lil’ Libros kindly sent me two fantastic books to check out: Counting with Frida and Lotería: First Words by Patty Rodríguez and Ariana Stein. Lotería introduces young children to basic “first word” vocabulary, while Frida helps them learn their numbers 1-10.

Let me share with you why I think both of these books would make excellent additions to your home library if you’re raising your little ones in both English and Spanish. Continue reading

My interview with bilingual children’s literature author, Elena Bertocco & GIVEAWAY!

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And…I’m back, amig@s!!

Although I normally blog on Tuesdays and Fridays, I was unable to write this past Friday due to an unexpected emergency with a dear friend from El Salvador (all is well now!). Thanks for sticking with me.

Today, I’m excited to introduce you to Elena Bertocco, author of several bilingual Italian/English children’s books. In my conversation with her today she shares a bit about her journey from working in the fashion industry to writing stories about the Broccoli family. She also shares her own adventures in bilingual parenting with her husband and three children Down Under (Australia).

Lastly, she has graciously agreed to participate in a GIVEAWAY of one of her bilingual children’s E-books. So, be sure to participate by clicking on the Rafflecopter link BELOW! The giveaway runs from today until this Friday at 12am., and it’s open to ALL OF MY READERS, NEAR AND FAR!  Continue reading