Holidays are a great time for catching up on reading books! You probably have a long list that you would like to enjoy, but in case you are looking for something on bilingual children, I have prepared a list of books from my own library, which I can all warmly recommend. If you can’t find them in your local library, try to order them or visit the nearest university library. If you cannot borrow these books, they are, of course, available to buy.
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1. Bilingual – Life and Reality (by François Grosjean)
A must-read for anyone wanting to understand what it really means to be bilingual. You will learn about different language modes, bilingual thinking and dreaming, what effects bilingualism has on children and much more. Read my review here.
2. The Bilingual Brain (by Arturo E. Hernandez)
Ever wanted to know what really happens in the brain when you speak more than one language? The Bilingual Brain will take you through the early learning process and explain about language proficiency, efficiency and expertise, and much more!
3. A Parents’ and Teachers’ Guide to Bilingualism (by Colin Baker)
The classic of all guide books for raising children to speak more than one language. More than 200 questions and answers on different aspects on the topic of bilingual children: Can I learn a second language along my child? My child mixes their two languages. Is this normal? People make fun of our speaking a minority language. How should I react? Read my review of the book here.
4. An Introduction to Bilingual Development (by Annick De Houwer)
A helpful concise book about the milestones of a bilingual child’s language development from birth to preschool and beyond. A glossary helps with any unknown terms and you can find recommendations for several further books on each stage.
5. Bilingual First Language Acquisition (by Annick De Houwer)
This is a more comprehensive textbook on the intricacies of bringing up children to speak the family languages. Professor De Houwer also presents her extensive research into different family language strategies and how well each approach was found to work.
6. Bilingual Siblings (by Suzanne Barron-Hauwaert)
Do you have questions about having more than one child in your multilingual family? If yes, Bilingual Siblings gives advice on fine-tuning a family language strategy and whether boys and girls develop differently and much more.
7. Language Strategies for Trilingual Families (by Andreas Braun and Tony Cline)
Many families do not stop at two languages but have to juggle three (or more). Adding another language to the mix has its own challenges: Do several languages cause a child to be confused? Who should speak what when parents are bilingual and a third language is spoken in the community? What about cultural identity and language maintenance?
UK Language Strategies for Trilingual Families: Parents’ Perspectives (Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides)
US Language Strategies for Trilingual Families: Parents’ Perspectives (Parents’ and Teachers’ Guides)
8. Growing up with Three Languages and 9. Maintaining Three Languages (by Xiao-lei Wang)
Professor Xiao-lei Wang is an expert in raising trilingual children, not only academically but also trough personal experience, and her books are a treasure trove for those families where three (or more) languages are part of the every day life. Growing up with Three Languages deals with children from birth to eleven years and Maintaining Three Languages concentrates on the teenage years.
10. Learning to Read and Write in the Multilingual Family (by Xiao-lei Wang)
Many parents find teaching their children to read and write the minority language to be a big challenge, and in this book you can find instructions on how to put together your own family’s home teaching and learning plan.
11. Bilingualism in the Early Years: A resourceful guide to theory and best practice (by Stephanie Mathivet)
The percentage of school children who are bilingual is at an all-time high and is increasing. It is important that teachers are prepared and willing to deal with the situation and support the pupil’s home languages while making sure that they develop in all their languages. The book is aimed at teachers, but is great reading for parents who are looking for ideas to discuss with teachers.
UK Bilingualism in the Early Years: A resourceful guide to theory and best practice
US – check this alternative book Supporting Multilingual Learners in the Early Years: Many Languages – Many Children (Essential Guides for Early Years Practitioners)
12. Assessing Multilingual Children (edited by S Armon-Lotem, J de Jong, N Meir)
Still today, all too often bilingualism is being blamed for language delay and language impairment in children who speak more than one language. This is a highly relevant book for any educator or speech and language therapist who deals with bilingual children. Read my review here.
UK Assessing Multilingual Children: Disentangling Bilingualism from Language Impairment (Communication Disorders Across Languages)
US Assessing Multilingual Children: Disentangling Bilingualism from Language Impairment (Communication Disorders Across Languages)
13. Solutions for Assessment of Bilinguals (edited by V C Mueller Gathercole)
Further, in-depth reading about assessing bilingual children – both with regards to their language development and their cognitive and academic skills. This book is also suited mainly for professionals.
14. How Language Works (by David Crystal)
Want to have something a bit lighter, but still in-depth reading about language in general? Pick up David Crystal’s book. Examples of chapter headings: How children learn speech sounds, How we write and spell and How language changes.
15. Bringing up a Bilingual Child (by Yours Truly)
Finally, if you haven’t read it already, I would love to welcome you to read my book Bringing up a Bilingual Child – Navigating the 7 Cs of multilingual parenting: Communication, Confidence, Commitment, Consistency, Creativity, Culture and Celebration.