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Reading with baby on Fathers’ Day

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Fathers' Day

Despite being only fourteen months old, our son is already showing an interest in books. Sometimes this involves pulling them off shelves rather than actually reading them, but I still see such acts as small steps on the pathway towards literacy. Before he could walk, one of our son’s favourite activities seemed to be crawling into our spare room and trying to empty the entire contents of a set of bookshelves onto the floor.

He also tried a similar trick on a visit to a library event for toddlers and little kids at which I energetically tried to pick up books as soon as he’d thrown them on the floor. I think that this was a game that he quite enjoyed in fact. Indeed, he seemed to like it even more than playing with any of the many toys that the library had. When I was small, I also enjoyed messing around in libraries. I once left part of the bottom of one of my trouser legs in a library – it was a turn-up for the books.

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As it happens, one of the first Christmas presents that I bought for our son was a book called Dilyn Dilys. The title is Welsh for ‘following Dilys’ and tells the story of a sheep called Dilys who goes for a walk and encounters various different birds and animals along the way. As someone who has learnt Welsh as an adult, I sometimes come across words in Welsh language children’s books that I do know. Indeed, I discovered the Welsh words for bees, thistles and fluffy thanks to Dilyn Dilys.

In addition to providing an opportunity to enrich my Welsh vocabulary, I also see reading kids’ books as being part of quality father and son time. My dad and my mum both read to me as a child and I’m sure that my wife and I will both read to our son as he grows up. We’re bringing up our son bilingually and this normally involves my wife speaking English to him and me speaking Welsh to him. By exposing him to books in both languages, I hope that our son will be able to take pleasure in the cultures and traditions that are associated with the Welsh and English languages as well as taking in the words (and pictures) in his books.

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As I started learning Welsh as an adult after moving to Wales back in 2007, reading to my son has meant that I’ve generally not been using the very same books as the ones I had read to me when I was small. In some ways, this might seem like a bit of a shame but it is also a source for me as I get to discover new books. Indeed, I’ve quite enjoyed looking through the kids’ books at a fantastic local independent bookshop that stocks a great range of titles in both Welsh and English.

Our son seems to be showing quite a bit of ambition when it comes to reading despite being very small. On a recent trip to a library with mummy and granny, he decided that the books for babies and toddlers weren’t all that interesting and instead kept grabbing books about things like dinosaurs and robots from the shelf for older children.

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I’ve also tried to keep ahead of the game when it comes to reading and parenting. As I mentioned in a post entitled Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes, I have been stocking up on joke books in both Welsh and English so as I can take on the traditional paternal role of sharing puns, one liners and other forms of rib-ticklers in different languages. Some might say that I don’t tell many good jokes in English so shouldn’t have trouble failing to tell decent jokes in Welsh. However, I feel that I would be failing in my paternal duties were I not able to tell dad jokes in both languages.

I’m not sure what’s in store this weekend for Fathers’ Day but I’m looking forward to spending some quality family time with my wife and son. Last year we went out for lunch and then on to a local pottery shop where we got our son to decorate some plates with paint footprints and handprints. He was so calm and relaxed about it all at the time, but I think things would be a bit different now that he’s walking and running all over the place. I certainly wouldn’t be relaxed taking him into a pottery shop anyway!

 

I’ve written this post as part of the #DadsRead campaign that is being run by the Zoobean blog and the Good Men Project. To see more posts on this topic, search for the #DadsRead hashtag on Twitter.

 

What are you looking forward to this Fathers’ Day and what books do you like reading with your children?  Feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

 

OTHER POSTS FROM THIS BLOG ABOUT BOOKS AND READING

Bilingual parenting means learning lots of jokes

Happy World Book Day!

Babies, Books and Blogging

 

I’ve added this post up to the following parenting blog link-ups:

13 thoughts from my 13th month as a parent

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13 thoughts title

Books, bubbles and babysitting are among the topics that I mention in this post about what I’ve learned about parenting this month…

1. I was feeling shattered one Friday night recently at the same time as our baby son was full of energy. I was tempted to send him into the kitchen to do the dishes to see if it would tire him out.

2. Our son has started to show an interest in books. He recently crawled into the spare room and started pulling loads of them off the bookcase.

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3. Our son’s newly discovered love of pulling books of bookshelves made me a bit nervous about taking him to a story and craft event for kids at our local library. Thankfully I managed to put back all the books that he threw on the floor and managed to stop him eating any crayons.

4. Our local Indian takeaway is called The Sitar. They’re going to open a new smaller branch that provides childcare as well as curries. It’s going to be called The Baby Sitar.

5. Our son seems to be developing a love of bubbles (see picture below).

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6. Yesterday I sang our son a song about a tortilla. Well, I call it a song but it was really a rap.

7. Our son has definitely got a bit wiser since celebrating his first birthday recently. Unfortunately this means that he no longer thinks that the television remote control has vanished when we hide it under a cushion.

8. Kids’ toothbrushes with suction pads at the end are great fun. Parents can play a game where one person sticks the toothbrush somewhere in the bathroom and the other one has to find it.

9. One of our son’s favourite games at the moment is ‘grab daddy’s nose’. I have a visible scratch mark as a result of this and he’s even managed to draw blood by scratching me in the same place twice in three days. He really needs to take better care of those rough finger nails.

10. After our first trip to a soft play centre recently,  I’ve come to the conclusion that they’re better for tiring out parents than small children.

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11. Trying to bite people’s knees isn’t one of the symptoms of teething that books about parenting normally seem to mention, but it’s one that our son is currently displaying!

12. My wife recently thought she heard our son wake up but it turned out to be a noise being made by a monkey on a wildlife programme that we were watching on television. I’m glad that it’s not just me that this sort of thing happens to.

13. Dear department stores, having a hand wipe dispenser so close to a nappy changing mat is not a good idea. I think I’d have needed to be an octopus to have both changed our son’s nappy and stopped him from pulling wipes out of the dispenser at the same time.

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What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year and a bit as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

12 thoughts from my 12th month as a parent

Baby’s first year in 12 photos

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I’ve linked this post up with the following blog-hops which feature lots of posts by fellow parent bloggers:

Happy World Book Day!

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Happy World Book Day

I’ve always seen books as being special and this post is about why they are important to me now that I am a parentIt’s also about what I feel that we need to celebrate on World Book Day.

My first post on this blog was entitled Read all about it: dad books and preparing for fatherhood. It was about parenting books that are specifically aimed at dads and dads-to-be. I have also written other posts about specific books that have discussed some of the aspects of parenting about which I am passionate. It was a real privilege to be able to interview Ana Flores, one of the co-authors of the book Bilingual is Better, as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club last year. More recently, I have also blogged about reading Bill Richards and Ashley Steel’s book Family on the Loose: the Art of Travelling with Kids and buying some Welsh language joke books in order to entertain our son.

Books have always been important to me, and I talked about why they are particularly important to me now as a parent in December 2013 in a post entitled Babies, Books and Blogging. I have previously explained how they have helped to play an important role in being a bilingual parent, and only last weekend I read a book to our 10 month old son for the first time. It was a Welsh language picture book about a sheep entitled Dilyn Dilys, which means ‘following Dilys’.

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Reading a book to our son for the first time felt like a really special parenting moment, one of what I hope will be many that involve sharing things with our son that he will enjoy. We are really lucky that he has already received several free books as part of schemes to promote bilingualism here in Wales, and that several local libraries run events for parents with small children and babies.

Books can provide a means of understanding the world as well as understanding one’s self, and I talked about this in a blog post that I wrote shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney. As I mentioned, I am from Scotland, have Irish parents and the country of Wales where I now live is a place whose national anthem celebrates its poets. In 2008, the year after I moved to Wales, I went to the Hay Book Festival and really want to return to this eclectic and exciting event again in the future.

Y Babell Len - the literary tent at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol

Y Babell Len – the literary tent at the Eisteddfod Genedlaethol

I have also twice been to Wales’s Eisteddfod Genedlaethol (National Eisteddfod), an annual week-long Welsh language cultural festival. At the event in 2009, I saw Y Babell Len (the Literary Tent) as somewhere that was perhaps not worth exploring as I didn’t feel that my Welsh would be good enough. However, I did end up venturing inside as there was a discussion taking place in Welsh about an English language novel by Simon Thirsk entitled Not Quite White. Last year, I was brave enough to venture into the Pabell Len to listen to a panel discussion about e-books and their impact on the Welsh language.

Whilst I do have an e-book reader and a tablet that I use to read e-books, I am also very attached to traditional paperback and hardback books. The physical copy of a book in some ways conveys a greater sense of intrigue or mystique. I have also found that second hand books are often cheaper than electronic copies that it is possible to read on an e-reader.

Our son with one of his current favourite books, the phone book.

Our son with one of his current favourite books, the phone book.

I also really value being able to visit a local bookshop where it is possible to browse and discover new books. We are really fortunate to have a fantastic local bookshop called Palas Print that is well stocked with a wide range of titles in both Welsh and English. The people who work there are always really helpful when it comes to ordering books or suggesting titles when we’re after a present for someone but aren’t quite sure what to get.

Online retailers can offer low prices and quick delivery, but I don’t feel that they will ever be able to fully replicate the pleasure that comes from visiting an actual book shop. For that reason, I’m trying extra hard this year to try to buy as many books as possible from local shops rather than online retailers.

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When it comes to online retailers, I’m also currently trying to use Amazon as little as possible. They may have an excellent range of books and other products, but I really have issues with the methods that they employ in order to try to minimise the tax that they have to pay here in the UK. It was reported last year that they only paid £2.4 million in tax on £4 billion of sales in the UK by virtue of effectively registering Amazon UK as a subsidiary of the Luxembourg-based Amazon EU Sarl. As was reported on the BBC News website,  Amazon has been able to put in place these tax arrangements despite the fact that it employs more than ten times as many people in the UK compared to Luxembourg.

The slogan on the website of our local bookshop is ‘heb ffiniau / without borders’. This is a concept that I associate with trying to make sure that reading is a gift from which everyone can take pleasure.  As our son grows up, I hope that he too will enjoy reading books that broaden his horizons and help him to understand the world around him. I hope that he will grow up in a world where the local bookshop remains present and in which big retailers respond to concerns about how they go about their business.

DISCLAIMER: I have not received or sought any form of sponsorship for mentioning any of the books, organisations or retailers that I discuss in this post.

Did you do anything to mark World Book Day? Are books important to you and/or your family?  Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Nominations are now open for the MAD blog awards for UK parent bloggers and I’ve been nominated in the categories Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog and MAD Blog of the year. In each category, only the four blogs with the most votes will make the final shortlist. If you’d like to vote for me, please go to http://www.the-mads.com/vote/ and type in the web address of my blog (https://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/) in the relevant categories. Thank you!

I’ve shared this post with the following parent blog linkies:

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11 thoughts from my 11th month as a parent

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PicMonkey Collage 11 thoughts

It’s time for my monthly feature about what I’ve learned about parenting this month. This edition is about hail storms, sleep and phone books…

1. Our son experienced a hail storm for the first time recently. He didn’t really like it, but calmed down after 10 minutes of playing peek-a-boo in the back seat of the car before leaving the supermarket car park.

2. I think that are son is getting the idea about sleeping in a bit longer on Sundays. One weekend recently he decided it was time to get up at 5.30am on the Saturday and 6am on the Sunday. Think we may need to keep working on this one 🙂

3. Our son has recently started crawling. As this picture of him at one week old imitating Jamaican sprinter Usain Bolt demonstrates, he’s been keen to start moving for  a while!

Our son the sprinter

4. I think that my approach to grammar may soon need to be extended to not letting our son wear a baby grow on which an apostrophe has worn off.

5. A company that I criticized a while ago for not focusing on dads within their parenting materials recently contacted me about potentially doing a review of a safety gate that is normally used to stop small kids from going down stairs. As it happens, we live in a bungalow.

6. One of the things that I’ve enjoyed most about being a dad recently has been being able to make our son laugh. Often, it doesn’t take much. Some people would say that it’s good that the bar isn’t too high given some of the dad jokes that I mentioned in a recent blog post on here.

7. As I’m from Scotland, I’m pleased that our son enjoys eating porridge and vegetarian haggis. His recent food throwing capabilities suggest that it may soon be time for him to start training for the traditional Highland Games pursuit of caber tossing. I think I’ll make him watch the video below of the current world champion so as he knows what to do.

8. As I’ve just said, being a Scottish dad is one of the reasons that I’m delighted to see that our son enjoys eating porridge. I just wish he’d stop trying to eat it with his hands and let mummy and daddy feed it to him on a spoon. Breakfast time can get quite messy, especially when he seems intent on trying to use the porridge as if it were some sort of exfoliating facial scrub.

9. Our son recently tried to brush his teeth himself (all four of them!) during a bath. He has recently started to chew the wrong end of the toothbrush so it may well be that he’ll end up deciding against a career in dentistry.

10. Our son currently enjoys playing with the phone book (see below). I just hope that we won’t have to read to him as a bed time story in the near future. His other books are all so much more interesting.

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11. In addition to crawling all over the place, our son has recently had his first go at standing up on his. A new phase of parenthood is about to begin!

What do you think of this post and what do you remember from your first year as a parent? Please feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it.

Similar posts

Being a dad – celebrating the little things

6 things I’ve learned in 6 months as a parent

7 thoughts from my 7th month as a parent

8 thoughts from my 8th month as a parent

9 thoughts from my 9th month as a parent

10 thoughts from my 10th month as a parent

In week 1 of the MAD blog awards for UK parent bloggers, I’ve been nominated in the categories Best Baby Blog, Best New Blog and MAD Blog of the year. In each category, only the four blogs with the most votes will make the final shortlist. If you’d like to vote for me, please go to http://www.the-mads.com/vote/ and type in the web address of my blog (https://dadsthewayilikeit.wordpress.com/) in the relevant categories. Thank you!

 

I’ve linked this post up with the following parent blog linkies:

Babies, books and blogging

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2013-12-11 19.17.13I’ve read many books about parenting since learning that my wife and I were going to welcome a new arrival. Indeed, parenting books that are specifically aimed at dads were the subject of my first post on this blog. I’ve also talked about books that have helped me learn how to talk about wind, throwing up and tickling in Welsh.

I also did a post where I responded to a newspaper’s list of 50 supposed baby essentials, and this led to some interesting discussion about the most and least useful things to get when you have kids. John S. Green, who blogs at Papa Green Bean, suggested that a library card should have been on the list of essentials, especially as it can make it possible to borrow both books and music.

I was thinking about these comments recently as our son now has his own library card at our local library, which also entitles him to use several other local libraries. Not only that, but also received a free bilingual book about animals in Welsh and English when he joined our local council-run library. Our son has actually been going to libraries since he was three weeks old, notably because one of our local libraries was the venue for a parent and child Welsh course that my wife went to with him and has written about on her blog Mindful Mam.

For me, the fact that libraries are about more than just shelves of books sums of their value as focal points for communities. It is for this reason that I feel that it’s a real shame that public sector spending cuts in the UK since the last election have resulted in many libraries closing. Our local libraries make available books, CDs, DVDs, the internet and books that can be read on e-readers.

My wife has often said that reading books on an e-reader is great when breastfeeding. It’s amazing how light a device that can store thousands of books can be. This is a good thing as it minimizes the negative consequences of accidentally dropping an e-book reader whilst holding a baby, not that I’d know of course… 🙂

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Our son’s arrival has at times influenced my own reading choices, and not just because I’ve read quite a lot of books about parenting. In the run up to his birth, and since then, I have read quite a few about Wales and Welsh culture. We live in North Wales, and I moved here in 2007 due to work. After getting the job for which  was applying I rang all the Welsh people I knew at the time. It only took about five minutes and two phone calls.

I’ve thankfully got to know a few more Welsh people since then and have also been busy learning Welsh, a language that I now use as part of my daily life both at work and when talking to my son. As I mentioned a while ago in a post that I wrote shortly after the death of the Irish poet Seamus Heaney, my mixture of Scottish and Irish roots sometimes leaves me a bit confused about my own sense of identity and I’m not sure what our son will make of the fact that he’ll be eligible to represent Wales, Scotland, England, Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland at football.

Since I talk to my son in Welsh, I’m going to have fun discovering new kids’ books in Welsh at the same time as him. Even if this means that I won’t be reading exactly the same books to him as did when I was growing up, I’m looking forward to the challenge. We’re lucky to have a really good local book shop that stocks a wide range of titles in both Welsh and English.

As a multilingual parent, one aspect of running this blog that I have really enjoyed is that it’s allowed me to connect with other bloggers in a wide variety of different places who are raising their children using more than one language, and also parents who are raising their children to appreciate a variety of different cultures. One group that has made this possible is Multicultural Kid Blogs, who bring together a fantastic range of bloggers and coordinate a great variety of different activities.

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Going back to the theme of books, Multicultural Kid Blogs have run an online book club where bloggers such as myself recently read Ana Flores and Roxana Soto’s book Bilingual is Better and discussed it on our blogs. Each week, a different blogger would write a post about a specific chapter in order to start the discussion. Here’s a link to the posts about each chapter. As you will see, I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to host a question and answer session with Ana Flores on this blog.

In the new year, I’m looking forward to the second installment of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club. This time round, we will be reading Family on the Loose: the Art of Travelling with Kids by Bill Richards and Ashley Steel. So far, my wife and I have been on just the one overseas trip with our son since he was born in April. We went to France in September, and I talked about this in a blog post entitled Our First Family Holiday.

I hope that September’s trip to Brittany will be the first of many that we undertake as a family, and I really look forward to reading more about the experiences of others who have been traveling with kids for a lot longer than we have. If you are interested in finding out more about the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club and how to get involved, just click on this link to see the schedule.

As our son grows up, I hope that he will develop a love of both travel and reading, and discover how both can broaden the mind and be a source of excitement and wonder.

What do you think of this post? What books were special to you as a child and what books are special to you and your children no? Feel free to share your views in the comments section below or on the ‘Dad’s The Way I Like It’ pages on Facebook or Google+.

Remember that you can also subscribe to this blog by entering your e-mail address in the box on the right of the screen and also follow this blog via BlogLovin. There’s also now a Pinterest board for this blog as well, so please feel free to pin this post if you’ve enjoyed reading it. Here’s the pin: http://www.pinterest.com/pin/428827195740258340/

Here are some parent blog link ups that this post is part of – check them out to see some great posts about all sorts of different aspects of parenting:

 

 

 

Interview with Ana Flores about ‘Bilingual is Better’

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I’ve been reading Ana Flores and Roxana Soto’s book 
Bilingual is Better as part of the Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club. From the start, I found it really interesting to learn more about bilingualism in the United States. Although the authors focus primarily on bilingualism from the perspective of Latino families in the United States, much of what they said also touched on general topics such as the benefits of bilinguals, bilingualism and education and the interaction between bilingualism and cultural identity.These sorts of issues really spoke to me as I’ve talked on this blog about why my wife and I are bringing up our son using Welsh and English and my own sense of cultural identity.
Judging by the discussions that have taken place concerning the various chapters of Bilingualism is Better (see list at the end of this post), it is certainly a book that has had meaning for lots of people bringing up children bilingually in different countries around the world. In this penultimate post in the book club, I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview Roxana Soto about Bilingual is Better and more general questions to do with bilingualism in the United States. Here’s the interview…

Ana Flores

Dad’s the Way I Like It: Before you wrote Bilingual is Better, you had already been discussing topics such as bilingualism on the blog SpanglishBaby that you set up with your co-author Roxana Soto. How did writing about these issues on your blog compare with actually writing about them in your book?

Ana Flores:  It was actually a very natural progression, but one that felt a little bit more intimidating. I remember telling Roxana several times that when writing a blog post you don’t feel the same pressure as writing a book that someone paid money for. Even though we take our writing on the blog very seriously, the book required a lot more research and editing to make sure we could fit in all that we needed to say in a few hundred pages.

 

Dad’s the Way I Like It: How did you and Roxana decide what balance to strike between talking about your own experiences as bilingual parents and discussing general issues to do with bilingual parenting?

Ana Flores: We approached it the same way we approach the personal vs general issues in the blog because we wanted the book to be an extension of the blog. It’s easy to find books filled with research and reporting on the issue of raising bilingual kids, but we wanted people to connect with us because we’re not academic experts in the subject. We’re just two moms that are passionate about gifting our kids with a second language because it’s a matter that’s deeply personal and important to us.

Dad’s the Way I Like It: To what extent do you think attitudes to bilingualism in the United States have changed since you published Bilingualism is Better?

Ana Flores: That’s tough to measure. For sure we’ve seen a huge difference in attitudes towards bilingualism since we launched the blog. We won’t dare even assume that
SpanglishBaby has had that huge of an effect, but at least we were able to bring the conversation to a personal level that covers all bilingual parenting angles. And even though we focus on the Latino cultural experience, when it comes to the basics of learning two or more languages, we’ve always made sure it resonated with all audiences.
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Dad’s the Way I Like It: One of the great things that has come out of the discussions about Bilingualism is Better in the Multicultural Kid Bloggers Book Club has been the way in which so many people in different countries around the world have found the book to be very relevant to them. Since publishing the book, have you had much response from bilingual parents outside North America?

Ana Flores: Because we’ve always made an effort to make the bilingual parenting aspect of our blog as general as possible, we’ve always had readers from across the globe and that are raising children in multiple languages. The title of the book focuses much on the Latino parenting aspect of the discussion, that I for sure thought it would turn off other ethnicities or other cultures around the world, so it’s been great to see that the information is useful and relevant to all. Regardless of languages or boundaries, the parenting experience is universal.

 


Dad’s the Way I Like It:
 Finally, is there one lesson more than any other that you would like people to take from reading Bilingual is Better?

Ana Flores: That bilingualism is the biggest gift we can give our children. They are born with the innate capacity to learn as many languages as they are consistently exposed to. Why make that brain power go to waste? It’s really up to us.

If you want to join the discussion about ‘Bilingual is Better’, please feel free to have your say in the comments section below or on the Multicultural Kid Blogs ‘community’ on Google+.

 

Here are links to the previous Multicultural Kid Blogs Book Club posts and chapter discussions:


Chapter 1: The New Face of America (post by Spanish Playground)
Chapter 2: Why Bilingual is Better (post by Family on the Loose)
Chapter 3: Raising a Spanglish Baby (post by Spanglish House)
Chapter 4: Bilingual Education (post by For the Love of Spanish)
Next week Kid World Citizen will host a ‘wrap-up’ post.

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