Building A Bilingual Library
Updated: Oct 17, 2019
Sure, some of the books we have in our children's home library were originally from my personal classroom collection. However, most became part of our family starting at my first baby shower, then birthdays, Christmas, and as other gifts. An occasional purchase from a book shop could be found in the mix as well. Perhaps this comes with the territory of having a teacher as their mother! These shelves were once filled with just board books, now we have started to add picture books. I am sure that as my children grow our home library will also grow and its selection will change too.
Trust me, this is not how this library looks everyday! Part of our night routine is to pick up the piles of books from the reading rug, sofa, or their toddler table. I wouldn't have it any other way! I'm happy that my children pick up books for us to read to them. My oldest has even started to sit and read (the pictures) to herself or to her little brother. If this means they take out books, flip a few pages, and pick out the next - then I hope "library organization" becomes a part of our nightly routine for as long as they live at home.
I wanted to share how we organize our home library. It is important to me to provide my children with quality literature in both languages. I must admit that I am still working on adding more Spanish titles to our selection. I try my hardest to find authentic literature (works written in the author's native language) that match my children's developmental ages and interests.
Perusing through section A of our library you'll find English-only picture books. Picture books are geared for children ages 3-8 however they tend to be all-time favorites and childhood classics at whatever age. We began adding picture books to our selection when my first born turned 2. She began to show a growing interest in picture books on our visits to the library, so I decided to start offering them to both.
In this area you can find English-only board books. Here you'll see some of my children's favorites such as a number of Karen Katz lift-the-flap books, lots of touch-and-feel books, and even a few Highlights Hello toddler magazines. Of course no toddler home library is complete without the classics: Good Night Moon, The Very Hungry Caterpillar, and Brown Bear Brown Bear - to name a few.
We begin to get into our selection of Spanish-only and bilingual board books. Some of these books are translated versions of the board books in section B. Our favorite bilingual board-book series are those from Lil' Libros. We have the entire collection and each time a new title is announced we are eager to purchase it.
We find ourselves in the last section of our home library. The bottom shelf in this department is dedicated to religious books for kids in both languages. The top shelf is our growing selection of Spanish-only and bilingual picture books. Again, we do have some of the same copies from section A as Spanish versions. We tend to find our authentic Spanish picture books when we travel, and most recently through a book subscription called Booklandia.
In addition to our home library we also visit our local library frequently, checking-out and returning books on the weekly. My goal is to have a bilingual-only home library. You'll have to keep reading my posts to find out exactly how I plan on doing this, so stay tuned!
Your home library doesn't have to look like ours - the idea here is to be mindful when choosing books for your little ones. Variety is key. Our goal is to expose our children to these languages in every way possible.