Library Visits in France & the Children's Books We Loved There

Bonjour! The rain is pouring down, but spring is whispering from around the corner here in Oregon--there are little purple crocuses blooming in our front yard and yellow forsythia blossoms beckoning from the backyard. Nonetheless, today I'm taking you back to our summer travels in France to share about the library books my children enjoyed during our stay there. (I'll link to them on Amazon so you can obtain them if you're in the U.S. or Canada.) We visited libraries everywhere we traveled in France, and we were thrilled to obtain a library card in Lyon during the last two months of our France stay. (I simply needed to sign a form swearing to our address in France, however temporary it was.)

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An Interview with Marie Gervais of Marygold Books on eBay

If you've ever searched eBay for children's books in French, you have probably come across titles listed by Marygoldbooks. Marie Gervais is the seller behind that handle, and she's been selling children's books in French on eBay since 2002. She's sold over 6,000 items and yet she has virtually perfect feedback ratings from buyers. Want to know where she finds all those French books? Keep reading--here's my interview with Marie in English along with her French responses:

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An Encouraging Podcast and Sweet Reading

Bonjour les amis! It's been quiet on the blog this week, but today I'm glad to share with you two linguistic resources that may delight you:

First is a children's picture book called Little Treasures: Endearments from Around the World. Published in 2011, each page features several terms of endearment that parents use with their children in their own language. From mon petit chou (my little cabbage) in French to docinho de coco (little coconut candy) in Portuguese, it features sweet nicknames along with their translations and pronunciation in each of fourteen languages--German, Spanish, Russian, Arabic, Chinese, etc. We discovered this book at the library, and my daughter has loved choosing the nickname that she would prefer from each language.

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French & American Children's Fiction: Comparing Cultural Clues

As my children grow towards school-age, we're reading a larger variety of short stories in French and English, and I'm delighting in the subtle differences along the way. Fiction stories are culture capsules--they rarely reveal culture overtly, but the more one reads, the more one sees how the stories reflect cultural tendencies. At the risk of wading into stereotypes, I'll share the key differences I've noticed:

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Making Your Children's Books Bilingual

When I began reading to my infant daughter, her books weren't difficult to translate into French because the vocabulary was so simple. As she grew a bit older, the texts became a bit more difficult, of course, but my translating became more habitual and effortless. Now that she's about to turn five, however, I'm more concerned that the text on the page consistently matches the words that she hears, because I want her to make the phonetic connections that will eventually lead to reading on her own.

So when I spotted Les œufs verts au jambon--the French version of Green Eggs and Ham--at Anthropologie last year, I was tempted to buy it even though we already own the English version. But my daughter saw me ogling the book and pointed out that we already own it. She didn't care that our version wasn't in French, because I had always read it in French anyhow. Point taken. But I'd also wanted it because my oral translation is never as good as the written translation--especially when it comes to the rhyming lines of Dr. Seuss.

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