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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