I am sure that Bilingual is Better was written for me. After all, I have been waiting 20 years for this book!
Let me explain. When I decided 20 years ago that my three children would speak Spanish, I had many advantages. I had a deep understanding of how children learn language, summers free, the resources and freedom to travel and a supportive husband who to this day stays home to work while the rest of us fly away. At the same time, I was terribly alone. My extended family was clueless and there were very few Spanish speakers in our community. Also, the advantage of knowing how children learn language was at the same time a disadvantage; the reality of what was involved was daunting. I knew that bilingual was better, but every day I wished for the information, inspiration and support of Bilingual is Better.
This book examines the practical considerations of raising children speaking two languages, but it is also a deeply personal book. The authors are two young Latina moms living the ups and downs of the process, and their stories, openness and convictions breathe life into every page.
Okay, the authors probably did not write this book for me, but they may well have written it for you. If you are considering raising your child with two languages or engaged in the process, this is some of what you will find:
- The research to support what is in your heart. Bilingual is Better concisely presents the facts to confirm that the effort is worth it. From the demographics of the nation, to the latest brain research, to myths about raising bilingual children, this book gives you the essential information to support your instincts, speak with authority and convince others if the need arises.
- Practical advice. There are different ways to structure raising children with two languages. This book explores the different methods, discusses the pros and cons of each and shares stories from families using each approach. With that information in hand, Bilingual is Better helps you make a plan.
- Perspective to go with the plan. As all parents know, even the best plans do not always go smoothly. Bilingual is Better provides support for predictable issues, such as family or friends who are not supportive or kids being reluctant to speak the language.
In my view, more knowledge is better. Although raising children with two languages is complicated and, in the words of Bilingual is Better, “every family is unique,” we do learn from others’ experiences. As in all aspects of parenting, a little heads-up goes a long way. Knowing some of what to expect helps cushion the shock of difficult times and raises our awareness when things are going well.
- A community. Raising children with two languages is incredibly fun, but it is also a long and often demanding process. This book and the authors’ website SpanglishBaby connect you to other parents who are living the same amazing moments and meeting the same challenges that you are.
The authors of Bilingual is Better specifically address who should read the book. Their audience is parents, from bilingual parents passing on their language and heritage to monolingual parents who want their children to speak another language. I would expand that circle to include teachers, school administrators and other professionals working with children. Although many are informed about the choices parents are making and the challenges they are facing, there are many others who are not. They would benefit from the scope of the information in this book and how it is personalized by the focus on families.
Bilingual is Better is available on Amazon in print or for Kindle. My children are too young to be considering families, but they know that being bilingual is better for them. They have all said they will raise their children speaking Spanish and English. I am so happy that they will have this book when that time comes!