Celebrating the Bilingual Child

Written by Barbara Cantisano

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Did you know that October is “Celebrating the Bilingual Child” month? Over 50% of the world’s population is either bilingual or multilingual. Several years ago, speaking a second language was seen as a disadvantage but research has uncovered the multiple advantages of speaking more than one language, especially for children. These benefits include focusing better on tasks and being more skilled at switching between tasks, improved decision-making, enhanced cognitive skills and even better memory. Exposing our children to other languages and cultures can open up their world and teach them to appreciate differences and similarities. This is the beginning of developing cultural dexterity, an important ingredient of 21st century life skills.

Charlotte Mecklenburg Library offers multiple options to introduce your children to other languages and they are all accessible with your Library card. Mango Languages has courses to learn over 70 world languages along with our thousands of traditional and e-books, visual dictionaries, fairy tales, music and movies can help you “Celebrate the Bilingual Child” this month and throughout the year.

Here are just a few examples for multiple ages and different languages – please visit our website at cmlibrary.org to check our whole collection.


Some e-books

Little Red
The Bilingual Fairy Tales Little Red Hen, Grades 1 – 3
La Gallinita Roja
Ottolenghi, Carol

Popular tales like this one are a great way to introduce children to vocabulary in a new language since they are already familiar with the story and they can follow along. This series has the English and Spanish version on the same page.

Little Red Hen English-Spanish

Lets Play Mom
Let’s Play, Mom! (English Italian Bilingual Book)
Admont, Shelley

This English-Italian book is a great way to expose children to a new language through a sweet story of a girl that makes her mom feel better by spending time playing with her.

Let’s Play – Italian-English


I Love My Dad
I Love My Dad (English Turkish Bilingual Book)
Admont, Shelley

This series of books is available in multiple languages, from Polish to Tagalog.  They contain simple language and tell a story with an educational message.

Bilingual Turkish-English


Books and visual dictionaries

Russian English
Bilingual Visual Dictionary
Wilkes, Angela
DK Publishing, Inc

With more than 6,000 illustrations and photographs organized by themes, this dictionary introduces everyday vocabulary and can be used as a resource for all levels.  Labels are in both Russian and English.

Visual Dictionary English-Russian


My First Bilingual Book-Numbers (English-German)

This simple book is a great introduction to numbers 1-10 in German as well as vocabulary for toys, clothing, household goods and items from everyday life.

Numbers English-German


The Bilingual Book of Rhymes, Songs, Stories, and Fingerplays
El Libro De Rimas, Canciones, Cuentos, Y Juegos
Schiller, Pamela Byrne

This books shares over 450 stories, rhymes, fingerplays and songs with English and Spanish displayed on each page.  They are a great way to develop vocabulary and play around with language and sounds.

Rhymes & Fingerplays English-Spanish



Putumayo presents, Music CD
Cuban Playground


Putumayo presents, Music CD
Asian Playground


Putumayo presents, Music CD
Kid’s African Party

Putumayo Kids presents French dreamland
French Dreamland


Books for adults interested in raising bilingual children

7 Steps
7 Steps to raising a Bilingual Child
Steiner, Naomi

This book shares information about different goals in raising bilingual children, discusses myths about second-language learning and shares multiple resources for monolingual and bilingual parents. Multiple anecdotes and strategies are included.


Raising A Bilingual Child
Raising a Bilingual Child
A Step-by-step Guide for Parents
Pearson, Barbara Zurer

The practical advice presented in this step-by-step guide is combined with first-hand accounts from parents while also addressing myths around bilingualism and academic performance.