top of page

Must-Have Books for Bilingual Families

Updated: Jan 30



"The more that you read, the more things you will know. The more that you learn, the more places you'll go." - Dr. Seuss


Books are the most powerful tool that parents can leverage when raising bilingual, trilingual and multilingual children
Books are the most powerful tool that parents can leverage when raising bilingual, trilingual and multilingual children

Table of Contents







At Multilingual Family Hub, we are huge advocates of the power of books.


Our publishing venture - Multilingual Family Hub Publishing - is all about empowering multilingual families with books that spark joy and love of reading in children.



Multilingual Family Publishing - Bringing the Joy of Reading to Families in Two Languages One Book at a Time
Multilingual Family Publishing - Bringing the Joy of Reading to Families in Two Languages One Book at a Time


And in this post, I'd like to share with you my top book recommendations.


These recommendations are divided into two categories:


Category 1: Books for PARENTS to support them through their bilingual/ trilingual/ multilingual parenting journey


Category 2: Picture books for YOUNG CHILDREN to help them gain exposure to the target language and foster a lifelong love of reading


Part I: Guide Books for PARENTS


In the first part of this post, I’ll take you through THREE books I would recommend to parents who are looking for a GUIDE on how to raise their kids to speak more than one language.


Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids by Adam Beck

 


Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids by Adam Beck
Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids by Adam Beck

The author is based in Japan and raised his children to be bilingual in Japanese and English all by himself, without using language schools or tutors.


In this highly practical and accessible book, he shares his personal experience and offers lots of practical and motivational advice. If you’re new to bilingual parenting, this is the perfect book to get you started.


Be Bilingual - Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families by Annika Bourgogne



Be Bilingual - Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families by Annika Bourgogne
Be Bilingual - Practical Ideas for Multilingual Families by Annika Bourgogne

The author lives in Finland and raised her two daughters to be bilingual in French and Finnish.


Be Bilingual is highly accessible, and what I like particularly about this book is how it strikes a great balance between academic research and practical ideas, dividing the book into sections titled “Words of the Wise” and “View from the Frontline”.


It is definitely a must-read for parents who want to raise bilingual kids.


Bilingual and Trilingual Parenting 101: A Practical Handbook for Multilingual Families: Activate your child’s language potential and help them become actively bilingual or trilingual by Ka Yee Meck (Yours Truly!)



Bilingual and Trilingual Parenting 101: A Practical Handbook for Multilingual Families: Activate your child’s language potential and help them become actively bilingual or trilingual by Ka Yee Meck
Bilingual and Trilingual Parenting 101: A Practical Handbook for Multilingual Families: Activate your child’s language potential and help them become actively bilingual or trilingual by Ka Yee Meck


What makes this book somewhat different from the previous two is that I wrote it from the perspective of a mum raising TRILINGUAL as opposed to BILINGUAL children.


The reason I did this was because I myself saw a gap in the market in terms of books for trilingual and multilingual families - so I went ahead and wrote the book I wish I had when I was embarking on this journey!

 

Another thing that makes my book different is that I offer advice on how to help your child become an active speaker of the target language with a method that I developed myself.


To my knowledge, no other books on the market address this particular issue in as much detail.


As of January 2024, the book has sold more than 1,250 copies and has an average rating of 4.5 stars based on 55 ratings on Amazon.


If you're raising bilingual, trilingual and multilingual children, I genuinely think my book will be of value to you. Do check it out! It's available in Ebook, Paperback AND Audiobook format.


Part II: Bilingual Picture Books for CHILDREN


In the second part of this post, I’d like to recommend three brilliant bilingual picture books that I’d recommend to parents who want to raise bilingual kids.


The Usborne First Hundred Words Series


The first is the Usborne First Hundred Words series. As you can see here, we've got this in the English and Simplified Chinese version.


First Hundred Words in Chinese from Usborne
First Hundred Words in Chinese from Usborne


It’s beautifully illustrated - the style is quite old-school, which, in my opinion, is absolutely timeless and will be loved by children for many generations to come.


Each chapter is set in a specific setting or around a certain theme, like in the kitchen, at a party, and so forth.


The font is large and very child-friendly.


At the back, they’ve included some activities to help children consolidate what they’ve learnt.


I highly recommend this book to all bilingual families out there. In addition to the English and Chinese combination, this book is available in numerous other language combos.

 

The Usborne First Thousand Words Series


In the same vein and by the same publisher is the Usborne First Thousand Words series. It has the same style as the Hundred Words series - that’s because both series were illustrated by the same artist.


First Thousand Words in Chinese from Usborne
First Thousand Words in Chinese from Usborne

As you can see here, the idea is very similar to the other book, but each chapter introduces far more vocabulary items in a more dense layout.


The illustrator Stephen Cartwright is truly incredible - his pictures are so vivid and rich in detail, as you can see here.


We’ve got this book in two versions - the English and Simplified Chinese version, as well as the English and Russian version.


We’ve got so much use out of these books with both of our children. They are - hands down - the best first books you can buy for your child’s home library, as you’ll get so much mileage out of them.


How to Get Maximum Value From Picture Books


You can start using these books in the baby and toddler years by pointing at images and reading out the words for them.



You can start reading picture with your baby by pointing at the pictures and reading out the words for them
You can start reading picture with your baby by pointing at the pictures and reading out the words for them


This will help enrich their vocabulary and lay the foundation for reading and writing later on, if that’s something that you’d like to do.


Once they’re a bit older, you can definitely use these books to help your child learn to read and write.

 

In my Bilingual and Trilingual Parenting 101 book, I’ve dedicated a whole chapter to helping parents establish an effective and enjoyable reading and writing routine, so do check that out!


My Everyday Day Life Series by Ka Yee Meck (Yours Truly, again!) and Florence Wong 


And the last book I’d like to recommend is this one I’m showing you here - it’s a series of books titled My Everyday Life, produced by… again, yours truly, and my super talented sister Florence Wong, who’s a professional illustrator based in Japan.



My Everyday Life in English and Traditional Chinese/ Cantonese by Ka Yee Meck and Florence Wong; bilingual picture book in English and Chinese Cantonese Traditional Chinese
My Everyday Life in English and Traditional Chinese/ Cantonese by Ka Yee Meck and Florence Wong


Fully illustrated with beautiful pictures in an attractively colourful, contemporary style, this book introduces more than 130 common words structured around everyday themes such as the kitchen, school and animals.

 

What’s more, every chapter includes fun and interactive activities, as well as customised QR codes that allow you to easily access FREE MP3 audio files on your mobile phone to help you and your child pronounce each word!

 

And there is more: we have also included two BONUS activities at the end of the book so that your child can review the vocabulary they’ve learnt!

 

As of January 2024, this book is available in three language combos:



But we plan to roll out MANY MORE language combinations as we want to help as many bilingual families all over the world as possible.


Very shortly, we’ll be launching English + Russian and English + Spanish, but there are more to come. Feel free to suggest language combinations in the comments below - we’d love to hear from you!


As always, I hope you got some value from this post. Thank you!

 

Comments


bottom of page