A Fish in Foreign Waters: A Book for Bilingual Children
Written by Laura Caputo-Wickham
Illustrated by Pamela Goodman
Published by Long Bridge Publishing
Publication date: 2015
Age range: 3 +
Summary (from Goodreads):
Rosie Ray’s world gets thrown upside down when her family has to move far away. She soon has to learn a new language and make new friends. Being bilingual is not always easy, but on the day of her birthday she makes a very exciting discovery. A Fish in Foreign Waters helps parents and teachers get children excited about being bilingual with lovely illustrations and an entertaining story.
When they arrived they were shocked by the change,
The bay looked quite nice but the language was strange,
In Green Bay the words bubbled out bug and round,
But here they were square and they made a weird sound!
I am always on the lookout for books which promote language learning and show positive images of bilingualism and multilingualism – more people in the world are bilingual than monolingual and I feel that the attitude of ‘English is enough’ really needs to be challenged in mainly-monolingual countries.
This book does not go into a great deal of depth, but does serve as an introduction to the topic of a child growing up with one language, then moving into a community where another language is the main one used for daily life.
I liked how the family described their initial impressions of the language being a different ‘shape’ to the one they were used to, how Rosie studied the new language and helped her parents (many children end up in the posituon of unofficial interpreter!), and how she was able to build bridges between her two communities through her bilingualism.
Definitely a book to add to your collection of books promoting diversity, tolerance and understanding!
“I though I was lonely, but I see in the end…
That doubling the languages doubles the friends!”
What I liked: Positive messages about being bilingual, especially when Rosie becomes in demand when translating between her two groups of friends. Cute illustrations too!
Even better if: Would like to see more books with these positive messages!
How you could use it in your classroom: Definitely a book to read with your class, whether or not you have any multilingual pupils. Honestly, I would be surprised if you don’t have quite a few! Multilingualism is more prevalent than monolingualism so I think it is really important that we talk with children about this norm and encourage them to maintain their bilingualism/ learn another language if they’re not already bilingual.
(Found this on the internet while looking for books for children about bilingualism and ordered a copy for myself and my classroom!)