In our article How to stimulate children’s reading in bilingual and multilingual children, we described how important it is to have children’s books that highlight not only idiomatic but also cultural elements, especially of the minority language we speak at home.
This task is not always easy. Especially if the country where that language is spoken is far away from the country where we live or if the language spoken is dominated by a small group of people and does not have many literary resources, etc. Therefore, here we have some ideas for you so that you can create your own individualized and personalized books as a family.
First we must plan the story, what it will be about, who the characters will be, where they live, what they do, what they look like, etc. Then we think of a problem, almost always a task or a mission to accomplish. Next, we must imagine what are the challenges or obstacles that our characters will face in their journey to complete their mission, this is called the climax or the climax of the story, it is the moment that puts us on the edge of our seat just before the denouement. And finally the ending, I prefer happy endings, but it is up to each one to decide how to end the story. You can also think of an open ending and make a series, for example 😉
If you think you are not creative and you can’t think of anything, talk to your children and think together about a theme and the points mentioned above, I guarantee you will be surprised by the imagination and creativity of your little ones. If your children are not talking yet, observe what their favorite objects are (toys, food, kitchen utensils, a blanket, etc.) and make a short story with some of them, remember that there are no bad stories, your children will still be fascinated to hear your stories and as they grow up, you can create and design many stories together 😉
Once you have all the elements of the story and the thread it should follow, write the text in the language you want or in two or three 😉 When you have all your text blocks ready, take some blank sheets of paper (I prefer letter size sheets) and fold them in half. Place one text block on each sheet leaving a space for the illustration. If you have several languages of a single story, place all the corresponding blocks on one page. If you need more space, you can put the languages on one page and the illustration on the page next to it. Behind what will be the cover or on the first page, don’t forget to put the title of the book, the name of the author or authors, translator if there is an extra one, the illustrator or illustrators and the date of “printing” or better said, the date of completion 😉
Read each page together with your children, and if they can do it themselves, let them illustrate the book as they want. If your child is still too young to do this, use photos, cut-outs or draw the corresponding pictures yourself.
According to your possibilities, put the pages of the book together (stapled, glued, sewn or however you want) so that they are not loose, or they will get lost. Now draw the front cover and if you want, the back cover too, and that’s it! Congratulations! You have produced your first book as a family.
This is a beautiful activity that not only strengthens family ties, but at the same time encourages reading in all the languages we speak at home or that your little one is learning. The themes and variety of stories are limitless. Share with us on our social networks the children’s books you make with this guide. We will be happy to see them and they will surely serve as an inspiration for many other multilingual families around the globe.
Read you soon! 😉