As a food and travel writer, I get a lot of cookbooks and guide books sent to me. Teachers, on the other hand (my day job) don’t tend to receive d lot of review copies of books though. So it’s always exciting when a publisher contacts me with books that might interest my students (and, in turn, readers of mine with children). Today, I’ve got two beautiful books to share for kids who are interested in the French language and/ or Paris.
Lonely Planet Kids recently send me the newly-released “First Words (French)” which aims to:
Get the whole family prepared for and excited about an upcoming trip by learning 100 travel-relevant French words – from food and transport, to animals and weather.
Each double page spread features one word written in both French and English with a phonetic pronunciation guide for the French word, and a fun illustration to help give the word some context – it’s a very bright, appealing layout which my younger (7-8 year-old) students love. I have a few vocabulary books that I keep in a couple of my classrooms in the library corner that the boys are welcome to take out during silent reading and they absolutely love books like this one. However, although the book is cute and attractive to look at, in terms of whether the language is “travel-relevant”, the teacher in me would question some of the choices. I travelled a lot when I was younger and one of the first things I learned in every country was to ask where the toilet was. In my classroom, it’s probably the most frequently-used word (as in “Est-ce que je peux aller aux toilettes? right after “eau” as in “Est-ce que je peux boire de l’eau?). Here toilette comes well into the book while the second word in the book is “glace ~ ice cream”. Hmmm…. So as a useful travel book, I’m not so sure…
What I did love was that in conjunction with the book’s release, there is also an interactive audio guide available online at http://www.lonelyplanet.com/kids/first-words so that young readers can listen to the pronunciation of each word as they follow along with the pictures.
This is such a great idea (and I’ll be using it in my classrooms!) and I can see this being something that I would go to again and again as a child. It’s very simple – there is no game or other interactivity beyond simply listening and repeating (and maybe challenging yourself to remember the correct pronunciation) but it’s really appealing (visually) and has a native speaker child which, as a teacher, I love because it makes it more relevant for learners.
In terms of getting kids excited about learning a language? This book and the accompanying site do the job. It’s the type of book that, as a small child, *I* would have “read” over and over again. It’s fun and appealing to look at and if kids are interested in learning a language (there are Spanish and English-language version of the book and site also), it’s a great way to hook them.
I also received “Pop-up Paris” which was published last year and which I wish I would have known about earlier.
My Grade 4 s recently completed a series of projects on French food, sports or Parisian monuments and I searched high and low for accessible French-language books about monuments and the city of Paris. This didn’t come up on my searches because it’s in English but I would have happily taken it because it’s:
The perfect introduction to the magic of Paris for any age. [A] beautifully illustrated, stylish look at the city’s iconic landmarks [that] will kickstart the travel bug in young explorers.
With a pop-up Arc de Triomphe, Centre Pompidou, Eiffel Tower, Moulin Rouge and even a macaron tower and a Gargoyle from Notre Dame, this is the perfect book to get young travellers excited about travelling to Paris and will be a hit for years, even once the souvenirs of a trip are long faded (and there’s also pop-up New York and London in the collection for kids and adults with serious wanderlust!). So yeah, even though it’s in English (the text is very minimal though), it’s visually so appealing and such a great conversation starter for kids that it’s earned a place on my classroom shelves as I’m sure this will be a great introduction to Parisian monuments for next year’s group starting their project 🙂
Disclosure: I received these books from the publisher for review purposes only. I was under no obligation to write about them and have not received compensation for doing so. All opinions, as always, 100% my own.
Please note: This post contains product links from Amazon and The Book Depository which are affiliate links, meaning if you click over and purchase something, I will receive a very small percentage of the purchase price (at no extra cost to you) which goes towards maintaining eat. live. travel. write. Thank you in advance!