What will I read next?
Choosing books in your mother tongue when living abroad
The days are getting shorter and shorter, schools are back, and I can hear my children screaming from their bedroom “maaaaammyyyy, can you read us a story?”.
Read in your mother tongue
Follow your child's interests
How to source books in your mother tongue
To source the books I used a mix of techniques: I bought some on my trips to Italy, I got lots of second hand ones from friends, and I borrowed some from the libraries in the UK and in Ireland. Some people may now know this, but the library system in Ireland is interconnected, so if you find a book in your language on the online catalogue you can request it and it will be sent to your local library. It may not be super easy to find the books at first, but try the online catalogue or ask your librarian for help!
Choosing a book is not always easy. You want to go with your child’s interests, but after 5 or 6 unicorn and fairies books I think you have the right to expand your child’s horizons and go for something different. Sometimes when I had to convince my daughter that the books with pink fairies were not the only good ones in the world I offered to read “your favourite and then my favourite”, and she usually liked the deal, because it meant that she got two books in one night. “My favourite” was a booked I knew would make her laugh, and she is one who loves jokes and funny stuff, so it was never hard for her to engage with “my book”. This way I was able to introduce different styles of writing and different narratives, which I think is very important for any child.
So, this may sound to you like it took hours browsing books in libraries, chasing booksellers, finding bargains in charity shops, getting recommendations from friends and nights of storytelling and reading… and the truth is that it did take time, like every other aspect of parenting. I think that if I didn’t start early, now my children would not be all laughing at poo jokes in Italian and they would not be asking for more stories, so I am glad I was able to keep going. As I celebrate 10 years of being a mother, I feel that all those nights reading, with my eyes closing while the children were asking for more, were all worth it.
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