Tag Archives: books

Would you Rent a Bridesmaid ?

Jasmin_rent a BridesmaidIf you follow our blog regularly you’ll know we love to read. Reading is a great way of language acquisition as well as improving literacy and spelling, whatever the language. This week we have a book review by our Jasmin. So over to her…

Hi I’m Jasmin and I’m eight years old.
I have been asked to write a review of “Rent a Bridesmaid” by Jacqueline Wilson.

The main characters are Tilly, Matty (Tilly’s friend) and Tilly’s dad.

In the story Tilly wants to be a bridesmaid, so she puts an advert in Sid’s shop window. She gets three replies asking for her to be a bridesmaid. She is amazed at how many replies she gets.

The part which surprised me was when Tilly’s mum visited because I thought she would never come. This made me feel happy.

The most exciting part of the story was when Tilly got a reply asking for her to be a bridesmaid.

I would change the part when Tilly’s mum didn’t stay to her staying because then Tilly would be able to be a bridesmaid at her mum and dad’s wedding.

If I could write another ending, Tilly would go to lots more weddings and become famous.

Thank you Jasmin.

She read this 360 page book in just two evenings, a good sign she enjoyed it! I was really impressed by the extra activities at the end to design your own bridesmaid dress, finish a quiz about the book, make wedding favours and have fun with a wordsearch. As a mum there were lots of interesting relationships in the book to talk about together, which is great for pre teens.

Disclaimer: We were sent this book to review. The opinions expressed are entirely our own.

If you’d like to buy your own copy you can pick it up here

Do picture books help children learn another language?

This week we are really blessed to guest blog from the lovely Nathalie. We met on twitter and have a shared love for picture books and puppets. So over to Nathalie.Natalie 4

For as far back as I can remember, I have always loved books and been surrounded by them. When my children (now 12 and 15) were born and I decided to bring them up bilingual (English and French) I am convinced books played a major part in their success… thanks to my parents who always bought so many stories for them! I read to Leah and Max in French every day and they learnt naturally, without any lessons, to read French; Max read so much by himself he taught himself to write in French too. However I never actually thought of making it part of my business until I had so many children’s books that I started to wonder what I was going to do with them! Books in English and books for adults I never kept you see; I believe books are only alive if they are being read and shared and it was easy to give them away, but books in French… Well they were too heavy to take back to France and I didn’t know anyone in the UK who would appreciate them! My dream was to open a French library; then my best friend came up with the amazing idea of a mobile library!

You can check out photos of the bus on my website: http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/
The books I travel around with on my Bibliobook are mostly picture books. Why, might you ask, should anyone want to pay me to go and tell a story to their children in French? If you attend any of Sarah’s classes I am sure you are not asking yourself this question as she is a fan of books (and puppets!) herself. We all accept that stories in their native language are good for our children and they are encouraged to be read to and to read from a very young age. Moreover research shows that sharing stories in a second language (even without being bilingual) helps to develop listening, speaking, reading and writing skills! (more about various research projects here http://natta-lingo.gihem.info/spip.php?article114) More than 2000 booksChildren still love books as real objects; they enjoy sitting on the carpet and listening to a story, even more so if they can act it out with props! This we do on le Bibliobook whilst surrounded by nearly 2000 French books!! It is great fun and we know our children will learn better and be more motivated when they have fun… Not just little ones either!

If you do not have access to authentic books in another language, please check out One Third Stories for virtual stories which start in English and end in another language. That’s another great fun way of learning with stories!
So if you get the chance to, please take your children to storytelling sessions (in any language!) and keep reading to them or with them (in any language you can too!). You and they will never wish you hadn’t done it!
Natalie writes weekly blogs about picture books that are great for language learning.

The single best resource for your language learning!

This week we’ve got another guest post from Maik (@lingotutor)
Okay, I admit it. I like Amazon … a lot. Or to be more specific, I like the wealth of resources they put at my fingertips as a language learner. So let me be upfront about this: I think the single best language learning resource is Amazon Prime and signing up for Amazon Prime is a no-brainer. And here’s why.


Physical language learning books

I’ve needed to buy a good number of language learning books in the last few months, either as a resource to use for language tuition, or to refresh / improve my own language skills. Currently I’m brushing up on Latin which I’ve not used since my school days over twenty years ago. But there’s no need to go for a brand-new book every time (although I love the smell of a new book, I’m weird like that!). So most of my purchases were sub-£3 second hand copies, which could still be in my hands the very next day thanks to free next day delivery with Amazon Prime. You’d pay more than £3 for just the delivery charge elsewhere!


Le tour du monde en 80 jours

Le tour du monde en 80 jours


Sometimes I’m too impatient to wait for next-day delivery, which is when eBooks come in handy. The great thing is that there are so many free eBooks available in various languages. In French for example, you could be reading “Le tour du monde en quatre-vingts jours” by Jules Verne or “Le Chien des Baskerville” by Arthur Conan Doyle at no charge at all.

The choice is even wider if you have an Amazon Prime membership, as you’ll automatically benefit from the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library, which lets you chose from a vast number of eBooks. You can chose a new book each month, provided you “return” your previous one. My personal favourites recently have been “The A-Z of Learning German” and “Learn German for Your Holidays” by the amazing Angelika Davey (review to follow).

The only drawback is that, as the name suggests, the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library is only available to you if you own either a Kindle eReaderor Fire tablet. If you don’t, you’ve got two options:

(1) Sign up for Kindle Unlimited, which allows you to read as much as you want on any device or

(2) Get yourself a Kindle eReaderor Fire tablet. They’re seriously awesome and with the benefit of the Kindle Owner’s Lending Library basically pay for themselves within 7 months.

Chinese Children's Classics

Chinese Children’s Classics

Prime Music

Okay, the selection here is not (yet) as wide as on Spotify or Deezer, but there is a lot of quality stuff here, especially for the language learner. One of our family favourites is “Chinese Children’s Classics” by A Little Mandarin. And there’s not just music, as the name suggests, but a good number of spoken language courses, including my personal favourite: the “Learn in your car” series. It’s a great way to fit language learning into your commute, and as a Prime member, you have access to Spanish, French, Italian, Mandarin, Russian and German courses at no charge. The CD versions would easily set you back £20 each.

Fire TV Stick

Although there used to be a good number of Foreign Language films available on Amazon Instant Video, including the hilarious “7 Zwerge” (again free to Prime members), they are now few and far between. But I still use the Fire TV Stick a lot for watching language stuff from YouTube on the big screen of my telly rather than the smaller phone or tablet screens. And the Prime membership does come in handy when I’m taking a break from language learning to watch “The Imitation Game” or “Paddington”. Not to mention that I’m ready for Clarkson, Hammond and May next year, now that they’ve left the BBC’s Top Gear and have signed with Amazon instead.

The Top Gear Trio on Amazon Prime

The Top Gear Trio on Amazon Prime

So, as you can see, our Prime membership gets used A LOT. Mostly, but not exclusively for language learning. I think it’s a must for every language learning enthusiast, and now is probably the best time to sign up. You get a month’s free trial anyway, and the free next day delivery is incredibly useful in the run-up to Christmas. Best of all, if you sign up through the link below, you’ll help us bring more language learning awesomeness to you in the future. What’s not to like? So go ahead, you know you want to 🙂

Try Amazon Prime free for a month!

Spanish resources

It’s great to find helpful resources. Here are our favorite Spanish books from class for you to read together at home.

La Oruga muy Hambrienta.

El Hombre de Pan de Jengibre.

Los Tres Certitos

Diez deditos de las manos y diez deditos de los pies.

German resources

It’s great to find great resources for language learning.
These are a few books we love to use in class. Simple text and interactive stories for you to read together at home.

A family is not complete without a Bollerwagen.

French Resources

It’s great to find good resources.Here are a few books we like to use in class. Simple text and interactive stories for you to share together at home.


Manuel¡Hola! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in Spanish. We love to share a Spanish story together too. Manuel is our friendly Spanish speaking puppet who encourages children to speak Spanish in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in Spanish. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke Spanish at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

Spanish weekly classes start in September


HeinzGuten Tag! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in German. We love to share a German story together too. Heinz is our friendly German speaking puppet who encourages children to speak German in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in German. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke German at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

German weekly classes restart January 2015 For holiday classes keep an eye on the front page. 1 to 1 German available all year round



PascalBonjour! At Lingotastic we love to sing and play and make in French. We love to share a French story together too. Pascale is our friendly French speaking puppet who encourages children to speak French in a group setting. We sing lots of fun active songs and children and grown ups soon join in and sing along in French. We often have a mix of bilingual families, expert speakers, those who spoke French at school, total beginners and it works really well. Through this fun we help promote family language learning by modelling simple techniques you can continue at home.

French weekly classes start in November

Interview with Sam and Catherine from B Small Publishing

As a family we’ve found it difficult to find good language learning resources, so over on our
resources page. we’ve compiled lots that we’d recommend. These resources were created as individuals realised there was a need and that they were able and willing to meet that need. There are inspiring stories behind all of the resources and this time we hear the story Sam and Catherine from bsmall publishing


Could you tell me little about yourself and your family?
My name is Catherine Bruzzone and I started the business in the early 1990s publishing high-quality activity books for the Early Learning Centre. After these first few titles, I started to create bilingual books focussing on first words in English-French and English-Spanish. At the time, I was married to an Italian and my young children were learning both English and Italian. Prior to being a publisher, I was an MFL teacher in secondary schools teaching French and Italian – so languages were in my blood! Sam has taken on the daily management of the business over the last few years and he also studied French and Italian so is keen to carry on this important side of our business.

How does your product help family language learning?
Our activity books are created for non-experts to introduce and practise foreign languages at home. We are a commercial enterprise and so focus on creating French and Spanish material because this is what we sell best – especially in North America. We have dabbled in Italian, German and Chinese and still have a few of these titles on our list. Kids and parents of all ages benefit hugely from having a go at foreign languages and it’s really important to encourage kids when they are not feeling self-conscious about their ability – so our books target kids aged 6 to 9 years (though we have a few first words and older stories), which we feel is a great age to encourage practical activities in foreign languages. They don’t replace a real teacher or local languages group but are a good support.
The_Rights_of_the_Language_Learner_-_b_small_publishing[1]Is there anything else you’d like to tell those reading our blog?
We have created a fantastic poster encouraging kids to ‘have a go’ at learning languages. It’s called Rights of the Language Learner and is available either in a posh A3 laminated version from Little Linguist or we can give you a free PDF that you can print yourself on bsmall publishing Please email us on books@bsmall.co.uk if you’d like to receive it!

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