A book can be a child’s best friend! Encouraging a child to choose a book over a digital gadget isn’t always easy for some parents and when you are trying and hoping that your child learns to read and write in multiple languages, then you’ve got to have strength, perseverance and luck on your side! Add another dimension – appreciation of art, and you’ve got your task cut out!
I acknowledge the fact that bringing up a multilingual child isn’t always easy! I was under the impression that if you are away from your home country, then ensuring that your child learns about their home country (or rather the child’s parents’ country), the culture and the language would be the hardest! But, I recently discovered, rather surprisingly, that most mothers of toddlers in India, face, pretty much similar hurdles, as the influence of global cultures is enormous and in this mad fast world, simply making sure your child learns the home country’s language, the culture and traditions and stays close to their roots has been made rather difficult.
However, there are a lot of books and learning aids available, as if making up for the earlier joint-family system, where grandparents passed on this knowledge on a daily basis without any additional tools, simply by telling stories of their lives…Anyway, since the joint families have almost ceased to exist, some clever companies have taken on the responsibility of teaching your young child a language of your choice through the medium of books and different learning devices, with lots of stories about your culture, art and craft and tradition thrown in.
When my son was younger, a friend, very kindly gave me some amazing books that had stories in multiple languages, that he thoroughly enjoyed. Now, my little girl (well, technically my sister’s but hey ho!) is going to benefit from these books too and I am totally geared up to see what else is out there in the market to help the little ones grow up into fine multilingual young readers with an appreciation for art.
A. Ramachandran, a major figure in the contemporary Indian art scene, whose books for children have been published across the globe, stresses on the importance of reading for kids very well. He says in an interview published in ‘The Indian quarterly magazine’ that an ideal book for a child develops with the child and can be referred to even when the child is a grown-up. Its function, is to make that child aware of a world beyond his or her own—a world worth imagining and dreaming of. Very well said…true, isn’t this?
Remember, your childhood books and stories? I certainly do and so, here I am, telling you what I know about the different companies that are available to help you with your child’s learning, irrespective of where you are in this world! Some books have left me totally mesmerized! Beautifully illustrated books, either hand-printed, or illustrated using Indian folk art like Madhubani, Gond, Bhil paintings with wonderful, simple stories. These make lovely presents, either for your own child or for someone else’s child…Spread the love, spread the knowledge with these books.
If books aren’t enough, there are other toys and games like wooden blocks in multiple languages to help your child learn or perhaps consider a board game like ‘scrabble’ in Hindi called ‘Aksharit’ to build on language skills!