Tim Tim Tom Bilingual Books Teach Languages the FUN Way!

My children have been learning Mandarin since they were each five years old. We have been fortunate in that they have had the opportunity to work with a native speaker since the beginning. As a learning partner, I am always looking for resources to augment their language studies.

Image of a child reading a bilingual bookI especially love bilingual story books that provide them with rich text and an immersive storyline. While my own children are now teens and are more selective of their reading material, children’s books still provide a great way for them to practice reading in their target language.

Our Mandarin tutor has a family of his own now and we have enjoyed getting to know his daughter as we’ve continued our own language studies. When the opportunity arose to review the new bilingual books from Tim Tim Tom, I immediately thought of her.

Image of a child reading a bilingual bookI was most intrigued that the bilingual stories from Tim Tim Tom allowed for personalization. Not only is the text in the language of choice, but so is the character. I was able to customize the little girl in the story to look much like the little girl in my heart!

I had the book shipped directly to her and added a personal dedication to her in both languages. Her father shared with me that he read it with her when it arrived and that she looked at it herself throughout the day. “This girl is me! I just like Auntie Eva. She’s so nice.”

image of bilingual book covers labeling title and author Tim Tim Tom Publishing

Presently, they have three books (or adventures) currently available, each in either one or two languages of your choice.  You can simply order the book that you think you or your child might have the strongest connection.  As a volunteer at our local marine life center, my personal favorite is the underwater adventure so I chose it for my niece.

The ordering process is super easy. First, you choose the language or languages. I was then able to choose the name and the look of the main character as well as write a personal dedication.

As my niece is herself learning both Mandarin and English, I selected the dual-language option. Currently they offer the stories in TEN languages: Dutch, English, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Russian, Spanish, and Chinese (Simplified or Traditional). You can choose any two of these to appear in your chosen book.

An illustrated image of children reading a book - the 2019 poster image for Multicultural Children's Book DayMulticultural Children’s Book Day

Multicultural Children’s Book Day 2019 (1/25/19) is in its 6th year. It was founded by Valarie Budayr from Jump Into A Book and Mia Wenjen from PragmaticMom. Their mission is to raise awareness of the ongoing need to include kids’ books that celebrate diversity in homes and school bookshelves while also working diligently to get more of these types of books into the hands of young readers, parents and educators.

MCBD 2019 is honored to have the following Medallion Sponsors on board! View our 2019 Medallion Sponsors as well as our 2019 MCBD Author Sponsors.

We’d like to also give a shout-out to MCBD’s impressive CoHost Team who not only hosts the book review link-up on celebration day, but who also work tirelessly to spread the word of this event.

Collage image of each of the Multicultural Children's Book Day Co-Host Team

Co-Hosts and Global Co-Hosts

A Crafty Arab, Agatha Rodi Books, All Done Monkey, Barefoot Mommy, Biracial Bookworms, Books My Kids Read, Crafty Moms Share, Colours of Us, Discovering the World Through My Son’s Eyes, Descendant of Poseidon Reads, Educators Spin on it, Growing Book by Book, Here Wee Read, Joy Sun Bear/ Shearin Lee, Jump Into a Book, Imagination Soup,Jenny Ward’s Class, Kid World Citizen, Kristi’s Book Nook, The Logonauts, Mama Smiles, Miss Panda Chinese, Multicultural Kid Blogs, Raising Race Conscious Children, Shoumi Sen, and Spanish Playground

Twitter Party

Sponsored by Make A Way Media: MCBD’s super-popular (and crazy-fun) annual Twitter Party will be held 1/25/19 at 9:00pm.E.S.T. They are giving away TONS of prizes and book bundles during the party.

Resources from MCBD

Don’t forget to connect with us on social media and be sure and look for/use our official hashtag #ReadYourWorld.

Queen Girls: Inspiring Girls with Real Stories of Female Heroes

Today I divert from my usual content to share with you a book series that I am very excited about. Though my children are no longer the target age, I love the mission of Queen Girls – to inspire girls to follow their dreams and envision them as possible and I look forward to sharing the books with my nieces and nephews. I also love that the stories are based on real women – short biographies that highlight the struggles and successes of women the world over.

Often times, classic stories highlight the strength, courage and skills of men while female characters are often stereotyped or one-dimensionall: the mother figure, the homemaker, the exotic beauty, the love seeker.

Did you know that 57% of children’s books have male protagonists, while only 31% are female? We believe that we should be telling different stories to our children. Let’s encourage girls to find their happiness, passions, drive and self-confidence from within. At the same time, let’s help boys to move to a place of equality.

Queen Girls Kickstarter

They also believe in giving back to the community and this is why they stand on a One for One model. Every time you purchase a book, another will be donated to local and international organizations who are fighting illiteracy and empowering girls.

The first fairy tale is Bessie, Queen of the Sky inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license. The book will be available in English and Spanish.

When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

How to get involved?

They are running a Kickstarter campaign to collect necessary funds to print the first book! Queen Girls is hoping to reach like-minded people who can help them ‘kick’ their crowdfunding campaign! If you believe in their mission and want to be part of the movement, donate and receive one of the first limited copies here!

bessie-and-bloony-flying

This multicultural team is formed by Jimena Durán (Spain), Andrea Doshi (USA) and Chiara Fabbri (Italy). They bring their diverse experiences to this initiative along with tons of love and dedication. Their intention is to open this collection to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own Queens on board.

Books

Available in English & Spanish
Recommended age – 4 to 7 y.o.
32 page, hardcover & digital

Bessie, Queen of the Sky! Inspired by the story of Bessie Coleman, the first African American woman to hold a pilot’s license in the world – When Bessie was growing up, no one could have imagined that a girl from a humble family would get out of the cotton fields and become a pilot. But with the help of her best friend Bloony, Bessie uses her courage and determination to make her dream come true!

Isadora, the Rebel Queen! Inspired by the story of Isadora Duncan, a ballerina who danced away from rigid ballet technique towards what she perceived as natural movement. Influenced by the sea, she started dancing like no one ever did before, imitating the waves of the sea with her arms and feet – She defied conventionalist minds by creating what today we refer to as Modern Dance or “Barefoot Style.”

Savi, Queen of Education! Inspired by the story of Savitribhai Phule, a woman poet, an educationalist and a social reformer, Savi was one of the earliest crusaders of education for girls in India. She defied all odds to become the first female teacher at the first women’s school founded by her and her family.

And more books to come! We have the firm intention to grow this collection and open it up to fellow authors and illustrators that could potentially bring their own queens on board.

If this sounds appealing to you, please pledge to make it happen here!

#queeengirls #childrensbooks #booksforgirls
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Christmas in the North Woods: A Jan Brett Winter Author Study

Jan Brett is one of my favorite children’s authors.  I love not only her amazing illustrations and the intricate and intriguing borders she is so well known for, but I also love her stories.  She is an amazing story teller – both in print and in person.  We had the wonderful opportunity to hear her speak earlier this year while she was on a book tour to promote Mossy (you can read about our experience in my post, Meeting Jan Brett).

Jan Brett is a best-selling American author/illustrator of children’s books. Her books are known for colorful, detailed depictions of a wide variety of animals and human cultures ranging from Scandinavia to Asia. Today, I share with you a number of her books that share the spirit of Christmas in the north woods.

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jan brett author study

I have written a lot about Scandinavian Christmas traditions here at Academia Celestia.  It is during the Christmas season that the culture and traditions of our ancestors have been most obvious. In addition, we enjoy reading a variety of traditional Christmas stories.  This year, we will be incorporating an author study as well.  I’ve compiled here a number of literature connections and activities that you can also use to experience the spirit of Christmas in the North Woods with your children.

Christmas Trolls

  • Explore the prevalence of trolls in Norwegian literature; consider reading tales by Peter Christen Asbjørnsen, and Jørgen Engebretsen Moe.
  • Draw your own trolls and make up your own stories describing their mischief.
  • Compare trolls and nisse – How are they the same?  How are they different?

The Night Before Christmas

  • Watch Jan Brett’s All About The Night Before Christmas movie
  • Create handmade ornaments to decorate your tree. Jan shares a few on her website.
  • Put on a short play to act out this delightful story for your family.

Who’s That Knocking on Christmas Eve?

  • Make a list of the traditional foods you eat on Christmas
  • Learn how to make one new traditional holiday recipe – consider Seven Sorts: Traditional Norwegian Christmas Cookies
  • Teach your children how to prepare a favorite family recipe
  • Write about the traditions in your home. Research the cultural significance of one (or more)

The Three Snow Bears

  • Visit a zoo to observe live polar bears
  • Consider doing a nature journal entry on bears
  • Learn How to Draw a Baby Polar Bear
  • Watch a documentary on polar bears
  • Research the arctic tundra biome. What is the average yearly precipitation here? Is this trend changing?

The Wild Christmas Reindeer

  • Research the arctic tundra biome. What other animals live here? What adaptations do they have to survive this cold climate?
  • Enjoy the story The Christmas Wish by Lori Evert – a delightful Nordic tale of a little girl who wants to help Santa’s elves.  From a red bird to a polar bear to a reindeer, a menagerie of winter animals help Anja make her way to Santa
  • Research the Sami culture of Scandinavia and Russia.  What are their customs and beliefs?

Gingerbread Baby

  • Bake and decorate your own gingerbread cookies or a gingerbread house, if you are ambitious
  • Visit (at least virtually) the world’s largest gingerbread city in Bergen, Norway – Pepperkakebyen

Home for Christmas

  • Write a letter to a someone serving in the military who is away from home during the holidays.
  • Learn How to Draw a Moose

BookBigIdeaWinter

This post is iHomeschool Network’s A Book & Big Idea: Winter & Christmas series.

The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh :: Book Sharing Monday

The Caged Birds of Phnom Penh is a lovely book written by Frederick Lipp and illustrated by Ronald Himler.  The story takes place outside the city of Phnom Penh in Cambodia.  Evocative watercolors and poetic words create a book that is a treasure to behold and to read together. 

Ary, a young Cambodian girl living with her family, dreams of a better life beyond the busy, smog filled city. She sells flowers to the tourists, giving her earnings to her family and setting a bit aside for her dream of tomorrow. Each morning, she visits the bird lady in the market as she saves her hard earned money to buy the brightly feathered bird who will carry her dreams. 


What touched us was Ary’s indomitable spirit.  Cambodia is a country in Southeast Asia that borders Thailand, Laos, and Vietnam.  It is mainly a farming nation that consists of flatlands, water, and a warm tropical climate ideal for successful rice farming (the main agricultural product).  Though Ary has spent all her life in Phnom Penh, she has heard stories of the green countryside where rice grows and birds fly free.  She dreams of escaping the polluted city where she and her family live in poverty.  But how will she chose the one her grandfather calls the ‘blessed bird’ who has the love of freedom in its heart?


For more information about Cambodia, check out the Culture Keys at Teaching Life Lessons through Literature website.  

Butterfly Tree :: Book Sharing Monday

We enjoyed a remarkable weekend in Santa Cruz this past weekend (I’ll post more soon).  One of the things we most looked forward to seeing were the Monarch butterflies at the Monarch Grove Sanctuary.  From our research, we learned that the butterflies begin arriving here in October and stay through the winter, generally departing around March.  We envisioned trees awash in orange and black, concealing the leaves beneath.  Sadly, this was not to be.  We’ve had such a mild winter this past year that the butterflies have departed much sooner than usual.


An enchanting story, Butterfly Tree written by Sandra Markle and illustrated by Leslie Wu came to mind while we were there.  In the story, a young girl named Jilly is walking on the beach with her dog when she looks up in the sky and sees a wispy mist that turns into something orange.  What could it be – a fallout from a distant volcano, smoke from a faraway fire?  She teams up with her mother to follow the orange cloud overhead into the woods.  All along, I have the feeling the mother knows but plays along and adds to her daughter’s curiosity.  At last they come upon a tree covered by thousands of Monarch butterflies.   Through words and pictures, this book demonstrates the importance of children experiencing the many mysteries of the planet.  We didn’t share quite this same experience, however, it was memorable nonetheless.  

One of the pleasures of parenting is being able to create such memories with our children.  We look forward to visiting this area again as well as to a new film documentary, The Butterfly Trees

Canada’s Railway :: Book Sharing Monday

The Kids Book of Canada’s Railway and How the CPR Was Built 
by Deborah Hodge

  
We stumbled across this book at the Friends of Jasper National Park gift store in Jasper, British Columbia. Buddy became engrossed in the illustrations immediately.  I purchased it for him and to our delight, it became very useful when we discovered the Spiral Tunnel in Yoho National Park.  Prior to this trip we weren’t familiar with this engineering marvel – I had heard of similar tunnels in Norway but I didn’t know they existed in North America.

Buddy was spellbound.  Though it was very cold we waited for a train to pass through the tunnels while we were there.  Fortunately, on the drive to the viewpoint from Lake Louise, we had passed by two trains traveling in that direction so we knew if we were patient enough, our efforts would be rewarded.

November 7, 1885, marked the completion of one of the longest, most expensive, most challenging engineering feats in the world — the Canadian Pacific Railway. A ribbon of steel now united Canada from east to west. It took 30,000 workers less than five years to cross the wild land.  Working from both directions, teams of railroad workers laid track and blasted through the mountains.  When they finally broke through, the teams were within centimeters of matching perfectly.   

This is the story of Canada’s first transcontinental railway and the thousands of people who made the dream of a united Canada a reality. This is also a look at the freight trains, school trains, troop trains and passenger trains that helped shape a country, the people who worked and rode on them and what our railway system looks like today.  We’ve read it several times – it is fast becoming a favorite.

On our drive home, my little guy talked endlessly about the trains and began to describe a model that he planned to build upon our return.  He got started right away, collecting materials for the track (small sticks) and landscape (old pine cones for trees).  I was very impressed with his ingenuity and how well he and his sister worked together.  She had asked him if she could help and he was delighted.

Needless to say, we were very impressed with the prevalence of Canada’s railways and look forward to a future transcontinental journey aboard a passenger train.