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Inspiration

Dear Diary: I Bet It Would Be Cool to Be Bilingual!

Dear Diary, So here I am. Six weeks in the womb. And I’m bored silly. I mean, there’s not much to do in here besides grow. I can’t even start kicking until I have legs. That’ll be kind of fun, I guess, but so far this life stuff has been really dull. No TV, no video games, no nothing. So I’m starting this diary

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Guest Post: Alice in a Bilingual Wonderland – How to Nurture the Minority Language with Creativity and Mindset

Prologue Alice looked like my dad. She was seven seconds old and lay on my wife Bénédicte’s stomach, staring at me through cloudy eyes. That was a relief; not the cloudy eyes, the looking like my Dad. Definitely a Fielding, unquestionably half-English. Béné leaned over and kissed Alice’s mushy head and whispered, “Bonjour ma Belle,” into her left ear. I leaned over, my life having changed forever, and said, “Hello Alice, welcome to the world,” into her right ear. And

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Can This Difficult Time Also Be an Opportunity for Your Family?

What a surreal six weeks since my last post. The swift, worldwide spread of the coronavirus has abruptly upended the lives we had grown so accustomed to living—and has even stirred deep pangs of existential anxiety about survival itself. (Full disclosure: I have a congenital heart condition—which I only found out about two years ago—and though I’m still reasonably healthy, this probably puts me at a higher risk of more serious illness.) Still, as trying as this time is, in

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This Is the Bottom Line for Success at Raising Bilingual Kids

Two threads of my life, both of them months in the making, have suddenly come together with the same message. The first thread involves my 15-year-old daughter and an English speech contest (recitation contest) that took place on Saturday. This event was the culmination of a long process that began in the spring, when her English teacher at school encouraged her to take part. When Lulu, now in her third and last year of junior high at a public school

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NEW! The Perfect Book for Parents Raising Bilingual Kids

Just in time for Christmas! I WANT TO BE BILINGUAL! is the perfect book for parents—especially new parents and parents of younger kids—who dream of raising bilingual or multilingual children. Written by Adam Beck, author of the popular guide Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability, this playful book is a unique “picture book for adults” with delightful illustrations by Pavel Goldaev. Narrated by a lively baby, the book emphasizes the most important information parents need for realizing joyful success on a

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 5: Back to Japan, and Back to Our Key Habits and Routines

One of the core principles for successfully raising bilingual or multilingual children (key question #6 in 45 Key Questions Every Parent Raising a Bilingual Child Should Ask) is this: Effective habits and routines that can provide the child with ample exposure in the target language, and create regular opportunities for him or her to use this language actively, must be made and sustained—and reshaped, as necessary—over the years of childhood. In our case, for example, some of my long-running habits and

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 4: The Sweet Joy of Playing with Small Children

The adorable three-year-old girl was sitting on the stairs, telling me all about her “babies”—her dolls and stuffed animals that were adorned with band-aids (“plasters” she called them, in the British English she spoke) because, she said, they were ill or had gotten injured. And at that moment, in my very first homestay of the trip, I flashed on my own daughter when she was the same small, incredibly-cute age and I suddenly missed that time terribly. A large lump

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 3: Lunch with Simon Farrow

Another special highlight from my trip was the opportunity to meet in person, for the very first time, the artist who worked so hard on the illustrations for my novel, How I Lost My Ear, a funny, action-packed epic for older children and adults that was published in January 2018. In fact, before we met, I had spoken to him only once, over Skype, and that was just briefly. Otherwise, we communicated through email: many, many, many messages over the

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 2: Old Friends, New Friends

I met many people on my trip through Europe, and most of them I was meeting for the very first time. I suppose, then, that I should call them “new friends,” but in fact, they felt much more like “old friends” for these two reasons: I had already gotten to know them quite well through my work online: through my blog and my forum, through email, and even through Skype. I feel a special kinship with other parents of bilingual

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Reflections on My Five Weeks in Europe, Part 1: Gratitude

One of my very favorite quotes, from Meister Eckhart, is this: If the only prayer you say in your entire life is ‘Thank You,’ that would suffice. As I sit here at my kitchen table, in my small house in Hiroshima, Japan, I struggle to begin writing about my five weeks in Europe. It was such a big experience for me, in so many ways, that sharing it in some orderly fashion feels overwhelming. So, rather than one long post,

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If You Like Blueberries and Bilingual Children, You’ll Enjoy This Blog Post

Over the years, my family has followed an annual tradition, each August, of driving out to a large blueberry patch that’s located in the countryside about 90 minutes from Hiroshima. We spend much of the day there picking blueberries and breaking for a picnic lunch. This tradition started when Lulu was two. In fact, we originally stumbled upon the blueberry patch by accident when we were out searching for a larger fruit farm, our original destination. Here’s Lulu that first

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