Books about bilingualism

Sinews recommends…


Edith Harding-Esch and Philip Riley. Published by Cambridge University Press, 2003.

Written for: Parents who are considering the option of raising their children in two or more languages or that have already undergone the process, and for professionals that work with bilingual children.
Why read it: It offers concrete examples of different ways to approach a bilingual upbringing, especially focusing on language, when and who speaks with the child. It helps to prepare for what to expect when it comes to language development in children exposed to two languages. It offers a detailed and practical plan for this project.
This book can be purchased at: Amazon in English.


Una Cunninham-Anderson and Staffan Anderson. Published by Routledge, 2004.

Written for: Parents who have or would like to create a bilingual home environment, and for professionals who work with children who are being brought up with two languages.
Why read it: It offers comprehensive and accurate insight into the everyday life of a bilingual home: the most common expectations, difficulties, organizational aspects, results and problems that can arise for the child and family.
This book can be purchased at: Amazon in English.


Barbara Zurer Pearson.

Written for: Bicultural or multilingual parents who plan on creating a bilingual family, parents who do not speak more than one language and want to know if they can also, parents who have children who speak more than one language and need advice on specific problems. Relatives or friends who do not understand why one would take on such a project. Health and education professionals interested in acquiring basic knowledge about bilingualism.

Why we recommend the book:
 Table of Contents: 1. The Benefits of Childhood Bilingualism – 2. Learning a First Language – 3. Learning Two (or More) Languages – 4. Establishing a Bilingual Environment – 5. How-To Testimonials – 6. Are There Any Children Who Cannot Learn Two Languages? – 7. Research Comparing Monolinguals and Bilinguals – 8. About Bilingual Identity – Nº pages: 256.

This book is like a cake. Barbara Zurer has achieved the ideal mix of ingredients to spark interest and to help understand why the strategies to achieve bilingual children work. Between the raw materials: large doses of teaching skill (she explains concepts as complex as learning a native language in a way that make them seem simple); a sort of phobia to give the same recipes to all keeping in mind that there are many methods that work, and an optimistic tone based on her experience as a linguist with successful multilingual families worldwide. It’s fun because it is fresh, direct, includes interesting facts about scientific studies, useful experiences taken from real families, tests to find out what the pros and cons are of your sitution, or what method will work best to create your bilingual family. The icing on the cake is the Resource Section. Disadvantages that the book has: It places emphasis on basic concepts and can be repetitive, but at the same time it facilitates reading of individual chapters as a reference book.

SINEWS score: 9’5, User-friendly: 9, Useful, practical: 10, Up to date information: 9, Serious/ fun: 9 – There were no conflicts of interest detected (Religious or pertaining to an ideology)