Pram Jam with Beth – Multilingual Babies

I am (and always have been) fascinated by etymology – I love knowing quirky  little bits of information about languages. The tiny amount of Italian that I studied in school was just barely enough to allow me to order food and wine in Italy, so I am forever envious of the families who speak more than one language fluently – the wonderful benefits of raising multilingual babies amaze me!

It all gets me thinking…. What if I had married a tall dark and handsome (foreign) man?

Or, if we could afford to hire an au pair, would I find one who was happy to immerse my baby in another language?

It is unlikely that I will find an opportunity to move with the kids overseas like those families on House Hunters International, so I think that I will have to tackle this myself! There is certainly information and resources available, from the library and online, as well as numerous opportunities to immerse the children in our own culturally diverse communities locally. My pronunciation may leave a lot to be desired but thankfully there is YouTube to help with that. Look out my baby, there will be some fun books and silly songs coming your way!

These first books are simple stories written on each page both in English and a second language, which makes reading them to your young linguists easy and fun:

My Daddy Is a Giant FrenchMon papa est un géant = My daddy is a giant / Carl Norac, Ingrid Godon ; French translation by Gwennola Orio-Claunec (French/English)

BearsBirthdaySpanishBear’s birthday = El cumpleanos de Oso / Stella Blackstone, Debbie Harter (Spanish/English)

fasterfastermasrapidomasrapidoFaster! Faster! = Mas rapido! Mas rapido! / Leslie Patricelli  (Spanish/English, board book)

goodnightmoonBuenasNochesLunaGoodnight moon = Buenas noches, luna / by Margaret Wise Brown ; pictures by Clement Hurd ; translation by Teresa Mlawer (Spanish/English, board book)

AdayLaGiornataAA day = La giornata : English-Italian / designed by Hakan San Bortecin (Italian/English, board book)

a-nest-in-springtimeA nest in springtime : a bilingual book of numbers / Belle Yang (Chinese/English, board book)


These three gorgeous board books are written by Abigail Samoun, who is a literary agent specialising in children’s books. Abigail follows a simple pattern in these books, introducing babies and children to a single word in eight languages through an around-the-world trip. Slightly older children can follow the route using the map at the back of the books. I hope that she releases more in this series!

For in real life support in your multilingual journey, we are fortunate to have some great multicultural playgroups accessible locally via Playgroup WA as well as Meerilinga. There are also community groups and private businesses here in Perth which provide wonderful opportunities for multilingual families to socialise and access other resources. The Bilingual Families Perth website and facebook page is a community based group worth tapping into These options make perfect accompaniments to the Cockburn Libraries LOTE (Languages other than English) collections which are held at Spearwood Library and Success Library.

I am hoping to add some CALD (culturally and linguistically diverse) songs and rhymes to our line up at Coolbellup Library Pram Jam sessions, so if you have any favourites that you would like to add to our list please let me know! I promise that I won’t ask you to stand up and sing them alone, I will do up a song sheet and learn them myself first 😉 We’re also starting a LETS (learning English through storytime) program this coming term at Success Library, please check out Jessica’s post about these sessions to see if they would suit your family’s circumstances.

For our rhymes today, I would like to share these awesome Nyoongar language songs from YouTube user cally jetta. You can find videos of ‘Head, Shoulders, Knees and Toes’ in so many languages on YouTube, it’s a great song to start your multilingual journey with. The 2nd video is a gorgeous traditional Nyoongar song, I love watching how the baby reacts to the voices 🙂 If you click the link to view on YouTube you will see the lyrics written in Nyoongar and translated into English which will help with the meanings of the songs.

Well, there we go! Another blog done and dusted 😉 Happy singing and reading to you all and we’ll see you back at Pram Jam once term starts up again.

REMINDER: the first Monday of term 2 is a public holiday for ANZAC day, 25th April, so there won’t be a session at Coolbellup that week. Success will have their regular Wednesday and Thursday sessions on 27th and 28th April, then Coolbellup Library will have a special Mother’s Day Morning Tea Pram Jam on Monday 2nd May and Spearwood will have their monthly Pram Jam on Thursday 5th May.


Author: Beth

I present the Pram Jam sessions at Coolbellup Library on Mondays during school term, and have worked with Cockburn Libraries since 2003 (with a few breaks here and there to look after my brood of boys). I have a special interest in early childhood development and the practice of attachment parenting - if you are curious I can always point you towards my favourite books in the parenting collection.

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Pram Jam with Beth – Multilingual Babies

by Beth time to read: 4 min




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