Thursday, 5 July 2007

bilingual bibliophile

The day I wrote my name in teeny tiny letters for the first time, my mother said I was old enough to get my own library card. I don't quite remember what my reaction was, but I do remember being excited to be able to write so small. See, my mother's a children's librarian and books are in my blood, but the bibliophile gene didn't manifest itself until I was 21. It seems to be a dominant gene for Suzanne.

Since yesterday was Wednesday, I had to find an activity with Suzanne. So after picking up her French passport from the neighborhood mairie, we went to the other side of the same building to the library. As we went upstairs, I explained to Suzanne in a very quiet voice that in the library we need to use a library voice. We stepped into the library - as I continued to whisper - and Suzanne let out a loud "ee-yah" upon seeing a cat book.

As I filled out the library card applications for us both, the librarian said, "oh you're American. How unusual."
(for some strange reason in France, you always have to give your place of birth whenever you fill out anything at all). He was all excited to show me the "bilingual" section, a collection of maybe 20 (or less) books in English. I was of course happy to see 5 Eric Carle books that we don't have at home. After grabbing a couple Eric Carles, we went to the toddler section in the back of the library (which was empty except for the 3 librarians). There was a plastified mat on the floor and crates of books all at child height.

Suzanne's eyes lit up and her little mouth opened wide to scream "Wow wow wow!" As I made a mental note to say "wow" a little less, I put her down on the mat and she went as fast as her little limbs could take her straight for the books and proceded to take them out one by one, flipping through a couple pages and then taking another. I tried to explain to my daughter that at a library we don't 1) lick books, 2) take out every visible book or 3) tear the flaps. But to no avail.

After an hour of many attempts to read more than 1 page of any book (me) and taking out at least 30 books (her), Suzanne managed to only tear one lift the flap book (which in her defense had already been torn and repaired with scotch tape) and chew on one fabric book (blech!).

Not sure if the bibliophile gene will be so dominant as she grows up, but my mother the librarian can sleep well knowing that it didn't skip a generation. I'm also hoping that books will be a key to her English development since so far the only things she seems to say in English are wow and moo.

Note : Grandma is so excited to bring Suzanne to the library during her visit this summer.

1 comment:

The Late Bloomer said...

Oh, don't even get me started on the book love... And the children's book love to boot! I don't have children of my own, but I've already started a little library with some of my favorite books. I do hope to have the opportunity one day to share them with a wee one...

I worry sometimes that I won't speak enough English to my own children, but I'm determined to do so... I know we can get caught up in the stress of life over here and it can become easier to only use one language at home, but I really want to use English as much as possible.

In any case, that is an adorable photo! It's wonderful that she's already acquiring that love of books. I'm sure she's going to enjoy those trips to the library with her grandma as much as Grandma will!

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