Bilingualism is definitely something we strive for in our family. I grew up speaking both English and Mandarin in Singapore. I do not believe that exposing a child to more than one language slows his speech development or causes any sort of confusion that messes their little brilliant minds up. In today’s shrinking world, knowing a second language will come in as an asset in the future. However, exposing Theo to Mandarin also means giving him an insight to Chinese culture and half his roots.
One of our tasks in Singapore whilst we’re on holiday is to get excellent Chinese materials for Theo. I’m fortunate that Singapore is a heaven for looking for great books. At Kinokuniya Book Store, we found him A Visit to Ah Ma, a Chinese book with local context and Pin Yin.
An imaginative boy, who clearly loves his grandmother a lot, dreams of visiting her. He pretends to be a skilled doubler decker bus driver. His journey to his grandmother’s is full of adventures as traffic lights and zebra crossings come to live.
The illustrations depicted in the book of those of scenes in Singapore – Marina Bay Sands, the Esplanade, Singapore Flyer, HDB flats and so on.
This is such a great book for Theo who will be turning one next month. Apart from exposing him to Mandarin, I’ll be able to point out landmarks in Singapore to him and talk about them.