Polish children books for parents who learn Polish
There are probably only a couple of days in my life when I wasn’t reading a book – not even a page. Since I learnt how to read I haven’t stopped. I used to love children’s literature, then as a Polish Literature and Grammar student I was required to really read a lot – a few books a week (I was even considering a speed reading course but, I didn’t end up following through).
And here we are, as a life is a circle, I have returned to children’s literature. And to be honest, I really enjoy it. Growing up in the time of communism in Poland, it wasn’t possibility to read beautiful, colourful, nicely published books.
There is another side to my reading passion. I am a book buyer! I do love libraries and sometimes I borrow books from friends, BUT there is this significant occasion when I can buy a book and smell the freshly printed pages, touch the smooth paper and enjoy this intimate moment – me and my new book. And a glass of wine.
Most of the books I am buying currently are Polish books for my children. The truth is that when I became a first time mum and I wanted to buy something for my son I was really confused. I visited Polish online bookstores and honestly didn’t know what to buy. As we live in Australia, shipping to us is very often more expensive than the value of the book. We really can’t afford the risk that a book we receive will disappoint us or it will not interest my children. To avoid this problem and get some inspiration I have joined a few Polish parent’s groups on Facebook. I started following bestselling lists in bookshops and after while I created my wish list.
Polish at home
One of my most popular courses, “Polish at home” is dedicated to students in a relationship with Polish people, who very often raise bilingual children. Students often ask me: How can I be more involved in this bilingual process? What, apart from studying Polish, can I do?
My answer is often the same: Read Polish children’s books together! Why?
Benefits of reading to children
There are many obvious benefits of reading to your children, in any language: your native language or Polish, or third language if you can! The connections between reading and your child’s future success and wellbeing are well established. Research says that 10 minutes of reading time a day can develop your child’s vocabulary and bring many benefits. There is a special bond during this reading time that is precious.
Benefits of reading to bilingual children
When you raise your bilingual child, reading in the minority language is one of the ways to introduce the literary language, idioms and vocabulary we don’t use during our every day conversations. The cultural and social advantages are also very evident – living in Australia, my son knows snow games, forest animals, Polish traditions – mostly or only from Polish literature.
Being surrounded by English, in our case, we do everything to balance language proportion. We all speak Polish at home, I speak only Polish to my children, we read mostly Polish books, listen to Polish audiobooks in the car, CDs with lullabies etc. We create a supportive environment to let this minority language survive and thrive.
Once, my son told me that he prefers me to read him books at his bed time as Polish books are better and more interesting. That was really nice to hear from a 4 year old.
How to find perfect book for you and your children
I have heard from many parents that their kids haven’t found Polish books very fascinating, that they prefer English ones. My advice to you is let them discover Polish literature based on theirs interests. Sit together and find something which may meet their enthusiasm. The Internet gives us so many opportunities these days. Do one step. And then another. And just keep going.
Does my Australian husband read in Polish to our kids? He does but, mostly when I am not around. Sometimes I can hear them reading Polish books from the other side of the house. Marvelous moments. Here is a list of easy books, with simple sentences and stories, about family life and some realistic adventures.
Books even beginning students can read
For beginner and intermediate readers I highly recommend Pucio and Kicia Kocia.
The first one has excellent construction. Including; the main story, vocabulary divided by categories beside and nice pictures.
Kicia Kocia is also my son’s and husband’s favourite as it has easy to read sentences that are familiar to our adventures.
My students have to read to children as a homework
Don’t be afraid to read in Polish to your children. Even if you don’t understand 100% of what you are reading. Don’t forget that your child does and you can always ask for a translation. If you both struggle with understanding – follow the pictures and use your imaginations.
Treat this as your homework or exercise. Use a dictionary after or before – you will be surprised how you will improve your vocabulary and sentence construction. You won’t need to study cases as proper forms of nouns will come naturally.
Toilet training with a Polish book – why not
When my son was nearly 2, this book – Nocnik nad nocnikami by Alona Frankel – was the number one favourite. Especially for the illustrated pages of this short novel. A great lesson to pick parts of body.
Books must be fascinated
2 years! That’s how long my son loved Fireman Sam. He honestly knew everything about fire stations and firemen. And again, we followed his fascinations by supporting him with something bonus – Polish language. There was no Fireman Sam. It’s only Strażak Sam in our family, books and DVD! We did the same when he swapped his love for Paw Patrol – only Psi patrol at our home. DVD and small books are very efficient – you can post many of them for $20!
Books for advanced students
Basia by Zofia Stanecka is a series of books, which my son loves. My husband has found them more difficult to read. Mostly because they are longer stories and use more advanced vocabulary. So I recommend Basia books for kids 3+ and advanced spoken students. But a series Basia i Franek is suitable for little ones and even beginners.
Books to talk about – students challenge
Some of the books I bought are only illustrated with a minimal amount of text. Don’t refrain from buying them. Rok w lesie by Emilia Dziubak is our number one. I am so delighted that my son knows words like paśnik, leśniczy, szop pracz, and bocian.
If you don’t have time for reading, just press play 😉 We love audiobooks as well. Especially in the car. Currently we have 3 audiobooks in our cd player. Dzieci z Bullerbyn, Pippi Pończoszanka and Emil ze Smalandii – the most famous Swedish children’s books by Astrid Lindgren and read by Polish actress Edyta Jungowska.
Even bed time can be great opportunity to learn Polish, including singing and listening to lullabies. Nearly every night we play the same record – Magda Umer i Grzegorz Turnau Kolysanki Utulanki and after 4 years we know exactly every word – all of us.
Most of the lyrics you can find also in Zasypianki.
These books are perfect to read, learn to read, practice vocabulary, listen or just for fun! I hope you will find it pleasurable.
Most of my recommendations are good for children 1-5 year old.
If you know someone who would find this article helpful, please share the link! Sharing is caring!