To learn a language you need to start somewhere…and what better way to learn Vietnamese than with the alphabet.
Title: My First Book of Vietnamese Words: An ABC Rhyming Book of Vietnamese Language and Culture
Author: Tran Thi Minh Phuoc
Illustrator: Nguyen Thi Hop and Nguyen Dong
ISBN: 9780804849074 Language: English with Vietnamese / Tiếng Việt keywords
Classification: Fiction with Non-Fiction elements
Themes: Vietnam, culture, alphabet
What’s it about?
This book is predominately in English but the majority of alphabet words are Vietnamese (except for letters that exist in the English language but not in Vietnamese). Each letter focuses on an important element of Vietnamese culture – such as food, family, clothing, etc.
Need to refer to the illustrations first because WOW! It was the bright, colourful cover that originally caught my eye and drew me to this book but in all honesty the cover is just a precursor to the individual pages which are just beautifully rendered. The text though is by no means playing second fiddle here. Each letter of the alphabet has a keyword in Vietnamese and written in bold and the English equivalent also bolded making the book easy to understand. And of course, I have to mention that each pages rhymes which adds a fluid enjoyment of this books.
For this book? Nope!
This book is published by Tuttle Publishing and so far each book of theirs I have read is always both beautifully written and illustrated. Finding easy bilingual books at an introductory level isn’t as easy as it sounds. While there are a lot of resources aimed for older students or adults the youngest of children is often overlooked – but not here.
This would be a lovely present for any young child aged from about 2 onwards – earlier if one or both parents speak Vietnamese and are raising their children as bilingual with English. I really love that they haven’t just picked random words and drawn a picture. For instance, for “K” the chosen word is kéo (candy). The actual verse for the kéo is about the fruit it is made from and when it is eaten – during the New Year. This book goes even one step further with a short explanation also included – in this case of the soursop fruit from which the kéo is made….and every page has this!
If homeschooling this is a lovely book to read to your child, either in one sitting or over several nights. Even if you are not fluent yourself there is an excellent pronunciation guide included and my children loved looking at the pictures and asking questions. It really is a captivating way of bringing a touch of this culture into your home or classroom to inspire children to want to learn more.