Home Raising a Bilingual Child How to Start a Home Library

How to Start a Home Library

by Adrienne
Starting a Home Library

Starting a book collection or home library in the minority language does not have to be difficult task. Some people may say it is expensive to purchase books but with the tips provided below, I think you will find it is easy to stick to a budget when purchasing books.

There are many benefits to reading and having books available at home for children to pick up and either look at pictures or read. I find that reading is one of the most important parts of childhood. I know my own childhood was filled with hours reading Nancy Drew the Babysitters Club or The Boxcar children.

As a multilingual family in France, we do not really own books in the majority language or French. Here you can find out why we stopped speaking French at home. We may have a few books lying around, but I donated most of them to my kid’s school. We decided that if we want to read books in French we can borrow them from the local library.ù

However, we do own a large number of books in our target languages of Turkish, English and Arabic. I will be sharing more about that soon. Can you guess how many we have?

Tips on Starting a home library :

  • Start collecting books even before your children are born like favorites from your own childhood.
  • Buy books when you return to your home country.
  • Be mindful when purchasing – think about how you will use each book, I have made a few regrettable purchases and these books were donated
  • Make a wish list on Amazon and share with family and friends who live around you
  • Make another wish list on Amazon and share with family and friends who live abroad and will visit you
  • scour blog favorite book lists for titles
  • Buy used books from either your local library, yard sales or online from places like Betterworld books
  • Swap with your friends or have a monthly book swap with other mom friends and exchange books
  • Have your children save their allowance and let them pick a few new books every year
  • If you are on a tight budget and are unable to purchase, try an online book review house like Net Galley. You will need to have a blog and active Social Media account in order to start requesting books to review.

What do other Multicultural and Multilingual Families have to say ?

I have to buy whatever I need in advance and then have to limit to books I need – usually look through the contents page if buying online. Sometimes I am lucky that people are viisitng and order some books with them. Of course there’s always a kindle option, but I always prefer paperback. I would advice asking among other expats selling secondhand or find second hand shops. Also the local or in our case only book store does have some books so we use it as a library and browse around the books there.

Hafsa from @MamaTeachesMe

We started a rule in our home that we only own Spanish books. It’s been a journey, but I can now proudly say we only own Spanish books in our home. Usborne books has really helped with their new Spanish line, and letting family members know has helped, because they usually have their eyes open for Spanish books too. Really our family has been an invaluable resource and are responsible for most of the books we have.

Kayla Juanita Alonso

We also only buy books in our minority languages. It is tough at times, but it works really well. When people gift us books in the majority language, we read them once or twice and then gift them to someone else.

Annabelle Humanes from The Piri Piri Lexicon

Thankfully it’s getting much easier to find and purchase books in Spanish, all over the world! And new ones keep coming out, so these all of my book lists need updating already.

Elisabeth Alvarado from Spanish Mama

Are you interested in reading some more tips, check out Leanna’s post at All done Monkey where she shares how to find books in spanish for your toddler.

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Do you have any tips to add to this list?

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