Jun 15, 2021 / 08:08

First English-Vietnamese bilingual books introduced in the US

Some bilingual books for children imbued with Vietnamese culture are now available for sale in the US.

Two Vietnamese-English books have recently been released in the US by TinyWrist, a group of Vietnamese parents living abroad, which would serve as a teaching aid for educating their children in the Vietnamese language and culture.

The book entitled The colors of Tet by Tiny Wrist was listed among the books about Tet worth reading by Ditto magazine (US). Photo: TinyWrist

The idea came from Tam Le, one of the founders of TinyWrist, when this Vietnamese American mother found out that there are plenty of books for kids in the US but none in Vietnamese.

“Everything surrounding us, from birth, is in English. Vietnamese texts are far and few in between, and even when they are presented, it is often not in the most appealing format,” Le said.

I wish to change that for our little kids. Why don’t we make bilingual books that are both visually appealing and culturally interesting and raise admiration and curiosity?”

Tam decided to call on the overseas Vietnamese community to raise funds for publishing bilingual books.

TinyWrist was founded in 2020 with the participation of overseas Vietnamese in different countries. They are editors, musicians, and artists who love and care about Vietnam and its cultural heritage.

Thanks to their efforts, six months later, the two books titled The colors of Tet (Mau cua Tet) and 10 Nursery Rhymes from Vietnam (10 Khuc dong dao) have been published, making them special gifts for their fellow Vietnamese expats and the next overseas Vietnamese generations. 

The book 10 khuc dong dao or 10 Nursery Rhymes from Vietnam was selected for a Kickstarter “Project We Love” in the US. Photo: TinyWrist   

The book entitled The colors of Tet teaches kids how to read symbols of Tet including Banh Chung (traditional cake) or peach and kumquat trees, in addition to traditional customs in the festival. Meanwhile, the 10 Nursery Rhymes from Vietnam features a variety of traditional Vietnamese rhymes, about animals, family, folk games, among others.

The books have been welcomed and appreciated by the Vietnamese community abroad as they are exactly what the overseas Vietnamese people are looking for and are unable to find for a long time.

One of them, Phuoc Panuccio living in the US, said: “There aren't many bilingual books out there that teach Vietnamese customs to our children, so I was pleased to discover these books. The illustrations are beautiful and the stories are well translated and lovely to read. Can't wait to see what other books get published, as it's important to keep our culture and traditions alive in every way possible.”

The books and songs that are published by TinyWrist are expected to help to nurture the love of the fatherland among overseas Vietnamese kids. Photo: TinyWrist  

Not only overseas Vietnamese parents love books, but also those in Vietnam. They desire to buy the books soon for their children.

Hai Anh, an English teacher in Vietnam, said that her son is very interested in learning English from familiar Vietnamese terms.

Tam said that the Tiny Wrist would add more books to the collection in the coming time. “It has been such a wonderful journey for us to make these books and we are very happy to see how they are welcomed."

"We hope to bring more quality content to the readers soon,” she said, before adding that they were working on another book about the Vietnamese Mid Autumn Festival.

The group also makes new music videos of Vietnamese children’s songs for Vietnamese kids all over the world and nurtures the understanding and love of their fatherland.

The colors of Tet is listed among the books about Tet worth reading by Ditto magazine (US) and 10 Nursery Rhymes from Vietnam were selected for a Kickstarter “Project We Love”, which highlights projects the staff believed were extra special and noteworthy. Projects chosen for this honor are not endorsed by Kickstarter but are given special badges to show Kickstarter users that they are well-planned campaigns that deserve additional exploration.

The Mot Con Vit - One Little Duck song is covered by TinyWrist group: