Why did you decide to set up a bilingual children’s book publisher?
We felt there was a shortage of good quality dual-language books for primary and nursery children for Eastern European families in our local area of Wisbech. I taught in nurseries for more than 30 years, and in 2013 I decided to set up BeeLingual with my co-directors, one of whom was a head teacher and EAL [English as an additional language] leader. Our creative team consists of teachers, writers and designers, and we write and illustrate all our own books.
What makes your books different?
We really wanted to include parents. Inside the front cover we have a section written in both languages to help encourage a feeling of being included in their children’s education. We hope that the books will go into book bags for families to enjoy at home, but also encourage parents to come into school or nursery to share the story with a small group.
Why are these books so important?
We realise that Eastern European families might be feeling vulnerable in light of current uncertainties surrounding the details of Brexit, and we hope that the availability of these books in Lithuanian, Latvian, Polish and Russian in schools and libraries will help them to feel more included and welcome here. They are designed to encourage children to speak and read their home language so they continue to develop their vocabulary, as well as learning new words and gaining confidence in speaking English.