As you know, I do library volunteer at my son’s former elementary school. Recently I have been reading aloud the book shown in the photo to the classes. I found it to be excellent. I’m pretty picky about the books I choose for the class reading. I like books with simple text and at least some simple words. (I teach about eight or so words from the book using flashcards that I draw myself.) I also like books with interesting storylines. I’d prefer nothing too babyish for the older kids. This book is kind of pushing it–a little babyish. But I think it was okay. It wasn’t overly so, I think, possibly due to the excellent artwork.
I find it quite difficult to find picture books for the older kids–the simple text along with mature themes. I don’t use books like “Where’s Baby Belly Button?”–even if that English is totally appropriate. I worry that the sixth graders will think, “Gosh! This is baby stuff!” And start to dislike English.
Plus I also have to find books that are available to me in both Japanese and English. I always borrow the Japanese version from the library, and I often purchase the English version myself. I have done without the Japanese version and translated the English version into Japanese before, but I don’t think I want to do that anymore because it is a real pain. (Translating is very hard work!)
Furthermore, I like the visual effect of holding up TWO books in TWO languages. It really drives home that they are the SAME book but one in English and one in Japanese. Many students have never really seen a foreign language book and are very interested in the English version.