Bilingual Children’s Author Kathleen Delaney on Introducing Young Readers to New Languages


An example of the bilingual delights of Mari's Journey.

An example of the bilingual delights of Mari’s Journey.

We are proud and happy to announce we will shortly publish our first bilingual children’s book, Mari’s Journey, by Kathleen Delaney.

The book tells the story of a curious Emperor butterfly named Mari. In the story, she travels through a whimsical world of delightful animals. Join her on a colorful voyage told through engaging full-color illustrations and bilingual poetry. Mari’s Journey is a gem not only for elementary readers but for those learning a second language and anyone with a love for contemporary poetry. This is an imaginative excursion you’ll never forget!

AbyD asked Kathleen a bit about her love for multilingual learning:

AbyD: How did you get interested in stories told in two languages?

Kathleen: This is my first bilingual book, though it’s not my first book. My interest developed because I was tutoring children who were learning a second language. As I struggled with finding enough interesting material to share with them, I realized that they responded more when they saw something fun and that those materials helped them to learn more.

Which languages do you speak?

English and Spanish, which are what Mari’s Journey is written in, though I have other versions available too such as Korean and English. I live in an area with lots of Korean people, so I’m becoming familiar with that as well, and learning Chinese.

What languages do the students you tutor speak?

They are are learning English as a Second Language (ESL). Most of them speak Spanish, Korean, or Portuguese as their first language.

How did you come up with the storyline for Mari’s Journey?

I had the idea for a while. It started with just the animals and their little stories, but then I asked myself, “How do I connect them into a journey?” Mari came last. She was how I chose to connect them.

Why is bilingual education important?

From my standpoint, it can be tricky to learn a second language, and the earlier you start, the better. Studies have shown that, if children are learning languages at an early age, they perform better in math and music too. Speaking more than one language seems to improve comprehension in other areas, and that’s great. Plus, you can talk with people from other cultures!

When did your personal passion for language begin?

I started learning the language at 12, started gaining fluency, spent a lot of time in Spanish-speaking countries, and those things just came together to set off a lifelong love of language.

What’s up next for you, writing-wise?

I do foresee continuing a series that follows Mari the butterfly on other journeys!

Mari’s Journey is suitable for Pre-k through Second Grade readers as well as language learners of all ages. Pre-order your copy here today!

About Laurel Tuohy

Laurel is the resident blogger and manuscript editor at AcuteByDesign. A longtime journalist, her work has been published all over the world in markets as diverse as The Times of India,, The Wall Street Journal Asia and Vice Magazine. Currently living in Bangkok, she is hoping to uncover exciting new Asian authors and illustrators to add to the AByD worldwide family.
Posted in bilingual students, Book Release, diversity, international traditions, learning, learning languages, multiculturalism, new writers, Spanish, students, teachers Tagged , , , , , , ,

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