Book review: Bilingual Success Stories Around the World by Adam Beck


I reviewed Adam Beck’s book on bilingualism four years ago (here) and recently came across another of his publications titled Bilingual Success Stories Around the World. This time the author interviewed 26 families for tips and advice for their bilingual success. It’s divided into three main sections: early years, primary school years and the teenage years and beyond. This age-related advice serves as a wonderful support for bilingual parents whether they’re at the beginning of their journey or much more experienced and dealing with some nuances of their bilingual family life. The book contains not only the bilingual stories, but also contact details for the interviewees.

I found it interesting to read about the impact of bilingualism and where it can lead families to. For example, due to lack of resources, families started their own language or multilingual projects. Some parents who were fascinated by languages, even started their own companies which produce / sell language-related products (the links / contact details are provided in the book).

I particularly enjoyed reading about joy and enthusiasm in bilingual family life. I know that all bilingual families would admit that raising children bilingually has its own challenges, so in my humble opinion, finding enthusiasm in maintaining a family’s bilingualism is as important as other more academic aspects of children’s bilingual journeys.     

Another word that is frequently mentioned by many bilingual families is consistency. Yes, we need to take care of all the languages we want our children to speak on a daily basis. It’s not something we do occasionally, but we try to include it in our everyday routine.

Another concept that’s worth remembering when raising bilingual children is balance. It’s important to create the environment where children can thrive in two (or more) languages and then observe whether we don’t overstretch the input in one of the languages.

In Adam Beck’s book, we also read about intentional bilingualism (by non-native speakers), bilingualism through music, creativity or play, home-ed bilingualism, having pen-pals, and creating a podcast. For some, bilingualism is about creating a multilingual community or being exposed to many languages (e.g. seven!); after all, we learn languages to communicate.

Bilingualism is a long journey, often imperfect, but alive and full of our interests and passions. It enriches our family’s life, but also adds this extra layer of difficulty. However, with a positive approach, it’s something to enjoy together as a family and community.

Have you read Adam Beck’s book? What’s your favourite story? Please let me know in the comments below.


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