But they are no ordinary family. Martina is bringing her children up bilingual.
Having left London two years ago for a new life in.. wait for it.. Bermuda (No, I am NOT jealous. Not one tiny little bit...) Martina now spends a lot of time reading with Emilie, 2 and Max who is six months old.
She says, "I speak Swedish with Emilie and Max. Raising children bilingual is hard especially when their dad and everyone else around us speaks English. Books and nursery rhymes are great tools for submerging them into the language, so we buy, ship and also download a lot of books."
Some of their books are in Swedish, but many are in English. These, Martina translates as she goes along. So she is reading in English and at the same time telling the story in Swedish. To a wriggling 2 year old. And a baby! How awesome is that?!
Martina says, "Emilie's favourites tend to be those books that are written in rhythm and rhyme, in a fairly simple language, with shorter sentences and humour. I suspect that’s why she enjoys Whiffy Wilson so much. But off the cuff translation is hard when there are rhymes and I want to expose her and Max to the best possible language and story, and to be respectful to the author."
So Martina decided to go one better. Not content with ad hoc translation, she decided to sit down and work through the whole of Whiffy Wilson, the Wolf who Wouldn't go to Bed and translate it properly into Swedish, rhymes and all!
She says, "I found myself wishing Whiffy Wilson was available in Swedish, and one day decided to have a stab at translating it myself. Some paragraphs have come more easily, others I’ve worked on for hours and hours in order to maintain the story, humour, rhythm, rhyme, straight forward language and sentence length. It’s been such a puzzle and brain teaser! It's been SO satisfying and so much fun!"
She is now planning to contact some Swedish publishers to persuade them to publish more of my books in Swedish.
Martina, I salute you!