Book of the week: The Princess Diarist

Améliorez votre anglais avec nos astuces ! Suivez-nous sur les réseaux et jetez un coup d'oeil sur nos formations en ligne.

Carrie Fisher’s memoir is quite simply, a small pleasure to read. The language used isn’t too difficult, yet it will teach you some very useful English phrases.

It’s an unpretentious book put together by the actor from past diaries as well as musings from the time of writing (Fisher died in 2016). It’s pleasant and fun, and a quick read. Really, it’s the perfect book if you’re not really into novels (romans) but would like to start reading a little bit in English.

For those of you living in and around Aix en Provence, you can get your copy from Book in Bar, on 4 rue Joseph Cabassol :

https://www.bookinbar.com/livre/9781784162054-the-princess-diarist-a-sort-of-memoir-carrie-fisher/

Enjoy reading? Why not join our English book club? We meet once a month to chat in English about books. If you’re interest, be sure to send me your request by filling out the form below. Minimum level: B1.

Word of the Day: paperback

Améliorez votre anglais avec notre mot du jour !

I love a beautiful hardback edition, but paperbacks are just so handy! You can always fit them in a bag, and they’re light and easy to carry.

When I’m faced with a decision between paperback and hardcover, I always have to ask myself if I plan on taking the book with me to read outside, or if I’ll just keep it on my bedside table for before bed. Hard choice!

So to be clear, a paperback edition is a small, flexible-covered edition of a book, like the one in the picture on the left.

Incidentally, I really enjoyed Tuesdays with Morrie by Mitch Albom when I read it years ago. I’d recommend it for someone learning English because it’s got lots of dialogue and the language isn’t overly complicated.

What’s your favorite paperback? Let us know in the comments! Have you read this book? Tell us what you thought of it!

Lecture du moment en français: Le Dieu du carnage

Vendredi lecture! Cette semaine, je vous recommande ce livre étudié récemment avec des élèves de lycée: Le Dieu du carnage, par Yasmina Reza.

Il s’agit d’une pièce de théâtre moderne et divertissante. C’est très facile et agréable à lire dès le niveau A2.2 / B1.

La situation de départ est simple: 2 couples de parents se réunissent suite à une bagarre entre leurs enfants afin de régler la situation à l’amiable. Mais au lieu de trouver une solution, l’atmosphère va petit à petit se dégrader; la situation va dégénérer et le vrai caractère de chacun va être révélé!

L’avantage d’un texte de théâtre contemporain: l’accès à un français oral! En effet, les paroles des personnages sont très authentiques et vous allez apprendre des nouveaux mots de français familier et des expressions idiomatiques. Sans oublier l’aspect culturel.

Autre avantage: quand les théâtres rouvriront, vous pourrez aller voir la pièce jouée sur scène! En attendant, vous trouverez sur internet une captation du spectacle.

Lecture du moment en français: « Coquelicot »

Aujourd’hui c’est la journée internationale du livre et du droit d’auteur mais pour moi c’est la fête du livre tous les jours!

Je suis une grande lectrice depuis toujours. Je lis en français, en anglais, en espagnol, en bulgare… sur papier, sur liseuse électronique et j’écoute même des livres audios dans les transports. Mes longues études universitaires littéraires m’ont donné le goût des mots.

Le Goût des mots, c’est le nom d’une collection d’ouvrages que j’aime beaucoup, dirigé par l’écrivain Philippe Delerm. J’en possède plusieurs titres dont Coquelicot et autres mots que j’aime par la regrettée amoureuse et chanteuse des mots, Anne Sylvestre.

Dans ce livre que je suis en train de terminer, Anne Sylvestre dresse un inventaire de ses mots préférés et explique pourquoi elle les aime. Parfois, c’est pour leur sonorité, parfois c’est pour leur image mais souvent ces mots lui évoquent des souvenirs.

Si je devais choisir les mots que j’affectionne tout particulièrement, ce serait ceux-là:

papillon (en français) / spoon (en anglais) / maravilla (en espagnol) / катчамак (« katchamak » en bulgare)

Et vous, que lisez-vous actuellement? Quels sont vos mots préférés en français?

7 Books for Young English Learners

Since I’ve already written a post about what to read to your young kids, here’s another about some things you can give your (slightly) older kids.

So here is a list of 7 books that we either have, or that have been recommended to us.

All Right Already, and others by Jory John and Benji Davies.

I like this series, with Bear and Duck because of its simple drawings and witty turn of phrase. They really make for a great introduction to autonomous reading.

I also think these books are really fun for young English learners because the language is still quite simple, while the comic book style illustrations will help your child follow the story without too much trouble. I wouldn’t recommend it for kids who don’t have any notions at all of English, but certainly for those who are exposed to it regularly.

This brings me to my next series.

I Really Like Slop, an Elephant and Piggie book by Mo Willems

Ok, I know, I know, I’ve already put this on a previous list for young children, but these are also fab for early readers. They are funny, and easy to follow, even for children who are still learning English.

There Must be More than That by Shinsuke Yoshitake

This book is a little more difficult for English learners, but you could definitely read it with your middle schooler who has much more English in school. It’s a book that I would absolutely read with my grade 6 and 7 students (6ème and 5ème).

I love it because it’s a realistic but hopeful account of how kids might interpret the information they see and hear in the grown-up world. I love the style of drawings and I love how it creates a world of possibilities for young imaginations.

Tiny Titans by by Art Baltazar and Franco Aureliani

This series was recommended to me. I’ve included it on the list because I think comic books and graphic novels can be great introductions for reluctant readers and young English learners. As with the previous book, these ones will be for middle school aged kids who already know the basics of English. Best practice will be to read them with your kids so that they don’t feel like a chore, unless of course you’ve got avid readers!

These next titles are also recommendations from other parents and readers’ circles

Scooby-doo Team Up! By Sholly Fisch

Hilda and the Black Hound by Luke Pearson

Fairy Tale Comics by Chris Duffy

Once again, these could be great introductions to the world of reading in English. They may be for elementary aged children, but the stories, illustrations and the fact that they are graphic novels and comics will take away from the idea that they’re « little kids’ books ».

While my own son is still too young to read these, I’m really looking forward to the day when he’ll begin asking me for more things to read on his own, or with me!

Virtual Museums

Over the past year, visiting any kind of museum has become impossible; they’re all closed. Even when they’re open, many people feel a bit nervous about going on a visit, particularly if they have loved ones with fragile health. Thank goodness, then, for technology. Today, anyone with a computer, or a tablet, and an internet connection, can go on a virtual tour. You might be thinking: but it’s not the same! I absolutely agree. However, many museums have really found their feet in their virtual worlds and have reinvented how we might go about a visit. 

Here are just a few examples of how technological innovation is changing our approach to the modern museum tour. 

The British Museum

The Museum of the World (https://britishmuseum.withgoogle.com/) is just plain cool. When you enter the museum, you are confronted with a timeline. You use this to travel through time, up and down, using your mouse, or the arrows displayed on the screen. As you travel, you will notice different coloured points, which represent the objects that have been found from each period. Each colour represents a different geographical region. What’s interesting about this, is that you can compare what was happening, or what was produced in different geographical areas around the world at roughly the same period. 

When once you click on a point, you can learn more, with a high resolution image, and information about the object, which you can read or listen to. Honestly, it’s pretty awesome. There is also a legend on the right hand side from which you can choose the topic you’re most interested in, for example, art and design. 

This is really something you can do on a rainy day, or in the evening by yourself or with your kids. I’ve never seen world history presented in a linear fashion like this, and it’s definitely worth taking a few minutes out of your day to see if it’s something that floats your boat. 

If, on the other hand, you are interested in a more traditional online visit, you can simply navigate to the British Museum’s collection (https://www.britishmuseum.org/collection) and browse to your heart’s content. 

The MET

Do you like art? History? Art history? On the MET’s website, you’ll find videos, their whole collection, learning resources, and all sorts of things for kids and adults alike. They even have a site dedicated specially to kids, with videos, stories, and lot’s more. 

It’s really interesting to just explore the site and get lost in all the different things that are offered. 

woman at artwork gallery
Photo by Matheus Viana on Pexels.com

Google Arts & Culture

Perhaps you would like to find everything in one place. Then hit up Google Arts & Culture. There you will find the online collections of all the major world museums; it’s stunning and impressive that we can see all this without ever leaving our home. Of course, you can’t beat going there in person, but few of us are able to travel so widely, even without a Pandemic raging. So, why not check it out?

Granted, this is a rather short list, but it’s already more than enough to occupy eons of your time over the next few weeks. So have a go! 

And don’t forget to let us know if you have found any online collections we should know about!