Impariamo l’Italiano con l’Aiuto della Mano! by Giuliana Sica

I’m so excited to finally feature a children’s book here on the blog — and it’s a fabulous one, great for your own child’s library or as a gift to your favorite bilingual-to-be kid (or adult)!

Before we get to the book, though, first let’s talk about the benefits of children learning a second language. I know many of you are already raising bilingual children by virtue of where you live and/or parental heritage, and now a recent study fromΒ Cornell University gives us further evidence that teaching children a second language often provides them cognitive advantages that lead to future academic success.

In addition, early adoption of a second language can lead to benefits such as:

  • More flexibility in thinking, a greater sensitivity to language, and a better ear for listening;
  • Exposure to different cultures, which helps children understand and appreciate people and ideals from other cultures;
  • Better and possibly more unique career opportunities as a second language is considered an invaluable skill by many employers.

So if you’re ready for your children to start learning Italian, check out Impariamo l’Italiano con l’Aiuto della Mano! (Let’s Learn Italian with the Help of our Hand!) by Giuliana Sica (illustrated by Steven Kernen), recently published by upstart, Italian-themed Gemelli Press, as the first book in its Arcabelano series dedicated to teaching Italian to English-speaking children.

From the press release: “The book includes carefully selected vocabulary rhymes and illustrations to stimulate interest and promote effortless language absorption. Giuliana teaches private and public language classes and also works with Rosetta Stone, a provider of language-learning software.”

My review: Impariamo l’Italiano is eye-catching, informative, engaging, and the illustrations are downright adorable. It’s also interactive, with some pages for children to fill in the blanks to show what they’ve learned (“Mia Mamma si chiama . . .” page, for instance, to fill in the names of family members). It covers the basics like greetings, numbers, shapes, colors, fruits, and vegetables, but also has some more advanced words in the text, which offer great teaching moments as well.

I originally received a PDF copy from the publisher, but I’m glad I also got a physical copy, because I’m happy to report it’s a high-quality book as well — not something that will fall apart after a few uses.


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47 Beans of Wisdom to “Impariamo l’Italiano con l’Aiuto della Mano! by Giuliana Sica”
  1. Gil

    Sounds great! It will probably help adults learn some Italian too.

    Definitely Gil! Thanks for commenting πŸ™‚

  2. Cathy

    Sounds like a great book. I am all for potentially improving my Italian while helping my kids.

    Best of luck, Cathy!

  3. 08.09.2010

    our son is in asilo – it has been a gift. i admire (and envy) how he is absorbing a second language. this books sounds wonderful. thanks for the opportunity, michelle. warmly, s

    Thanks Sperlygirl πŸ™‚

  4. Heather

    I really would love this one. I’m trying to teach Evi Italian… sort of… but it’s tough to do on my own since I’m not fluent myself.

    You’ll love this book, Heather! Good luck πŸ™‚

  5. diane

    I often speak to my two girls with Italian phrases, this book will be a great help.
    Thanks M.

    I’m sure they love it; best of luck Diane!

  6. 08.09.2010

    We really, really, really want to win this book!!!

    Fingers crossed!

  7. 08.09.2010

    We added Gemelli Press as a friend on Facebook, like I said before- we really, really, really want to win this book!!! πŸ™‚

    Haha, noted Anne! Good luck πŸ™‚

  8. Jill

    I am so excited about this post today and have added this book to my Amazon wish-list. Thanks so much for the review and the contest!

    I think you’re going to love this book, Jill πŸ˜€

  9. Jill

    I’ve just added Gemelli Press as a friend on facebook and look forward to following their work! Thanks again!

    Excellent Jill, thanks!

  10. 08.09.2010

    This sounds perfect for my 4 1/2 year old (the half is very important) who is on his way to being bi-lingual like his mamma.

    As a single parent it’s impossible to raise a child using the OPOL (one parent one languale) method. This book could be a valuable tool for us! I am trying to add English to his Romanaccio in a more consistent manner, because I’ve always spoken a little bit of English to him, but evidently he picked up the Italian first.

    Excellent, I’m very happy you’ll be reviewing children’s books from now on!

    Ciao bella, enjoy this fabulous August,
    E xx

    Sounds perfect indeed…as does the title of your post below. YUM!

  11. Victor

    I’ve been attempting to teach my 4 year old Italian and this book would help immensely. I have been reading Little Red Ridinghood in Italian as well.

    I don’t know that there’s a cuter word in Italian than “cappuccetto” πŸ™‚

  12. 08.09.2010

    With having a 4 & 5 year old grandkids as well as the new baby grandchild living in Italy, ( Lecce, now )… that are bilingual …I have always sent them English books that they take to school to share with their class… I have never found a book that I could sit down and look at with the bilingual grandkids… I would buy this and more…that is if I don’t win it!
    We need this badly!
    Thanks for the info as well as the contest! LoVe iT!
    Ciao! Ciao!

    Well best of luck Deborah! And thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  13. 08.09.2010

    My little bubs to be will grown up hopefully with my Australian(ish) accent and my partners Italian accent. I have already bought s/he lots of English books but none in Italian!

    Haha you moved fast on those English books! This would definitely be great for the library πŸ™‚

  14. Caterina B

    That cute book would be great to take to the school where I work as the bilingual para. We are in the process of becoming an “International Baccalaureate” school and exposing the children to other languages and cultures is central to the philosophy of being “internationally minded!” I work primarily with Mexican children who are learning English and they are wonderful little souls. I have observed, however, that they all are fascinated with other languages, including Japanese. For one year we had a Japanese mother and her two children living in our town and attending our elementary school. They returned to Japan last winter but the kids are still talking about Mimi and Hiro and miss them. I also have spent some time listening to learn Italian CDs on my 35 minute drive to work along country roads. I speak Spanish fluently but would also like to add Italian to my skills.

    That sounds so wonderful, Caterina! Thanks for sharing…and good luck!

  15. Liz

    hi Michelle, I’m awaiting the arrival of my boy twins in a few weeks. the book looks fantastic.
    I’ll post a pic of them when they arrive.
    they are a mix of Sardinian and Welsh so learning Italian will be part of the plan :0)

    sent from my iPhone

    Wow, I had no idea “gemelli” were on the way πŸ™‚ Can’t wait to see them!

  16. I already have a copy so I don’t need to win one. I just wanted to say how much we love, love, lover ours! Good luck tutti!

    Yay! Thanks for chiming in Karen πŸ™‚

  17. 08.09.2010

    ohh me too! I’d love to get a copy for my little bimbo!

    Sounds good to me, Alex πŸ˜€

  18. Melissa Jurgensen

    I think this book would be a great tool that would make learning Italian fun!

    Agreed! Best of luck πŸ™‚

  19. Sonia

    looking forward to seeing this and more from Gemelli πŸ™‚

    Funny you should mention that; I’ll have another Gemelli book coming up in a little while (a memoir) πŸ™‚

  20. Sonia

    oops… couldn’t figure out the “fan” option on FB, so I tried for friend instead πŸ™‚

    I actually didn’t realize the page was a personal one (“friend” not “like”) so I changed the instructions in the post; you’re in! πŸ˜‰

  21. 08.09.2010

    The book sounds great. And I just love your site. Brava!

    Aw, thanks so much πŸ˜€

  22. 08.09.2010

    I just friended Gemelli. Thanks again for the contest.

    Best of luck!

  23. Gail Brown

    Vorrei vincere questo libro! Sto per diventare nonna. Sarebbe molto utile per insegnare italiano a mia nipotina. Grazie!

    Piacere mio πŸ˜€

  24. 08.09.2010

    Valentina is only 3 months old but, she LOVES books! I’ve been reading to her since I was 3 months pregnant. This would be a great addition to her library!

    Indeed it would; I can’t believe it’s been three months already though!

  25. Gail Brown

    Ho appena aggiunto Gemelli Press come amico. Grazie ancora.


  26. Ice Sheaff

    Thanks for this information! I will add it to my teacher collection!

    Excellent! Thanks for coming by πŸ™‚

  27. Danielle B.

    This books sounds adorable, I would love to read it and share it!

    Best of luck, Danielle!

  28. 08.10.2010

    I was so disappointed when we moved and my son lost his Spanish class as an elementary student. To this day, he still only speaks one language. This is a great giveaway.

    That’s too bad; I bet he could pick Italian right up with the bit of Spanish he knows though πŸ˜€

  29. 08.10.2010

    Rosetta Stone – what an interesting name for someone/company involved in translating and teaching a second language.

    It’s probably the biggest language company out there, I’d say.

  30. Consider me entered.

    And friended over at FB, as well. πŸ™‚

    Noted πŸ˜€

  31. Francesca

    Crepi! And thank you for this rec! I teach high school Italian, and children’s books still prove useful even to the oh so “sophisticated” 18 year olds!

    Indeed, Francesca; fingers crossed πŸ™‚

  32. J.Doe

    I would love to read that book. I currently take my daughter to a bilingual Italian/english Mommy and Me class and the adults there seem to learn more italian than the kids. (but the kids learn some too)

    Hey, whatever works, right? The adults can always try to use the Italian more at home πŸ™‚

  33. 08.11.2010

    This is just what we were looking for when my little niece was here a few weeks ago.
    Here’s hoping.

    Fingers crossed for you Old Jacques!

  34. 08.11.2010

    On Facebook, I too could only find a “friend” option, to which I need wait for the acceptance.
    Here’s hoping again…

    Yes, “friend” is the right way for now; I think they may change their page to a “like” situation, but you’ll still be entered here no matter what πŸ™‚

  35. Dianne

    Looks adorable! I would enjoy reading and sharing it.

    Best of luck!

  36. Dianne

    I’ve just been to FB. Here’s my extra entry. Thanks!

    Noted Dianne πŸ™‚

  37. Lisa

    Grazie mille, Michelle! As an elementary Spanish and French teacher in the U.S., I greatly appreciate you posting information on this topic with your audience. As you already know, second language learning is more easily attainable when you are immersed in the second language (as you are). Learners of a second language in the U.S. should be reminded that for many, fluency requires patience and years of study and usage if one is not immersed in the language. Regardless of one’s fluency, the rewards are tremendous!

    Thanks for sharing your beans, Lisa πŸ™‚ I’ve always loved languages — only wish I had started really pursuing them at a *much* younger age!

  38. sara

    Count me in!


  39. Danielle

    I’d love to try and win this book….as an adult learning Italian with the hopes of being able to speak it with future children, any book will help not only children but the learning adult. πŸ™‚
    Thanks πŸ™‚

    Yes great for adults too πŸ™‚

  40. Danielle

    I am a friend of this great boutique publisher. πŸ™‚ The blog is adorable.

    Best of luck Danielle!

  41. 08.15.2010

    I would enjoy this book too .. even though we don’t speak Italian or even live in Italy .. I think my grandchildren would love it… Would also so help me πŸ˜‰

    I have requested to be friends on FB!

    Thanks Anne!

  42. 08.15.2010

    Ale and I often talk about using the OPOL method with our future children, with Ale speaking to them in Italian and I in Spanish. They will learn English in school just like I did. πŸ™‚ I would love to have this book to get our triligual library started!

    Sounds good to me, Piccola πŸ™‚

  43. 08.15.2010

    Ciao, ho trovato questo link per caso (via StumbleUpon) ed penso che sia interessante che qualcuno voglia insegnare l’italiano ai bambini come seconda lingua. Brava Giuliana!
    Hi, I found this page randomly surfing the web (via StumbleUpon) and I think it’s cool that someone want to teach italian to kids as a second language. Good job Giuliana!

    G. dall’Italia πŸ™‚

    Grazie gurutech πŸ™‚

  44. hoping this gets entry gets in on time, i’m unsure of the time difference. I would love to have this book for my little girl.

    You got in! Thanks Judy πŸ™‚

  45. Rosiel

    This book sounds great! I’m sure my kids would love it! Thanks for telling us about it.

    My pleasure!

  46. Andrea

    Ciao Michelle, I am very much enjoying the Eye On Italy podcasts and the wealth of information you offer. Looking forward to the latest post after le vacanze. I too would love to introduce italian to my nephew’s ragazzine.

    Thanks so much Andrea!

  47. 08.16.2010

    Sounds like anyone who gets a copy of this book “wins”. What a fun way to introduce a second language to children (and adults).

    Agreed Ginda!



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