Sunday, April 28, 2013

Tom Sawyer Speaks French!

Week of April 29 - May 5:  Ideas to help us all promote French language learning this week, including Washington, D.C. area French-language and cultural events for kids and families.  Please share any other ideas by commenting below or posting to Bonjour Mama's Facebook page!  Bonne semaine! 

In our house most weekend nights are "family movie night" where we all camp out on the sofa bed in the living room and watch something together.  This is fun in principle, but I have had such bad luck choosing movies that are truly family-friendly that often we wind up defaulting to Zach’s choice of TV shows (involving a superhero). Then the grown-ups lose interest fast and end up on a laptop or asleep in bed.

So last night I enlisted my husband’s help in finding something we could all enjoy. He grew up in Morocco where most kids TV shows were in French (bingo! family movie night en français!)  He nostalgically browsed on youtube for the videos of his childhood in the 70s and 80s which included many American shows like Inspector Gadget, Little House on the Prairie, and Tom Sawyer.  

Wait a second. Tom Sawyer? I don’t ever remember seeing that. All those years of the Smurfs and I could have been watching an American classic? (in addition to Little House, of course). I decided to watch the credits at the end of the video and saw that the production company was Nippon Entertainment.

So there you have it. My Moroccan husband has introduced his American wife and American-Moroccan son to Tom Sawyer in French created in Japan.  Vive YouTube!

As for events, I am getting a bit stumped for kids' activities beyond the weekly storytimes. I promise to organize something soon (or if you are so inclined, please feel free to organize one and share to the Bonjour Mama FB page!!). In the meantime, I am thinking of adding some French cultural events for the grown-ups, which between the French embassy and the Alliance Française are more plentiful than for les petits. And après tout, we deserve to play, too!  So this week consider Saturday's "Alors on dance?" dance party at the Maison Française for date night!

Out and About
Please confirm dates and times directly with event host. ($) indicates there is a cost for the event.  

Tuesday 4/30
4pm: Storytime at the Alliance Française

Wednesday, 5/1
10:30am: French Storytime at PB& Jack (included in admission fee)

Saturday 5/4
10:30am – French Circle Time / Petites Chansons at the Takoma Park Library

10:50am - Storytime at the Alliance Française

7:30pm - 1:00am - "Alors on danse?" party at the Maison Francaise($)

At Home

Watch Tom Sawyer in French on youtube. The dialogue is simple and easy to understand, no violence (unless you are offended at the 19th century schoolteacher's threatening to use the switch!).

Read (at bedtime) Petites Histoires pour s'Endormir. This is one of the sweetest little bedtime storybooks we've read. Very short (takes less than 2 minutes to read) stories with animal characters doing cute things to fall asleep. Zach's favorite is the one about the elephant and the monkey. Monkey is having trouble sleeping and his good friend Elephant suggests (je connais une façon!) first, flapping his ears (rabattre les oreilles). No luck; next, rolling up his trunk and counting to ten (enrouler la trompe en comptant jusqu'à dix); again, not an option. Finally, cuddle up to a friend: ça y est!   Bonne Nuit!

Plan a playdate with other French-speaking parents and kids!  If you are in the DC Metro area, join or suggest an event on Bonjour Mama’s facebook pageLe Petit Groupe Français, or Les Mamans Autour de DC!


  1. The Petites Histoires book sounds really sweet. I'm going to order one for Little Man and Poppette tomorrow. Thanks for the recommendation.

    Ps it's great that you pull all these French themed activities together! If only we lived nearby (or even in the same country!!!) we'd be popping along to them all :-)

  2. Merci Bonne Maman! I wish you were here as well - as many people around here speak French or have their kids in classes and programs, it's amazingly tough to find regular playdates (at least for us!). Enjoy the Petites Histoires book!