From Magic City Morning Star

Learning a new language doesn't have to be intimidating
By Dianne Sibeal Donahoe
Oct 23, 2015 - 10:50:10 PM

Life on a small farm in France is delightful.

The Valentine Children's Summer Adventures is my fairy-tale set in 1938. It is the story of the Valentine children, my imaginary family, set long ago and far away in France. It chronicles the adventures of children and their animal companions. The book conjures a tapestry in two languages, weaving into the story words in French that work their own wonders.

The story is set long ago and far way in Carcassonne, France. It is an enchanting and beautiful medieval walled city with hewn-stone streets. As I wrote this, I fell in love with the children's personalities and what started out as a small book has developed into a 55 color illustrated book, which is illustrated by Alice Ratterree, an award-winning illustrator.

The readers join the Valentine children and their animal companions on their many adventures and learning experiences. The children all have unique personalities so that the reader can identify with one of the characters.

My main goal when I first started writing this book was to help children feel comfortable with another language and feel at ease traveling to France or another French speaking country.

My book has French words with pronunciations, interspersed throughout. Towards the end there is a comprehensive pronunciation guide with clear instructions on how to say the words in the book and in conversation.

There are thirty ways to say what's what in another language, which will mean more smiles in school. Double the number and spell them right, and a child has a head start. Double again, and say them aloud the way they intended to be said, makes picking up a language more fun than work. New words, phrases and names arrive on the page with meanings and clear signs on how to say them out loud.

This is the first of a trilogy. The second book takes place about 4 years later in 1942 and two of the children become involved in the Resistance of WWII.

I hope you all are able to discover a second language and embrace a new culture. For more information on my work, please visit

Dianne Sibeal Donahoe
Author of "The Valentine Children's Summer Adventures"

Dianne Sibeal Donahoe lives in San Francisco and New York. She is a member of the Society of Children's Writers and Illustrators, Friends of the Smithsonian and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. She has been an artist for more than 30 years, specializing in oil painting and other media and interior decorating.

"The Valentine Children's Summer Adventures"
By Dianne Sibeal Donahoe
Archway Publishing
Published 4/15/2015
ISBN SC: 978-1-4808-1730-2
ISBN HC: 978-1-4808-1731-9
60 pages
Hardcover $32
Softcover $24

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