English-speaking children attending French schools will, of course, grow up fully bilingual. Bilingual, however, is not the same as bicultural - the ability to slip easily between two cultures and feel at home in each. Not only is this a richer experience than just the ability (impressive though it is!) to speak two languages but the bicultural applicant will have a serious edge at the top end of the of the international jobs market
Being bicultural is all about sharing the same cultural reference points: being able, if you are British, to recite Humpty Dumpty, hum the theme tune from Dr Who and recognise a bar of Dairy Milk.
Most importantly, however, it is having read the same books as your compatriots that gives you the shared cultural reference points – from the Famous Five to Three Men In A Boat to Shakespeare – and for foreign kids growing up in France really to feel that they belong to both their cultures, they need to be reading the same books as their classmates back home.
This is particularly important for any who are planning to go on to higher education in the UK.
So, with the long summer holidays approaching, here’s a selection of classic and modern literature from the current UK school reading lists. Don’t be alarmed by the age categories – children develop at different rates and some of the books are fairly advanced for more reluctant readers.
AGE 5 - 7 YEARS
A Bear Called Paddington by Michael Bond;
Hairy Maclary from Donaldson’s Dairy by Lynley Dodd;
We’re going on a Bear Hunt by Michael Rosen;
Where the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak.
7 - 8 YEAR OLDS
Charlotte's Web by E.B.White;
The Hundred Mile-An-Hour Dog by Jeremy Strong;
The Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks;
Fungus the Bogeyman by Raymond Briggs;
Mr Majeika by Humphrey Carpenter;
One Thousand and One Arabian Nights by Geraldine McCaughrean;
Ivan the Terrible by Anne Fine.
8 - 9 YEAR OLDS
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll;
The Butterfly Lion by Michael Morpurgo;
Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner;
Firework-Maker's Daughter by Philip Pullman;
Harriet the Spyby Louise Fitzhugh;
The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint-Exupéry;
Stig of the Dump by Clive King;
Swallows and Amazons by Arthur Ransome;
War Boy by Michael Foreman.
9 - 10 YEAR OLDS
A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens;
The Dark is Rising by Susan Cooper;
Connor's Eco Den by Pippa Goodhart;
Lantern Bearers (Eagle of the Ninth) by Rosemary Sutcliffe;
Stormbreaker (Alex Rider) by Anthony Horowitz;
Watership Down: A Novel by Richard Adams;
The Red Necklace by Sally Gardner.
10 - 11 YEAR OLDS
Carrie's War by Nina Bawden;
Across the Barricades by Joan Lingard;
Private Peaceful by Michael Morpurgo;
The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole, Aged 13 3/4 by Sue Townsend;
Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson;
Tulip Stories by G K Chesterton;
The Hobbit by J R R Tolkien;
The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy by Douglas Adams;
Kensuke's Kingdom by Michael Morpurgo;
Kidnapped by Robert Louis Stevenson;
My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell;
Witch Child by Celia Rees;
The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Dover Thrift Editions) by Robert Louis Stevenson.
12 - 13 YEAR OLDS
Animal Farm by George Orwell;
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time by Mark Haddon;
The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham;
How I Live Now by Meg Roscoff;
I'm the King of the Castle by Susan Hill;
Nineteen Eighty-Four by George Orwell;
The Pickwick Papers by Charles Dickens;
The Road of Bones by Anne Fine.
13 - 14 YEAR OLDS
Brighton Rock by Graham Greene;
Empire of the Sun by J G Ballard;
Fever Pitch by Nick Hornby;
Frankenstein or the Modern Prometheus by Mary Shelley;
Girl with a Pearl Earring, by Tracy Chevalier;
The Joy Luck Club by Amy Tan;
One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Alexander Solzhenitsyn;
Golding's the Lord of the Flies by William Golding;
Old Man And The Sea by Ernest Hemingway;
The Woman in Black: A Ghost Story by Susan Hill.
By 16, pupils should have read at least two Shakespeare plays and be familiar with at least three of the following novelists:
Jonathan Swift (Gulliver's Travels),
Eliot (Silas Marner),
Dickens (A Tale of Two Cities),
Hardy (The Mayor of Casterbridge),
Emily Bronte (Wuthering Heights),
Jane Austen (Pride and Prejudice),
Wilkie Collins (The Moonstone);
D H Lawrence,
H G Wells,
H E Bates,
L P Hartley,
And at least five of the following poets:
Blake, Coleridge, Gray, Tennyson, Wordsworth, Keats, Shelley, George Herrick, Matthew Arnold, Burns, Robert Bridges, Rossetti, George Herbert, Donne, Dickinson, Chaucer, John Clare, Robert Frost, Seamus Heaney, Philip Larkin, Dylan Thomas, Wilfred Owen, W H Auden, W B Yeats, Eliot, Louis MacNiece, Patten, Derek Walcott, Sylvia Plath, Dannie Abse; Edward Thomas.