I get a lot of questions about Bosley and how I came up with the ideas for the series, and what my motivations were. Recently I recorded a variety of answers to these questions and published them on YouTube. A few of these videos are below, and to watch more videos and subscribe to further video publications please check out my YouTube channel. The first three videos you see here pertain to the first book, Bosley Sees the World.
Question #1: Why did you create the Adventures of Bosley Bear?
Question #2: How can foreign language be taught using Bosley Sees the World?
Question #3: What life lessons did you intend to teach in Bosley Sees the World?
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Thanks to your support, Bosley is getting more popular everyday and helping children learn languages all over the world. This Christmas, there will be four books available and they will also be available as a set, only at the website. Whether you want the box set or one of the other books, we’re hoping you leave room on your Christmas list for a Bosley book or two!
Thank you for your continued support!
I started the series of Bosley books before we had children. Knowing that we would be starting a family in the coming years I wanted to be ready and I used that dream of a family as inspiration to write the first book. I have always been an advocate for language learning and have always tried to do my diligence to speak the native language when visiting another country. (Even worked on my Scottish accent when my wife and I went there, but probably just sounded like a buffoon!)
I knew that second language learning would be very important to me as we took our first steps into parenthood. I loved learning French from my mother as a child, it always made me feel proud that I knew something the other kids didn’t, like secret code words. And martial arts has always fostered my interest in Asian culture and language, so when the opportunity arose to take a trip to Japan during high school I did everything I could to make that happen (with a little help from my parents). I made some life-long friends that I still communicate with there today and have worked very hard to keep up a good working knowledge of Japanese. I’m not fluent by any means, but I can “get by”. Japanese resonates with the workings of my own engineering brain in that it is very structured, and rule based. There is virtually no ambiguity in the language as compared to others (including English) that have silent letters, and rules seemingly made up on the fly. So I like the language and am excited to have my children learn it with me. (Selfishly, I really just want more people to practice Japanese with!)
I’ve been publishing articles on this website for years that have to do with early childhood development, second language learning for children, and tips for bilingual parenting, etc. But with the new website upgrade, and the new additions to my family, I think it is time to get a bit more personal and start dispelling some of my own experiences as I raise these two wonderful children. I will be teaching them as much as possible, but undoubtedly learning just as much from them as they learn from me.
I hope you will join me on this journey and I hope you can enjoy the articles and get something out of them. I would love to have some discussions spark up in the comment section, so please leave your thoughts, comments and suggestions below this article. I would love to hear about the linguistic goals you have for your family.
Meet Bosley Bear! I want to introduce you to the evolution of how Bosley came to be and how much he has changed over the past few years. Once the name was decided, Bosley needed a face. My wife and I both started sketching trying to come up with a friendly, quirky character that children would be able to relate to and want to learn from. Below are a few of the very first sketches that launched Bosley on his epic journey to publication.
The first intention for Bosley was to serve as a simple logo for the Language Bear Dual-Language bookstore. He would sit in the corner of the website and provide a welcoming face to a new website. Little did we know, he would come to life in later years!
Kind and fuzzy:
A little wacky:
But he needs a hat:
Yeah, kinda like that…
Let’s put it on his head:
Even fuzzier still:
Ooh! What about…. Chinese Bosley (fyi, his name is “Bao Bao” in China)
Nah… I like the other hat. Let’s sit him down and make him comfortable.
Maybe he’s a whistling bear…?
Now for a little color! Here’s where Bosley starts to get more friendly and easier to relate to. Look at that smile and those inspired eyes!
And yes, Bosley does enjoy whistling…
Bosley stayed in this form for quite some time at the top of the Language Bear website, and welcomed many guests, until one day he needed a face lift. I commissioned this next drawing out to someone who can draw far better than myself and this was the point that I realized Bosley has much larger ambitions that to simply be a logo on the website. He needs a story.
Once a story was created, I found my friend Ozzy Esha who has brought new life to Bosley in (at this time) three published books. Below are some of the creations that Ozzy came up with in those three books.
It’s such a great feeling to know that this little character is known and loved by so many children and has the power to help them learn and grow into strong intelligent little people. I am very excited to continue the Bosley series and who knows what Bosley will look like in the future…
Bosley Bear is a young adventurer with an insatiable appetite for exploration. In the first book, Bosley Sees The World (French: Bosley Decouvre Le Monde), he exclaims “How is it the world can be so big? I have so much to explore!”, and I believe that perfectly sums up who he is.
Using Bosley Bear as a learning tool is relatively progressive in the sense that it does not follow the typical “classroom” format of memorizing based on a specific category. The learning process is fluid, which is absolutely important to sustain interest in children. Being an adult navigating through bilingualism, I realized that unconventional tools of learning are perfect for developing the unique capability of getting to the very heart of what the other person is saying. And this progressive method is not only great for children; it is surprisingly suited for learning adults as well.
I believe that the first priority in developing a new language is to sharpen the skill of reading between the lines such that the child can understand the essence or the heart of what the person with whom he is speaking is saying beyond the strict technical barrier of grammar. Living with two languages is like existing on two different universes simultaneously. It demands so much more from you to adapt, to switch and to respond, but you come out with a more expanded view and deeper method of communication. It is never simply on the surface. You realize that these are just words, and the meaning that a person is trying to get across may in fact be different. Using unconventional tools like The Bosley Bear books achieves that first priority. The second priority is to sharpen the child’s articulation and grammar to expand his capability to express himself.
Surprisingly, Bosley can help us adults as well! For instance, I started learning French back in college and somewhere I lost track of it. Five years down the line, I re-examined my life and saw that it had lost so much of its initial passion and color, and all I kept thinking was I needed to go back to learning French. I needed that creative juice and zest injected back into my life.
Hence, I started to review my basic French again. As painful as it may sound, however, my memory is not as absorbent as it used to be. Memorizing a list of words from a folder collated by my previous college professor was taxing and it yielded unsuccessful learning on my part. Without a strict teacher who would grade you, it is difficult to use a strict academic format on your own.
I remember going through YouTube videos to check if they had French shows that taught children how to read and write, a show like Dora the Explorer, only in French. I wanted to start with something as simple as that so I could remember the lessons better. And then, lo and behold, I was introduced to Bosley Bear. Thank God there was one book in French. Surprisingly, I discovered that even for adults, using books like these works very effectively because of the visual component.
Despite being intended to accompany young children in their journey towards bilingualism, I found that going with Bosley in his adventures showed me three things about him. He displays genuine interest to try anything (whether it was to live in water like a fish or in the sky like a bird as in ”Bosley Goes to the Beach”); he teaches about a vast world of possibilities and is unafraid to conquer it (climb tall trees, see the big ocean, cross the big forest or climb the tall mountain, as in “Bosley Sees the World”); and he reserves every day to continuously have an adventure. And no matter how old we get, these are things we should never forget to uphold.
Here is what some of the folks on Amazon have had to say about their adventures with Bosley:
“My 3 y.o. lil girl is not a great listener but bosley captivates her attention and stimulate her imagination”
“My 2yo nephew was repeating the words I knew, and really enjoyed the story in general.”
“What a wonderful and fun way to learn a new language!”
“When I asked my young daughter what she thought of the story she said she felt calm after reading the ending, because Bosley realized that he was unique and special in his own way.”
“The cues and repetition will enable strong translation that will assist with learning a new language.”
“The illustrations are beautifully executed and Bosley is a delightful character. This book is well worth purchasing for your child.”
“The story itself is delightful. A curious bear on an adventure would capture the interest of any child. I applaud this author and his wonderful outreach to teach our children. ” ~ Karen Kelly Boyce
“The illustrations are beautiful and it just might tempt a child (and his/her parent) to look up from all that texting and notice the environment around them.” ~ The Kindle Book Review
I’ve been so enjoying hearing what people think about Bosley and I hope that if you have a Bosley book on your shelf you will head over to the Amazon page and leave a short review. I read ALL of them and love to hear what people think.
I recently met a woman by the name of Shelly Darmanin who is heading up an effort to send quality children’s books to the remote and isolated schools in Fiji to help the children there improve their reading and writing skills. I figured Bosley would most likely LOVE to take a trip to Fiji, I know I would! So two copies of Bosley Sees the World are now on a lifelong excusion to the island of Fiji! I’m so jealous of Bosley, I’m sure he’s going to meet all sorts of great children over there and have marvelous, wild adventures!
You can find out more about Shelly’s effort and this project at her facebook page: http://www.facebook.com/DonateABookToTheSchoolChildrenOfFiji
Bon Voyage Bosley! Have fun with your new friends!!
Thanks to all of the Language Bear’s friends, Bosley’s first book “Bosley Sees the World” will be professionally published and made available worldwide! There are currently 7 translations for this dual language children’s book which were all made possible by individual supporters of the Language Bear, like you. This is the first book in the “Adventures of Bosley Bear” series and is written to encourage children to understand the world around them, to explore and learn new things and to challenge themselves everyday. As a teacher, the author, Tim Johnson understands the power and beauty of youth and works to help children grow with confidence and ultimately realize their full potential. And as a lifelong martial artist, he knows that one’s potential is truly limitless. Also an engineer by trade, Tim focuses his teaching efforts on the fundamental skill of learning on order to allow each child to express their own creative and individual learning process.
Future publications of the “Adventures of Bosley Bear” will include all sorts of fun and exciting adventures like:
Bosley Goes to the Moon
Bosley and the Stars
Bosley goes to the South Pole
Bosley goes to Paris
Bosley goes to Japan
Keep your eye out for more adventures coming soon!