There are so many great English-Spanish bilingual children’s books being published today! It wasn’t so easy to find good choices when my kids were little. This list of bilingual picture books includes books that have English and Spanish text side by side as well as books that are written in English as the primary language but with Spanish words deftly woven into the text.
We all know about the research that shows the earlier kids are exposed to a second language the better! What I love about these dual language books is that even people with no Spanish experience can read them, and parents with a rudimentary understanding of Spanish will have no trouble at all, especially since Spanish is written so phonetically!
It is never to early or too late to expose your kids to a second (or third!) language. Books with both English and Spanish text will help them get started on the road to fluency. Or, at the very least, increase their cross-cultural awareness.
Really, there is no good reason not to read bilingual books to your kids!
This book list is divided into sections by age: babies and toddlers, preschoolers, and elementary-aged children.
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Spanish-English Books Ages 0-3
Global Babies/Bebes del mundo
from The Global Fund for Children
Babies LOVE to stare at other baby faces! Now they (and you!) can look at adorable faces from around the world while hearing simple, sweet and loving text in Spanish and English. This is a wonderful first bilingual book for babies.
Besos for Baby
by Jen Arena
A sweet little board with repetitive and rhyming text. Primarily in English with a few Spanish words. You will want to plant many besos on your baby as you read!
¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes
by ed., by Alma Flor Alma, F. Isabel Campoy and Alice Shurtle
This bilingual collection of nursery rhymes is not to be missed. Each traditional rhyme is presented in both Spanish and English. If you are not fluent, but had a little bit of high school Spanish, try reading aloud the Spanish version, your babe will love the sound of the word flow and rhythm and hearing another language is great for the brain!
Arrorró, Mi Niño: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games
by Lulu Delacre
This is a good bilingual resource, even for parents with no Spanish language experience. Short songs and interactive games (think: Pat-a-cake, and “To Market, to Market”) will encourage caregivers to spend special one on one time with their children.
How Are You? / ¿Cómo estás?
by Angela Dominguez
Playful illustrations of two giraffes accompany dual language text in which the new friends inquire about to each other’s feelings and get to know each other. One of the most fun bilingual books for todders!
Maria Had a Little Llama/María Tenía una Llamita
by Angela Dominguez
Kids love to hear new takes on familiar stories and rhymes. This classic nursery rhyme has a Peruvian twist and is a great bilingual picture book for preschoolers!
by Pat Mora
In this joyful book, a biracial boy narrates all the things he is thankful for, from the expected to the surprising. The illustrations include a range of multicultural children, so kids of all colors will see themselves represented.
What Can You Do with a Paleta / ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta?
by Carmen Tafolla
A paleta is a traditional Mexican popsicle treat. This lively book about kids running to get a summer treat will spark your preschooler’s imagination and maybe he or she will even offer to share a paleta with you!
The Lizard and the Sun/La Lagartija y el Sol
By Alma Flor Alda
Ever wonder why lizards like to laze about in the sun (hint: it’s not because of their cold blood)? It all started when the sun disappeared and the lizard went in search of it. With a little help from an Aztec emperor, a woodpecker and a great feast, he is able to bring the sun back from its slumber. With lots of detail, the illustrations bring the Aztec culture to life.
My Name is Celia/Me llamo Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz/la vida de Celia Cruz
by Monica Brown
This lively, vibrant bilingual biography tells the story of Cuban-born Celia Cruz, an important salsa singer and performer. The narrative traces Celia’s journey, starting with her love of music and through her experience as a refugee escaping the communist regime of Cuba. She brought her musical art to Miami and New York, fighting racial stereotypes and never giving up. The text evokes the rhythm of salsa music and is great fun to read.
Iguanas in the Snow: And Other Winter Poems / Iguanas en la Nieve: Y Otros Poemas de Invierno
by Francisco X. Alarcón
This bilingual collection of poems is part of a four book series spanning the seasonal year. Each short poem in free verse is in both Spanish and English, presenting snapshots of a diverse group of children enjoying wintery life to the fullest. Be sure to read the poetry collections for every season!
Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina
by Monica Brown
Red-headed half-Scottish half-Peruvian Marisol bounces off the page with great enthusiasm and loves her mismatched life. When her friend, Ollie, challenges her to “match”, Marisol finds she is unhappy with life as a conformist. This is a great story that emphasizes the importance of embracing and accepting one’s uniqueness.
Dear Primo: A Letter to My Cousin
by Duncan Tonatiuh
Two cousins—Charlie, who is American, and Carlitos, who is Mexican—write letters to each other describing their lives in their home countries, thus inviting readers to compare and contrast the different experiences. Tonatiuh’s illustrations are heavily influenced by Mixtec tradition (Mixtec was a major civilization of Mesoamerica). Primarily written in English, with some Spanish words, plus a glossary.
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