Bilingual Picture Books: Stories Featuring Spanish Vocabulary Words
These stories are told primarily in English, with Spanish vocabulary words and phrases sprinkled throughout. This style reflects language as it is used by multilingual speakers across the globe — a fluid mix of words and idioms across languages.
Learn more about this form of translanguaging in our article Windows and Mirrors: Latinx Experiences in Children's Literature.
It’s Christmas Eve, and you’re invited to a Nochebuena celebration! Follow a family as they prepare to host a night filled with laughter, love, and Latino tradition. Make tasty tamales and hang colorful adornos (decorations) on the walls. Gather to sing festive canciones (songs) while sipping champurrado (hot chocolate). After the midnight feast has been served and the last gifts have been unwrapped, it’s time to cheer, “Feliz Navidad and to all a good night!”
Bebé Goes Shopping
It's a big day for Bebé and Mamá at the grocery store, complete with animal crackers, balloons, and many near escapes from the shopping cart! Written in rhyme, the text mixes English and Spanish words in a seamless way. The colorful and charming illustrations bring Bebé and Mamá's grocery store adventures to life on the page.
Green Is a Chile Pepper: A Book of Colors
In the latest collaboration between Thong and Parra, children discover a world of colors all around them: red is spices and swirling skirts, yellow is masa, tortillas, and sweet corn cake. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal. With rich, boisterous illustrations, a fun-to-read rhyming text, and an informative glossary, this playful concept book will reinforce the colors found in every child's day!
I Love Saturdays y domingos
A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa and Grandma, while on Sundays, los domingos, she speaks Spanish with Abeulito and Abeulita. The format provides a glimpse at the subtle differences between cultures and highlights their similarities, one of which is each set of grandparents' love for their granddaughter. Spanish words are interspersed in the fluid text.
Isabel and Her Colores Go to School
English, with its blustery blues and whites, just feels wrong to Isabel. She prefers the warm oranges and pinks of Spanish. As she prepares for class at a new school, she knows she's going to have to learn — and she would rather not! Her first day is uncomfortable, until she discovers there's more than one way to communicate with friends. This is a universal story about feeling new and making new friends.
La Madre Goose: Nursery Rhymes for los Niños
Classic Mother Goose rhymes get a Latino twist in this cozy collection. From young Juan Ramón sitting in el rincón to three little gatitos who lost their mitoncitos, readers will be delighted to see familiar characters in vibrant, luminous scenes brimming with fanciful details.
La Princesa and the Pea
The Princess and the Pea gets a fresh twist in this charming bilingual retelling, winner of the Pura Belpré Medal for Illustration. El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The queen has a secret test in mind to see if this girl is really a princesa, but the prince might just have a sneaky plan, too. Readers will be enchanted by this Latino twist on the classic story, and captivated by the vibrant art inspired by the culture of Peru.
Lucía the Luchadora
Lucía zips through the playground in her cape just like the boys, but when they tell her "girls can't be superheroes," suddenly she doesn't feel so mighty. That's when her beloved abuela reveals a dazzling secret: Lucía comes from a family of luchadoras, the bold and valiant women of the Mexican lucha libre tradition. Cloaked in a flashy new disguise, Lucía returns as a recess sensation!
Mango, Abuela, and Me
Mia's abuela has left her sunny house with parrots and palm trees to live with Mia and her parents in the city. The night she arrives, Mia tries to share her favorite book with Abuela before they go to sleep and discovers that Abuela can't read the words inside. So while they cook, Mia helps Abuela learn English ("Dough. Masa"), and Mia learns some Spanish too, but it’s still hard for Abuela to learn the words she needs to tell Mia all her stories.
Marta! Big & Small
Marta is una niña, an ordinary girl . . . with some extraordinary animal friends! As Marta explores the jungle, she knows she's bigger than a bug, smaller than an elephant, and faster than a turtle. But then she meets the snake, who thinks Marta is sabrosa―tasty, very tasty! But Marta is ingeniosa, a very clever girl, and she outsmarts the snake with hilarious results. With simple Spanish and a glossary at the end, this fun read-aloud picture book, Marta! Big and Small, teaches little ones to identify opposites and animals and learn new words.
Maximilian & the Bingo Rematch: A Lucha Libre Sequel (Max's Lucha Libre Adventures)
In this sequel to Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel, everybody seems to be fighting: a couple of cranky tías who, like lucha libre rudos, will stop at nothing to triumph in the church's lotería game; Max's masked uncles going for the tag-team title of the world; and a green-eyed vixen named Paloma who challenges his love for Cecilia. Will good triumph over evil? Max sure hopes so!
Maximilian and the Lucha Libre Club: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller (Max's Lucha Libre Adventures)
The fights still rage on in the third installation of Max's Lucha Libre Adventures series. Max seems like any other nerdy kid until he's asked to join the Lucha Libre Club. The super-secret club admits only the offspring of wrestling royalty. And Max is a prince, descended through his mother from royal blood, his uncle the very king of lucha libre: The Guardian Angel. Trouble is, the club is so secret that Max can't tell his best friend or girlfriend what he is up to. Just that vexing girl, Paloma.
Mice and Beans
As Rosa Maria prepares for the family celebration of her granddaughter’s birthday, she gets unexpected help from the mice who live in the house. Spanish words are integrated into the joyful text and reflected in the energetic, vibrant illustrations.
N Is for Navidad
Join a joyous Latino celebration of Christmas from A to Z (angel to zapatos), enjoying the sights and symbols of the holiday. The book features a bilingual poem in English and Spanish. Additional explanations and Spanish holiday words conclude this energetic book with colorful and vibrant illustrations.
One Is a Piñata: A Book of Numbers
One is a rainbow. One is a cake. One is a piñata that's ready to break! In this lively picture book, children discover a fiesta of numbers in the world around them, all the way from one to ten: Two are maracas and cold ice creams, six are salsas and flavored aguas. Many of the featured objects are Latino in origin, and all are universal in appeal.
Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes
Circles, squares, triangles, ovals and stars are all around! The rhyming text incorporates Spanish words which are defined in illustrations reminiscent of folk art. A glossary of Spanish words concludes this engaging glimpse into Mexican culture.
Spanish Is My Superpower!
Rosita and her Mami are told not to speak Spanish at the supermarket. While discussing the upsetting encounter with her friends, Rosita is reminded how smart and special she is to speak two languages. And that the ability to do so is like having a superpower!
Buckle up as a toddler's tantrum is cleverly averted when a loving dad transforms an everyday neighborhood stroll into an extraordinary adventure. Brought to brilliantly-colored, kinetic life by award-winning artists Raúl the Third and Elaine Bay, Strollercoaster sings with details of a diverse and vibrant urban neighborhood bursting with life, enhanced by Spanish words embedded in the art. It's the best ride in town!
Tag Team: El Toro & Friends
Little Lobo introduced readers to his wrestling hero El Toro in Vamos! Let’s Go to the Market! Now El Toro is off on his own adventures in this early reader graphic novel series! After last night’s match, the stadium is a mess! With the collaborative spirit they have in the ring, El Toro and La Oink Oink tackle the cleaning up together.
The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred
Start with a farm maiden and a pot, invite some friends to help her, and before you know it, you have arroz con leche — and a rollicking party! Told in the style of "The House That Jack Built," this lively story incorporates new Spanish words into each refrain, which are highlighted by Rafael López's vibrant and entertaining illustrations. Activity guide available.
The Park Our Town Built
In the style of "The House That Jack Built," Diane Gonzales Bertrand offers a lively picture book that tells the story of a community coming together to build a park for the town. The story highlights key vocabulary words in English and Spanish with matching pictures, making it an excellent read-aloud choice for young children learning comprehension and predicting skills in either language.
The Piñata That the Farm Maiden Hung
A young girl sets out on errands for the day, and while she's gone, the farm maiden prepares a piñata from scratch with help from a boy, horse, goose, cat, sheep, and farmer. After they all fall asleep in the afternoon sun, they must scramble to finish preparations in time--just as the girl arrives back to her surprise party. Key English words change to Spanish as the cumulative verse builds to the celebratory ending. With the familiarity of "The House That Jack Built," the tale cleverly incorporates Spanish words, adding a new one in place of the English word from the previous page.
The Rainbow Tulip
Stella and her brothers speak Spanish at home but English at school. Being different is both scary and exciting. Stella learns this when she prepares for the school's celebration of May Day. She finds a way to honor her Mexican background by wearing a special skirt that is both alike yet different from the other girls'. Stella, like many children, can take pride in being part of two cultures. (In English sprinkled with Spanish).
Tooth on the Loose
"A young girl laments that her wiggly tooth will not fall out soon enough to enable her to collect tooth fairy money to buy a birthday gift for Papá. The rhyming story includes a mix of Spanish words within the English-language context — 'I needed that tooth out/today, not mañana./But yanking? Too painful./I tried a manzana.' The cheerful illustrations rendered in oil using a palette with shades of orange and rust show a delightful extended family willing to help the child with her problem." — School Library Journal
Waiting for the Biblioburro
Meet Ana, a young girl who loves to read. There aren't many books in her small Colombian village, though — until the day Ana meets the Biblioburro, a librarian who brings books through the mountains on the backs of two strong donkeys. Inspired by the heroic efforts of real-life librarian Luis Soriano, this story asks readers, "How far would you go for a book?"
¡Vamos! Let's Cross the Bridge
People are always crossing the bridge for work, to visit family, or for play. Some going this way; others going that way. Back and forth they go. With friends on foot and in bicycles, in cars and trucks, the bridge is an incredibly busy place with many different types of vehicles. Little Lobo and his dog Bernabé have a new truck and they are using it to carry party supplies over the bridge with their pals El Toro and La Oink Oink. The line is long and everyone on the bridge is stuck. How will they pass the time?
¡Vamos! Let's Go to the Market
Bilingual in a new way, this paper over board book teaches readers simple words in Spanish as they experience the bustling life of a border town. Follow Little Lobo and his dog Bernabe as they deliver supplies to a variety of vendors, selling everything from sweets to sombreros, portraits to piñatas, carved masks to comic books!
See more great related resources and videos in our Multicultural Literature section!