Two languages are much better than one! Help your budding linguist learn Spanish or English with the following board books and picture books. Just a few helpful notes: the first two books on the list, Cerca/Close and Lejos/Far are completely bilingual, all text is represented in both Spanish and English. Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida is mostly bilingual, but there is some English text that has not been translated to Spanish. As for the last two titles, most of the text is in English, with just a few Spanish words or phrases on each page. Happy reading!
Cerca/Close, by Juan Felipe Herrera and Blanca Gómez
Young ones will learn about distance, and the concept of close, with Juan Felipe Herrera’s adorable board book. Cerca/Close follows a young girl from her cuarto (bedroom) to la cocina (the kitchen) to picking las margaritas (the daisies). Herrera shows the reader many examples of things that are close. The girl’s bedroom is close to the kitchen. The front door is close to the daisies. The horses are close to her friend’s house. Again and again, readers will see what it looks like when objects are close. Recommended!
Lejos/Far, by Juan Felipe Herrera and Blanca Gómez
Lejos/Far is the companion book to Cerca/Close. In this story, a boy points out objects that are far away. The boy notices that a tree is far from his house and his house is far from the city. He sees that mountains are far from the sea and that clouds are far from the sun. Used together, Lejos/Far and Cerca/Close will help build your young reader’s understanding of distance!
Proud to Be Latino: Food/Comida, by Ashley Marie Mireles and Edith Valle
Ashley Marie Mireles’s board book is a celebration of food and culture. Each page tells the story of a different staple of Latino cuisine, from arroz and frijoles (rice and beans) to delicious dulces (sweets). Readers will learn a plethora of food-related fun facts. Accompanying the text are Edith Valle’s exuberant illustrations of dozens of regional dishes.
Across the Bay, by Carlos Aponte
When Carlitos goes to the barbershop, he can’t help but feel different. The other boys wait with their fathers while Carlitos is dropped off by his mom. The boy decides to search for his father across the bay in Puerto Rico’s Old San Juan. During his adventure, Carlitos meets street vendors, stray cats, and old men playing dominoes. But Carlito’s dad is nowhere to be found. At the castle El Morro, Carlitos learns an important life lesson and returns to his mom, abuela, and a cat named Coco.
A poignant tale about family and identity, Across the Bay is written and illustrated by Carlos Aponte. Aponte is also the author of A Season to Bee, a picture book celebrating color, fashion, and stylish insects.
Octopus Stew, by Eric Velasquez
Ramsey’s grandma is making a special dish: pulpo guisado, also known as octopus stew. All is well, until Ramsey and his grandma hear strange sounds coming from the kitchen. The octopus is very much alive, and taking over the house! The boy tries to scare the octopus by drawing a shark, but the octopus just shoots ink at his illustration. How will Ramsey save the day?
At the end of the book, readers will find a recipe for octopus stew, and a glossary of Spanish words and phrases used in the story. Eric Velasquez, the book’s author and illustrator, is the winner of the Pura Belpré and Coretta Scott King Steptoe Awards.
What bilingual board books do you love?