Top 10: Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

Top 10: Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

This is my third bilingual Spanish book list. Author Derek Taylor Kent wrote the first one. The second bilingual Spanish picture book list is from illustrator Wendy Martin. Today’s list is my own, the result of a pile of bilingual books that I’ve been saving for six months, and the books I read to create a Mexico picture book list.

What bilingual Spanish books do you recommend? Thanks for sharing!

Bilingual Spanish Picture Books Hot of the Press!

Marisol McDonald and the Monster by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios

Marisol McDonald likes being mismatched but she doesn’t like monsters. After hearing a noise under her bed, she’s certain there’s a monster there. She figures out her own solution to her phobia, but it turns out that the noise has a more prosaic explanation. And now, she has two companions under her bed at night. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Mama the Alien by René Colato Laínez, illustrated by Laura Lacámara

It’s a case of mistaken identity. Sofia finds Mamá’s identification card in her purse and discovers that she’s an alien. Sofia now believes that she’s half alien and gets to work to figure out what this might mean. What language does an alien speak? Will space ships land in her yard? Does she have hidden alien body parts? Finally, her parents realize what Sofia thinks and explain their reason for celebration. Mamá is becoming a citizen! Her old card was a Resident Alien card, which has been renamed Permanent Resident. This a humorous picture book to discuss the process of Naturalization with kids. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

Top 10: Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

10. Olinguito, from A to Z! by Lulu Delacre

Join a zoologist in the cloud forest as he searches for the elusive olinguito. The Spanish version showcases alliteration, while the English version tells an alphabet story of the animals in the enchanted forest of Ecuador. Together, both reader and scientist discover a new species of raccoon-like carnivores … the olinguito! [picture book, ages 2 and up]

9. Dalia’s Wondrous Hair by Laura Lacamara, translated by Gabriela Baeza Ventura

Dalia’s hair is a story of magical realism; her hair morphing into a column of hair as tall as a Cuban royal palm tree. Dalia decides to include flora and fauna into her hair, turning it into a micro ecosystem. Instead of washing her creation clean, Dalia requests one more day which her mother grants. A marvelous surprise is revealed, celebrating the natural world of Cuba. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

8. ‘Twas Nochebuena by Roseanne Greenfield Thong, illustrated by Sara Palacios

This Christmas story is mostly in English but with Spanish words sprinkled in. It’s not strictly bilingual like the other books on the list, but is a good way to introduce kids to another language. The story a clever take on The Night Before Christmas but celebrated in a Hispanic tradition with lots of festive food including tamales, montones, champurrado, pozole, mole, and buñuelos. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

7. El Perro con Sombrero by Derek Taylor Kent, illustrated by Jed Henry

Pepe has a nose for mischief and was inspired by Derek Taylor Kent’s own dog Zander, who luckily never had to live on the streets like Pepe. When a sombrero falls on Pepe, he starts attracting all kinds of attention. Just watch out for El Gato en Zapatos, Pepe! [picture book, ages 4 and up]

6. The Remembering Days by Pat Mora, illustrated by Robert Castilla

Set in ancient times in what is now Mexico, Bella and her grandmother, Mamá Alma, weave and work the land. Soon, it’s time to plan a remembering day to honor loved ones who have passed away. As the seasons change from summer to fall, Mamá Alma dies. When a year has passed, Bella plans the first remembering day and invites her village. With orange petals for Mamá Alma to find the way, a table heaped with her favorite foods, and stories and songs to remember her, remembering days becomes the precursor to The Day of the Dead. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

5. My Name is Gabito by Monica Brown, illustrated by Raul Colon

The life of Gabriel Garcia Marquez from his childhood in Colombia to today. 

4. What Can You Do With a Rebozo? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Amy Cordova

This sequel to What Can You Do With a Paleta? shows the myriad of uses for the rebozo, a multi-purpose shawl. It can become a fort to play in, a warm blanket, or a way to carry a baby. [picture book, ages 2 and up]

3. Furqan’s First Flat Top by Robert Liu-Trujillo

A haircut is not  just a haircut. This is Furqan’s first haircut! In getting his first flat top, his first flat top is also about the love between father and son, and Furqan takes the plunge into a new hairstyle that is also a source cultural pride. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

2. Maya’s Blanket by Monica Brown, illustrated by David Diaz

When Maya’s very special blanket gets frayed around the edges, her grandmother helps her turn it into something new. From a blanket to a dress. From a dress to a skirt. From a skirt to a shawl. From a shawl to a scarf. From a scarf to a ribbon. Finally, from a ribbon to a book mark. When the book mark gets lost, Maya has a great idea of how to keep her blanket safe forever. Celebrating ingenuity and love, Maya’s blanket is also a story about growing up and letting go.  [picture book, ages 4 and up]

1. Finding the Music by Jennifer Torres, illustrated by Renato Alarcão

Reyna grows closer to her deceased grandfather when she accidentally damages his guitar hanging her family’s restaurant. The kind deeds that he did when he was alive come back around to illuminate to Reyna what kind of person he was as she tries to get the guitar repaired.

The idea of karma can be abstract and this bilingual picture book beautifully illustrates the ripple effect of being a good person. [picture book, ages 4 and up]

 To examine any book more closely at Amazon, please click on image of book.

Top 10: Bilingual Spanish Picture Books

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By Mia Wenjen, PragmaticMom


  1. Such a great way to teach a foreign language to children. You shared some of my favorites, but there are other still to be read. Thanks!
    Patricia Tilton recently posted…Celebrate International Dot Day September 15ishMy Profile

  2. This post came right on time. I’m ordering some birthday gifts for a preschooler and now I have another list to search for just the right book.
    Children need to be bilingual as an added language opens up many opportunities and gets them comfortable and excited about learning about other people, cultures, and places.

    Mona AlvaradoFrazier recently posted…Letting The Soul and Spirit Fly in CozumelMy Profile

  3. I am so happy to see more and more bilingual books published each year.
    maryanne recently posted…Planning and Design Made Fun with BloxelsMy Profile

  4. Sarah

    I see some of my favorite authors on here and some new ones that I have to add to my wishlist, awesome list!

  5. I love the collection! I just read Maya’s Blanket in my class and they loved it. I really want to make connections between books now. After reading this one, I read LOTERIA and Mango, Abuela y yo.The three of them are perfect to teach the “making connections” comprehension skill.

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