Please welcome illustrator Wendy Martin today with her Top 10 favorite Spanish bilingual picture books! I’m especially excited about bilingual Spanish picture books as a way to learn Spanish. This works equally well for kids and teens who are taking Spanish at school! I have another bilingual Spanish picture book list as well if you are looking for more titles.
The Story Circle by Diane Gonzales Bertrand, illustrated by Wendy Martin
The Story Circle is a book about how some elementary school children cope when a terrible flood ruins all their storybooks. During circle time, their wise teacher tells them they can have fun without books by making up their own stories. She starts off with one of her own, which excites all the children into shouting out theirs. She then helps them to write the stories down and then to add pictures to the words, creating new books to put on the empty shelves in the classroom. [bilingual picture book, ages 2 and up]
I’m so excited to bring to you my brand new book, The Story Circle by Diane Gonzales Bertrand. I’m the illustrator. I was especially thrilled to be a part of this book because of its bilingual nature. There are so few uplifting storybooks for young children that are bilingual. Here are some of my favorites.
Top 10 Bilingual Picture Books
1. Canta, Rana, canta/Sing, Froggie, Sing a traditional folksong illustrated by Carolyn Dee Flores
Based on a traditional folk song that has been sung by parents and children in Spanish-speaking countries for generations, Canta, Rana, canta / Sing, Froggie, Sing is a charming tale in which a lone frog is joined by larger and larger creatures much like the Old Lady Who Swallowed a Fly stories in English literature. The bright large imagery only adds to the bouncy funny tale. [bilingual picture book, ages 2 and up]
2. Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match / Marisol McDonald no combina by Monica Brown, illustrated by Sara Palacios
“My name is Marisol McDonald, and I don’t match. At least, that’s what everyone tells me.” Marisol is of mixed heritage, just like me. Also, just like me, her favorite outfits are stripes and dot combinations. Marisol won’t let the neigh-sayers make her conform to what they think she should be but revels in her uniqueness. [bilingual picture book, ages 4 and up]
3. Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacamara
While Dalia slept, her hair grew and grew. By the time the rooster crowed, her hair had grown straight up to the sky, tall and thick as a Cuban royal palm tree. As a child with thick curly hair, I would have loved to have a book to celebrate this feature. Dalia decorates her hair with and as the natural elements of the Cuban countryside. Yeah for unruly locks! [bilingual picture book, ages 4 and up]
4. What Can You Do with a Paleta / ¿Qué Puedes Hacer con una Paleta? by Carmen Tafolla, illustrated by Magaly Morales
Discover the joys of a paleta—the traditional Mexican popsicle treat sold from the wagon with the tinkling bell that brings children running from every direction. It’s so nice to see Hispanic American culture portrayed in such an accessible way to both native English and native Spanish speakers. Every American child can relate to the summer joy of a treat from the ice cream man. [bilingual picture book, ages 3 and up]
5. A Spoon for Every Bite / Cada Bocado con Nueva Cuchara by Joe Hayes, illustrated by Rebecca Leer
6. Rene Has Two Last Names / Rene tiene dos apellidos by Rene Colato Lainez, illustrated by Fabiola Graullera Ramirez
René, a new student from El Salvador, doesn’t understand why his second last name is missing from his desk’s name label. Adding it results in a name so long that his classmates make fun of it by comparing it to that of a dinosaur. It’s wonderful to see a positive viewpoint on resolving the difficulties of having cultural differences from your peers. René uses a class project to show his classmates why his extra-long name is very important to him, and why he doesn’t want to shorten it to fit in. [bilingual picture book, ages 5 and up]
7. Floating on Mama’s Song/Flotando en la canción de mama by Laura Lacamara, illustrated by Yuyi Morales
Anita’s mama loves to sing. Her singing is so beautiful that everyone around her floats in the air, even the family dog. But one day Mama stops singing. Can Anita bring back her mother’s happiness? A story about a family that crosses 3 generations. Even without the story, I’d love to pour over the pages of this book to drink in the glorious artwork. [bilingual picture book, ages 4 and up]
Follow two children as they celebrate their ancestors on this vibrant holiday. They offer marigolds, sugar skulls, and special bread, and make delicious foods. By spreading marigold petals, they guide the dead home to join the festivities. Finally, after singing and dancing, it’s time for bed. It’s so nice to have a book that celebrates the true meaning of this holiday in an accessible way for little children. [bilingual picture book, ages 4 and up]
Leticia’s grandfather, who was a vaquero as a young man, provides fanciful explanations for how he got his wrinkles, white hair, round belly, and stooped frame. This is another book I love just for the luscious art. Abuelito tells tall tales of how he became an old man. It’s funny, charming and heartwarming. [bilingual picture book, ages 5 and up]
Hugo’s mom sends him to the bodega for soap. He takes the long way around and ends up very dirty. This book is a fun adventure and a happy tale. The art is bright and bold. [bilingual picture book, ages 5 and up]
The Story Circle GIVEAWAY
To win a copy of The Story Circle, please fill out the Rafflecopter below.
Her love affair with art and illustration began at an early age. She never wanted to do anything else.
So, she followed my heart and earned a degree in Fashion Design from the Fashion Institute of Technology, then continued my art education at the School of Visual Arts, earning a B.F.A. in Graphic Design. These disciplines can still be seen in her work as a children’s book illustrator and fantasy artist in the strong lines, textures, and detailed patterns.
See additional art and find out more about her at wendymartinillustration.com.
I’m part of The Story Circle blog tour. Here are the rest of the stops:
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For more ideas of how to teach kids Spanish, please check out my Pinterest board:
p.s. Related posts:
BEST #OWNVOICES CHILDREN’S BOOKS: My Favorite Diversity Books for Kids Ages 1-12 is a book that I created to highlight books written by authors who share the same marginalized identity as the characters in their books.