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Bilingual Books

Picture Books | Fiction | Folklore
Poetry and Song | Nonfiction

The books recommended below were published within the last several years and received a 3 rating or better in the Horn Book Guide. Grade levels are only suggestions; the individual child is the real criterion.

Picture Books
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Quinito, Day and Night / Quinito, dia y noche written by Ina Cumpiano, illustrated by Jose Ramirez (Children’s Book Press)
Readers follow Quinito through a day as he describes, in both English and Spanish, his family, friends, and activities in terms of opposites. Grade level: Preschool–2. 24 pages.

Numero Uno written by Alex Dorros and Arthur Dorros, illustrated by Susan Guevara (Abrams)
Simple Spanish dialogue is easily accessible as brainy Socrates Rivera and brawny Hercules Hernandez argue over the building of a bridge. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Siesta by Ginger Foglesong Guy, illustrated by Rene King Moreno (Greenwillow)
A brother and sister gather different-colored items for a siesta in this warmly familial concept book. Grade level: Preschool. 32 pages.

Rooster / Gallo written by Jorge Lujan, illustrated by Manuel Monroy, translated by Elisa Amado (Groundwood)
The cycle from dawn to dawn is beautifully realized in midnight blues and earthy browns and golds and three lyrical sentences: Spanish echoed by English. Grade level: Preschool. 24 pages.

Let’s Eat! / A comer! and Sweet Dreams / Dulces Suenos written by Pat Mora, illustrated by Maribel Suarez (Rayo/HarperCollins)
In these entries in the My Family / Mi familia series, simple sentences (first in English, then in Spanish) and unfussy illustrations describe a family enjoying a meal together and Abuelita tucking in her grandchildren for the night. Grade level: Preschool. 24 pages (each).

A Perfect Season for Dreaming / Un tiempo perfecto para sonar written by Benjamin Alire Saenz, illustrated by Esau Andrade Valencia (Cinco Puntos)
Over the course of many summer siestas, seventy-eight-year-old Octavio Rivera dreams of a piñata that releases unexpected bounty—one Spanish guitar, two giant turtles, three Italian pears, etc.—and shares the wonder with his granddaughter. Grade level: K–3. 40 pages.

I Went Walking / Sali de paseo written by Sue Williams, illustrated by Julie Vivas (Libros Viajeros/Harcourt)
A new bilingual edition of the 1990 guessing-game concept book in which a child collects a procession of colorful animals. Grade level: Preschool. 32 pages.

Fiction
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Rafi and Rosi written and illustrated by Lulu Delacre (Rayo/HarperCollins)
Puerto Rican tree frog Rafi teaches his little sister about magnets, bioluminescence, and mangrove trees in this cheerful easy reader. Grade level: K–3. 64 pages.

Ghost Fever / Mal de fantasma by Joe Hayes (Cinco)
Alternating paragraphs of English and Spanish present this urban legend–style suspense story of a girl who helps a ghost right a wrong. Grade level: 4–6. 89 pages.

Folklore
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Hansel and Gretel / Hansel y Gretel written by Elisabet Abeya, illustrated by Cristina Losantos (Chronicle)
A straightforward retelling of the classic tale illustrated with cartoonlike art reminiscent of the Tintin and Asterix comics. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Tales Our Abuelitas Told: A Hispanic Folktale Collection by Isabel F. Campoy and Alma Flor Ada (Atheneum)
Four illustrators unite to present these twelve Latino folktales, ranging from the well-known to the obscure. Grade level: 4–6. 118 pages.

The Three Little Pigs / Los tres cerditos by Merce Escardo i Bas, illustrated by Pere Joan (Chronicle)
Old-fashioned illustrations and an English translation that maintains the Spanish text’s rhythm makes this offering perfect for reading aloud. Grade level: K–3. 28 pages.

The Musicians of Bremen / Los musicos de Bremen written by Roser Ros, illustrated by Pep Montserrat (Chronicle)
An imaginative retelling enhanced by stylish illustrations. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

The Hare and the Tortoise / La liebre y la Tortuga written by Maria Eulalia Valeri, illustrated by Max (Chronicle)
Retro-style illustrations reflect the humor of this retelling. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

Aladdin and the Magic Lamp / Aladino y la lampara maravillosa written by Josep Vallverdu, illustrated by Pep Montserrat (Chronicle)
Rich-hued paintings and a lively storytelling voice distinguish this retelling. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.

 

Poetry and Song
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

Talking with Mother Earth: Poems / Hablando con Madre Tierra: Poemas written by Jorge Argueta, illustrated by Lucia Angela Perez (Groundwood)
A Pipil Nahua Indian boy tells of his connections to the natural world; the simple but effective poems are accompanied by colorful, iconic imager. Grade level: 3–6. 32 pages.

Red Hot Salsa: Bilingual Poems on Being Young and Latino in the United States edited by Lori Marie Carlson (Holt)
Established poets and new voices capture the potent emotion of adolescence in this ten-years-later follow-up to Cool Salsa. Grade level: 7 and up. 140 pages.

Arroro mi nino: Latino Lullabies and Gentle Games written by Lulu Delacre, illustrated by Diana Saez (Lee)
Music and instructions are included in this collection of the best-known Latino lullabies and finger plays, enhanced with oil-wash illustrations. Grade level: Preschool. 32 pages.

The Dream on Blanca’s Wall: Poems in English and Spanish / El sueno pegado en la pared de Blanca: Poemas en ingles y epanol written by Jane Medina, illustrated by Robert Casilla (Wordsong/Boyds)
Sixth-grader Blanca, who lives with her immigrant family in the barrio, yearns for a better life; realistic black-and-white illustrations accompany the free-verse poems. Grade level: 4–6. 48 pages.

An Illustrated Treasury of Latino Read-aloud Stories: The World’s Best-Loved Stories for Parent and Child to Share edited by Maite Suarez-Rivas, translated by Alma Mora (Black Dog)
Latino myths, fables, and fairy tales, plus some recent stories, are collected and illustrated by (with one exception) Latino artists for an excellent introduction to richness of this heritage.

 

Nonfiction
Suggested grade level listed with each entry

My Name Is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz / Me llamo Celia: La vida de Celia Cruz written by Monica Brown, illustrated by Rafael Lopez (Luna Rising/Northland)
The Queen of Salsa narrates her own tale with vivid poetic language and magical realism. Grade level: K–3. 32 pages.


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