21 Fascinating And Fun Bilingual Children’s Books

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Claire Handscombe


Claire Handscombe moved from Europe to DC in 2012, ostensibly to study for an MFA in Creative Writing, but actually – let’s be honest – because of an obsession with The West Wing. She is the author of Unscripted, a novel about a young woman with a celebrity crush and a determined plan, and the editor of Walk With Us: How The West Wing Changed Our Lives. She also hosts the Brit Lit Podcast, a fortnightly show of news and views from British books and publishing. Blog: the Brit Lit Blog. Twitter: @BookishClaire

Whether you’re part of a bilingual family, living in a country not your own, or wanting to give your kid a head start on learning another language, these bilingual children’s books will help you bring Spanish, French, Mandarin, and more into your life.

Bilingual Spanish/English Board Books

Alrededor Del Mundo Con Cantinflas by Patty Rodriguez, Ariana Stein, and Citlali Reyes

Introduce your littles to their first English and Spanish words while you travel around the world – including by train through the U.S. and in a hot air balloon through France.

This book is one of the few from the Li’l Libros series, worth investigating for more great bilingual board books.

Cerca – Close by Juan Felipe Herrera and Blanca Gómez

This book will help your child understand the notion of things being near to each other – and people, too.

 Good Morning – Buenos Días by Meritxell Martí and Xavier Salomó

This pop-up book narrates what a morning can look like: dad shaves, the rooster crows, people drink coffee.

Good Night – Buenas Noches by Meritxell Martí and Xavier Salomó

In the companion volume, sliding tabs illustrate everyone and everything going to sleep: the cat, the trees, baby’s house.

La Oruga Muy Hambrienta – The Very Hungry Caterpillar by Eric Carle

There’s a reason this kids’ classic about a caterpillar eating his way through the world and becoming a butterfly has sold 12 million copies worldwide. It’s delightful!

What Am I? by Diane de Anda and Sara Sanchez

This lift-the-flap book used rhymes to introduce new Spanish words with a transport theme.

Bilingual Spanish/English Picture Books

Arroz con leche: Canciones y Ritmos Populares de América Latina by Lulu Delacre

A collection of traditional songs from Latin America, with an English translation included alongside the original words.

Canta Conmigo/Sing With Me by José-Luis Orozco and Sara Palacios

This collection of songs includes preschool classics like The Wheels on the Bus and Twinkle Twinkle Little Star in both English and Spanish.

La Manta de Maya – Maya’s Blanket by Monica Brown and David Diaz

A delightful book about making memories and keepsakes and preserving them through the generations.

Marisol McDonald Doesn’t Match by Monica Brown and Sara Palacios

This book is great for any kids of mixed heritage to be able to put their feelings into words and know they are not alone. Marisol celebrates her differences and so can the child reading her story.

Martí y sus versos por la libertad/Martí’s Song for Freedom by Emma Otheguy and Adriana Dominguez

A biography in verse of José Martí, who fought, among other things, for the abolition of slavery, political independence for Cuba.

Una Sorpresa Para Teresita/A Surprise for Teresita by Virginia Sánchez-Korrol and Carolyn Dee Flores

Teresita turns 7 today in a Puerto Rican neighbourhood of New York City and her Tío Ramón is going to bring her a surprise.

A Bilingual Spanish/English Book for Elementary School Kids

Calling the Doves/El canto de las palomas by Juan Felipe Herrera and Elly Simmons

Booklist has said of this inspirational memoir that it’s “a welcome alternative to the usually bleak portrayal of the migrant farmworker experience…an inspirational self-portrait of a loving Latino family.”

Bilingual Kids’ Books in French

Animals in French and English by Oui Love Books

Whether in the ocean, in the Arctic, or on a farm, meet dozens of animals in their natural habitats, with labels in both languages.

Ma journée de neige/My Snow Day by Ally Nathaniel and Milena Radeva

Three siblings all learn to work together to build a snow-woman, and learn about family, creativity and teamwork in the process.

Le Chat au Chapeau/The Cat in the Hat by Dr Seuss

The Dr Seuss classic is available in both French and Spanish.

Où est le bébé/Peekaboo baby by Sujatha Lalgudi

Designed for kids learning French as a foreign language, this book features a baby on each page, and the reader must find the partly hidden eyes, ears, or nose.

Bonus tip: for more bilingual French/English books, head to a Canadian online bookstore.

Bilingual Kids’ Books in Mandarin and Cantonese

First Words in Chinese by Jane C Thai

This book is full of animals and everyday objects to help children build their vocabulary.

Mina’s Scavenger Hunt by Katrina Liu and Rosalia Destarisa

Learn everyday words with Mina and her dog as they unearth clues to find hidden treasures. If you enjoy this one, you might also want to check out Mina’s First Day of School.

This book will help your child pick up some common counting and measuring words while learning about Lunar New Year.

Bilingual Kids’ Book Available in Several Languages

The Kindergartener’s Handbook by Dayna Martin and A.R. Roumanis

This book will help teach letters, numbers, colours, shapes, time, seasons, weather, and more – 19 basic concepts in all – so that your child can be ready for first grade. Versions exist in Spanish, French, German, Japanese, and Mandarin.

Want even more suggestions for bilingual children’s books? Check out these posts!

Where You Can Find Bilingual and Spanish Children’s Books

Lil’ Libros: Great Bilingual Board Books For Children