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Books and activities to build background knowledge — from Reading Rockets

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Bilingual Books

Bilingual books can help children learn new words in their non-native language — either by seeing the Spanish and English words side-by-side or by guessing word meaning through context. Bilingual books are a wonderful addition to a child's bookshelf — offering a window or mirror into cultural awareness and pride. Here, you'll find a collection of books with both English and Spanish text.

Learn more about diversity in children's books by visiting the Mirrors, Windows, Doors website.

In this section:


Also see tips for reading aloud with children. These parent tips are available in English and Spanish.


Great Fiction & Nonfiction Books

Age Level: 3-6 years old

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¡Pío Peep!: Traditional Spanish Nursery Rhymes

By: Alma Flor Ada, Isabel Campoy

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Poetry

Rhymes from Spanish speaking countries are presented in Spanish and recreated in English to form...

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About Birds / Sobre los parjaros

By: Catherine Sill

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Bugs, Birds and Animals

Handsome, realistic illustrations accompanied by straightforward information about North...

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Abuela

By: Arthur Dorros

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Flight

Rosalba imagines flying over New York City with her much loved abuela. The young girl uses...

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Around the World in a Bathtub

By: Wade Bradford

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures

Everywhere people take baths, but baths and bathing traditions are different in places and...

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Arroz con Leche

By: Lulu Delacre

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Fiction, Poetry

These traditional rhymes and songs from Latin America are presented in both English and Spanish...

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the yellow cover of Colores de la Vida showing a lion figure.

Colores de la Vida

By: Cynthia Weill

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Art and Artists, Geography, Travel and Cultures

Animal sculptures on carefully composed pages with the color words provide a fine introduction...

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Cuckoo: A Mexican Folktale / Cucu: Un cuento folklorico mexicano

By: Lois Ehlert

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Lazy Cuckoo has a beautiful singing voice and brightly colored feathers — until he loses them...

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illustrated cover of English and Spanish bilingual book Cuddled and Carried showing adult and baby panthers.

Cuddled and Carried / Consentido y cargado

By: Dia Michels

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Bugs, Birds and Animals

Bilingual book celebrates the bond between parent and child in the animal kingdom. Babies —...

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drawing of two children taking care of a chili plant

Green Is a Chile Pepper

By: Roseanne Thong

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Cooking and Food

Colors introduce foods and more Mexico and other Spanish-speaking counties. Naïve style...

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Hello Ocean / Hola Mar

By: Pam Muñoz Ryan

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Oceans, Rivers and Ponds

A child narrates her visit to the ocean, inviting readers to explore it with her. She experiences...

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I Love Saturdays y domingos

By: Alma Flor Ada

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Family and Community

A girl visits both sets of grandparents on weekends. On Saturdays, she speaks English with Grandpa...

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Cover of Josefina showing young Mexican woman holding many clay figures.

Josefina

By: Jeanette Winter

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Art and Artists, Geography, Travel and Cultures, Math and Measuring

Count along in English and Spanish with a Mexican folk artist as she sculpts her world from clay...

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La Princesa and the Pea

By: Susan Middleton Elya

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

El príncipe knows this girl is the one for him, but, as usual, his mother doesn’t agree. The...

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Medio Pollito / Half-Chicken

By: Alma Flor Ada

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Do you know why a weather vane has a little rooster on the top, spinning around to tell us which...

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Moon Rope/Un lazo a la luna

By: Lois Ehlert

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Look at the moon and what do you see? Could it be Fox? Fox convinced Mole to accompany him to...

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Pablo Neruda: Poet of the People

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Poetry

Neftali always loved nature and words. This fondness allowed Neftali — better known as Pablo...

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Paco and the Giant Chile Plant

By: Keith Polette

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

The Southwestern desert is the setting for this humorous variation on the classic fairy tale "...

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Round Is a Tortilla: A Book of Shapes

By: Roseanne Thong

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Poetry

Circles, squares, triangles, ovals and stars are all around! The rhyming text incorporates Spanish...

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The Bossy Gallito: A Traditional Cuban Folktale / Bossy Gallito: El gallo de bodas:

By: Lucía González

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Travel with Bossy Rooster to his uncle's wedding. Of course the road is not entirely smooth in...

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The First Tortilla: A Bilingual Story

By: Rudolfo Anaya

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Based on an ancient Mexican legend, this story introduces young readers to the importance...

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The Park Our Town Built

By: Diane Gonzales Bertrand

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Civics and Our Government, Family and Community

In the style of "The House That Jack Built," Diane Gonzales Bertrand offers a lively picture...

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The Runaway Piggy

By: James Luna

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

In the classic tradition of "The Gingerbread Man," these piggy cookie leaps off the baking tray...

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Tito Puente, Mambo King

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Music and Musicians

Tito Puente was born to be a musician. He grew up to become the Mamba King to whose music people...

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Tomás and the Library Lady

By: Pat Mora

Age Level: 3-6 years old

Theme: Family and Community

Tomás, child of migrant workers, visits the town library to find stories like the ones told by...

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Age Level: 6-9 years old

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Adelita: A Mexican Cinderella Story

By: Tomie dePaola

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Adelita’s stepmother and stepsisters relegate her to kitchen duties after her father dies - and...

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Barrio: José's Neighborhood/Barrio: El barrio de José

By: George Ancona

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Family and Community

José lives in a diverse neighborhood where he's just as likely to hear Spanish, English, or...

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Chavela and the Magic Bubble

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Nature: Our Green World

Chavela loves chomping chicle — chewing gum and blowing bubbles. One day, while out with her...

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Family Pictures/Cuadros de familia

By: Carmen Garza

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Family and Community

The artist recalls growing up in south Texas in this celebration of family and cultural...

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Finding the Music/En pos de la musica

By: Jennifer Torres

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Music and Musicians

Reyna accidentally breaks her abuelo’s vihuela and tries to fix it before her family finds out....

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Flutter and Hum: Animal Poems/Aleteo y Zumbido: Poemas de Animales

By: Julie Paschkis

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Bugs, Birds and Animals, Poetry

Short poems about animals appear in English and Spanish accompanied by textured illustrations...

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From the Bellybutton of the Moon and other Summer Poems/Del ombligo de la luna y otros poemas de verano

By: Francisco Alarcón

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Poetry

The poet remembers summers growing up in Mexico in poems presented in both English and Spanish....

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Galápagos Girl / Galapagueña

By: Marsha Diane Arnold

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Nature: Our Green World, Oceans, Rivers and Ponds

As a Galápagueña, Valentina spends her days observing the natural world around her. This...

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I Know the River Loves Me / Yo se que el rio me ama

By: Maya Christina Gonzalez

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Oceans, Rivers and Ponds, Poetry

Whenever Maya visits the river, the river jumps up to greet her. It cools her when the summer...

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In My Family/En mi familia

By: Carmen Garza

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Family and Community

Kingsville, on the border of Mexico and Texas, comes to life in words and pictures in this book...

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Just a Minute: A Trickster Tale and Counting Book

By: Yuyi Morales

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

This original trickster tale, featuring featuring Señor Calavera and Grandma Beetle, ...

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Just in Case: A Trickster Tale and Spanish Alphabet Book

By: Yuyi Morales

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Señor Calavera is back in this new original trickster tale about a Día de los Muertos skeleton...

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Mango, Abuela, and Me

By: Meg MedinaAngela

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Family and Community, Geography, Travel and Cultures

When a little girl’s far-away grandmother comes to stay, love and patience transcend language....

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Martina the Beautiful Cockroach: A Cuban Folktale

By: Carmen Agra Deedy

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Bugs, Birds and Animals, Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

A sweet retelling of the Cuban folktale, full of puns and a sprinkling of Spanish. When it...

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""

My Name Is Celia/Me llamo Celia

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures, Music and Musicians

The beautiful artwork of this award-winning picture book about salsa queen Celia Cruz practically...

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My Name Is Gabito: The Life of Gabriel García Márquez/Me llamo Gabito

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures

As she did in My Name Is Celia/Me llamo Celia, Monica Brown tells the story of young...

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My Name Is Gabriela / Me llamo Gabriela

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Poetry

"My name is Gabriela Mistral. It is a name I chose myself because I like the sound of it." With...

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Olinguito, de La A a la Z!/Olinguito, from A to Z!

By: Lulu Delacre

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Bugs, Birds and Animals, Geography, Travel and Cultures

Animals from the Ecuadorian Andes cloud forest are introduced in stunning illustrations and...

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Once Upon a Time: Traditional Latin American Tales / Habia una vez: Cuentos tradicionales Latino Americanos

By: Reuben Martinez

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Animals and people wise and foolish are presented in these tales retold. Their origins, from a...

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Señor Cat's Romance and Other Favorite Stories from Latin America

By: Lucía González

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Spanish words add flavor to these appealing folktales, cuentos favoritos, carefully illustrated...

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Sharuko: El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello / Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Detectives and Explorers, Geography, Travel and Cultures

 A bilingual picture book biography of Peruvian archaeologist and national icon Julio C....

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Side by Side: The Story of Dolores Huerta and Cesar Chavez / /Lado a Lado: La Historia de Dolores Huerta y Cesar Chavez

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Heroes and Superheroes

This bilingual book pairs the dual stories of powerful activists César Chávez and Dolores Huerta...

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The Cazuela That the Farm Maiden Stirred

By: Samantha Vamos

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Cooking and Food, Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Start with a farm maiden and a pot, invite some friends to help her, and before you know it, you...

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The Korean Cinderella

By: Shirley Climo

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

the story of Pear Blossom, a lovely girl who is sorely mistreated by her nasty stepmother and...

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The Legend of the Caribou Boy / Ekwò Dǫzhìa Wegond

By: George Blondin

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

When a little boy, traveling with his parents and grandparents, has trouble sleeping at night,...

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The Woman Who Outshone the Sun / La mujer que brillaba aún más que el sol

By: Alejandro Cruz Martinez

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

Lucia Zenteno is a mythic character, a woman of great beauty who is perfectly in tune with...

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Water Rolls, Water Rises/El agua rueda, el agua sube

By: Pat Mora

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Oceans, Rivers and Ponds, Poetry

Evocative watercolors and short, lyrical poems take readers on a trip, “Around our round world”...

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illustrated cover of Water Wonders showing a water pipe, a mouse with a magnifying glass, and a mouse with a jar of dirt.

Water Wonders: The Curious Adventures of Sydney & Symon / Las Maravillas del agua

By: Peter H. Reynolds, Paul A. Reynolds

Age Level: 6-9 years old

Theme: Oceans, Rivers and Ponds

In this bilingual book, two young scientists, Sydney and Symon Starr, a sister and brother team...

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Age Level: 9-12 years old

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Hello World: A Celebration of Languages and Curiosities

By: Jonathan Litton

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Theme: Geography, Travel and Cultures

There are many ways to say Hello! There’s more than just “hi!” People world-over say it in their...

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Magic Moments / Momentos Magicos

By: Olga Loya

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Theme: Folktales, Fairy Tales and Myths

A bilingual collection of 15 traditional tales from Latin America, including: Scary Stories,...

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Sharuko: Peruvian Archaeologist Julio C. Tello / El Arqueólogo Peruano Julio C. Tello

By: Monica Brown

Age Level: 9-12 years old

Theme: Detectives and Explorers, Geography, Travel and Cultures

Peruvian archaeologist and national icon Julio C. Tello unearthed Peru's ancient cultures and...

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