Especially for kids, it’s hard to learn two languages at the same time. To raise a bilingual child, you need some help, and there’s no better help than reading books! To be able to read in both languages was the best thing I ever did as a child. This list of English/Spanish books for kids will help both you and your child learn the language.
This is a list of books that are both in English and in Spanish. This means that each page or so has the English text on it, and then the Spanish translation on the next one after that (or the other way around). Great, because you can compare the translations and see what the words mean in the other language right away. Plus, it helps kids understand the story better. Keep in mind that different kids need different books based on their reading level. The categories here are a little mixed up. So without further ado, here are 15 books for kids that are both in English and Spanish.
Picture books are good for kids who are younger because they use pictures to tell a story. Their job is to teach young children how to read. They’re for kids who are between the ages of 2 and 8.
Dalia’s Wondrous Hair / El cabello maravilloso de Dalia by Laura Lacámara
This book is about a girl whose hair grows to the length of a palm tree in a matter of hours. In a fun twist, her hair grows butterflies the next day, making everyone around her happy. This book has beautiful pictures and short paragraphs that help tell its story. It has a lot of focus on nature, which makes it look beautiful. You can also listen to the book being read by the author in Spanish!
My Name is Celia: The Life of Celia Cruz / Me llamo Celia: la vida de Celia Cruz by Monica Brown and Rafael López
In this story, Celia, a Cuban singer, moves to the U.S. and makes a new kind of music. Images by famous Mexican illustrator Rafael López help bring the story to life. They are beautiful, but a little strange. My name is Celia is a fun story to read to your kids at night. It’s written in short paragraphs, so you can read it to them. You can even listen to the author talk about it in both English and Spanish, if you want!
My Diary from Here to There / Mi diario de aquí hasta allá by Amada Irma Pérez and Maya Christina Gonzalez
In this book, it’s written like a real diary. It tells the story of a family’s journey across the border. In the middle of the night, Amada hears her parents say that they will move from Mexico to the United States. That’s when she starts writing about what she hopes and fears her life will be like. There are short paragraphs in this book, too, but there is still room for you to enjoy the illustrations on their own. This book also tells a story in this way. It’s a good story about family, love, and how to deal with change.
Hairs/Pelitos by Sandra Cisneros and Terry Ybáñez
In this list, this is the first picture book that doesn’t have a lot of text on each page. Instead, it focuses on the images on each page. The House on Mango Street is a book that is part of another book by Sandra Cisneros called The House on Mango Street. If you like her work, you will enjoy this book. That’s not all. It has these beautiful illustrations that really bring the piece of the story home. If you haven’t read the book, this chapter talks about how everyone in the family has different hairstyles and skin tones. It also talks about how diversity is important. A great piece of writing, this book is all of that and more. It is a celebration of diversity and the little things that make us who we are.
I love Saturdays y domingos/ Me encantan los Saturdays y los domingos by Alma Flor Ada and Elivia Savadier
This book also has less text than the others, but a little more than Hairs. The format is also a little different from the others. A page with both English and Spanish translations doesn’t have them together on the same page. Rather, it shows the narrator going to visit her grandparents. With her paternal grandparents, she speaks English, but with her maternal grandparents, she speaks Spanish, so they speak the same language (they are Mexican American). When they go to each other, they show how different their cultures and heritages are, both in the language and in the way they celebrate her birthday. This is a fun book that shows how different families are and how they all have one thing in common: their unwavering love for their friends and family. The watercolor illustrations are very beautiful.
These are the books for kids who are learning to read on their own. They come in a lot of different styles because they can change based on the age group. That’s why it’s usually used by kids between the ages of 5 and 9. Some of them fall somewhere between picture books and chapter books, depending on how hard they are for the kids to read.
Rabbit and Turtle Go To School/Conejo y tortuga van a la escuela by Lucy Floyd and Christopher Denise
You can read the story of “The Turtle and the Hare” by Aesop here. It’s different in this case, though. They both race to school, one on a bus and the other running. It’s a picture book for young kids who are learning to read on their own. The Green Light Readers level 1 is because it’s so easy.
Catch Me If You Can!/¡A que no me alcanzas! by Bernard Most
For myself, I was a dinosaur kid. I would have loved this book. Some of the illustrations are simple but cute. You also get to see the powerful T-Rex in action in this book. All of the other dinosaurs run and hide from him, except for his granddaughter, who knows how sweet he can be. There aren’t a lot of words in this short book, but the language isn’t as simple as in a lot of books. The Green Light Readers level 2 is why. It’s a very sweet story about family and how people look.
Daniel’s Mystery Egg/El misterioso huevo de Daniel by Alma Flor Ada and G. Brian Karas
One more book with a simple plot. After Daniel’s class finds an egg, they have a lot of fun letting their imaginations run wild with ideas. What could be inside? It is a bird. Airplane! It’s most likely not the second one! Kids can learn a lot of words with this book, especially because it talks about a lot of animals in both languages. Green Light Readers Level 2 is fun, short, and easy to read. It can help kids learn a lot of new words.
English-Spanish First Little Readers: Guided Reading Level D pack by Liza Charlesworth
This one is different. There are 25 eight-page books in a box. It was written for Guided Reading Level D, which is for first graders, so it’s not as hard as other books. But, again, that’s all up to each child and how they feel about it. It also comes with a short guide for parents, so they can learn more about the game. All of the books in the box are also in both English and French. For this reason, children will have a lot of stories for when they start to read.
Chapter books are a great place for kids to start when they’re young. Unlike picture books, they have more pictures and longer text. They also focus more on the stories they tell rather than on the pictures they show. They are best for kids between the ages of 7 and 9. The language can be a little more difficult for younger kids.
Upside Down And Backwards/De cabeza y al revés by Diane Gonzales Bertrand
There are six short stories in this book that show a lot of different weird things that happen, like weird neighbors or wacky science projects. It doesn’t matter who the people are in the stories: if they are friends or family, they are important to them. It also makes ordinary things into amazing stories that any child will love to read. All of the stories are short and there are a few illustrations in them to help kids picture the story.
Todos Iguales/All Equal: Un corrido de Lemon Grove/A Ballad of Lemon Grove by Christy Hale
Lemon Grove is an interesting book. It’s a good way to teach kids both a second language and some history. It’s about Roberto, a boy who helped his school become more diverse. During the 1930s, there was a school that wanted to separate the Mexican American kids because they didn’t speak the same language as the other kids. It was the community’s turn to fight back against the court, and they won the case. This meant that the children could go back to school. Isn’t this a first for the United States? It’s a good idea to read it.
In My Family/En mi familia by Carmen Lomas Garza
This book is a sweet and loving way for the author to remember her family. It’s full of vivid pictures and stories about the author’s life. Making empanadas with her family or cleaning nopales are two things that she likes to do. It feels like going through old family photos when you read it. I think it’s a great book for kids to read because not only does it teach them a language, but it also gives them a unique look into the life of a Mexican American family!
Middle Grade Books
They have a more detailed plot and very few illustrations in middle-grade books. They are for kids who mostly read on their own, from the age of 8 to 12. Longer stories with characters who are about the same age as the reader are in the book
The Day It Snowed Tortillas / El día que nevaron tortillas, Folktales told in Spanish and English by Joe Hayes and Antonio Castro
People in New Mexico have told these magical stories for generations, ever since the Spanish came to the country. This book of folktales tells them. It is a collection of short stories that are easy for kids to read. As they learn more about the cultural history of the area, they won’t have any trouble understanding them. Some of the stories are called La Llorona, or “The Weeping Woman.” In the title story, a woman tells her husband that it had snowed tortillas that night.
Maximilian & the Mystery of the Guardian Angel: A Bilingual Lucha Libre Thriller by Xavier Garza
Among the books on this list, this is one of the more difficult ones. Because it’s middle-grade, it has more of a story than other books. An 11-year-old wrestling fan is the main character in this movie. One day, he learns that he has a connection to a famous wrestler called the Guardian Angel. Fun things happen, of course. Illustrations are in the book, but they don’t add much to the story itself. There is still a lot to like about this book. It has action, adventures, and a story that kids can enjoy from start to finish.
Letters from Heaven/Cartas del cielo by Lydia Gil
This book is about Celeste, a girl who gets letters from her grandmother after her grandmother dies. She also gets recipes from her grandmother that she used to make. Celeste also has to deal with things like bullying, loss, and money problems in her family, so that’s not all. So the letters help her deal with all the things that are going on in her life. With recipes from the Caribbean, it shows kids how to deal with the pain of losing a loved one and how to deal with the hardships they face as they grow up.