Thematic Reading List: 15 Bilingual Picture Books
Bilingual picture books provide a unique way for students to learn basic words and conversational phrases in other languages. The books listed below present simple words and phrases great for beginning bilingual learners. Please note that most of the books on this list are bilingual Spanish/English in response to the higher percentage of Spanish/English learners in American classrooms.
|Calabash Cat, and His Amazing Journey
By: James Rumford
A Calabash Cat, living in Africa, sets off to see where the world ends. The text is also repeated in Arabic.
|The Day it Snowed Tortillas= El Dia que Nevaron Tortillas
By: Joe Hayes
Illustrated by: Antonio Castro Lopez
This flip-book relates ten Spanish folktales in both English and Spanish. A pencil drawing accompanies each story. Though every story has a familiar feel, they all have a distinct Spanish flavor that makes them appealing.
|El Gato Leo Comes to Play: a first Spanish story
By: Opal Dunn
Invites youngsters to learn Spanish by lifting the flaps to see the English translations of the words Leo, a cat who speaks only Spanish, says as he plays.
By: Pat Mora
Illustrated by: John Parra
A young multiracial boy celebrates family, friendship, and fun by telling about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.
|Hurry home, hedgehog!: a bilingual book of sounds
By: Belle Yang
Featuring side-by-side text in English and Mandarin Chinese, a bilingual celebration of the natural world combines illustrations with concept-reinforcing sound words describing a little hedgehog’s exploration of his surroundings.
|Let Me Help!
By: Alma Flor Ada
Illustrated by: Angela Dominguez
A pet parrot tries to help his human family prepare for the Cinco de Mayo festivities in San Antonio, Texas.
|Lupa Vargas and Her Super Best Friend
By: A Costales
Illustrated by: Alexandra Artigas
Lupe and Ana are best friends. After playing games, they have a disagreement and they must determine how to fix it.
By: Monica Brown
Illustrated by: David Diaz
When a little girl’s cherished baby blanket becomes old and worn, it is made into a dress, and over the years it is made into even smaller and smaller items, eventually ending up as a bookmark and inspiring the creation of a book.
|Minutka the bilingual dog
By: Anna Mycek-Wodecki
In both English and Chinese, a little black-and-white dog describes her life with a bilingual family and all the things she can do, including shake her paw and run in circles.
|My Name is Celia: the life of Celia Cruz
By: Monica Brown
Illustrated by: Rafael Lopez
This is the debut title in Rising Moon’s “Luna Rising” series of bilingual Latino storybook-biography series for young readers and tells the story of Cuban songstress/Salsa Queen Celia Cruz.
|Quinito’s Neighborhood= El Vecindario de Quinito
By: Ina Cumpiano
Illustrated by: Jose Ramirez
Quinito describes the members of his family and some of the people in his neighborhood and what they do, from his mother the carpenter and his father the nurse to his teacher and his wife, the school crossing guard.
|Say Something, Perico
By: Trudy Harris
Illustrated by: Cecilia Rebora
Perico is a Spanish-speaking parrot who lives in a pet store, and although he works very hard to earn a new home, buyers keep returning him until the bird, now bilingual, finds the perfect owner. Includes Spanish glossary and pronunciation guide.
|Sora and the cloud = Sora to kumo
By: Felicia Hoshino
Illustrated by: Akiko Hisa
A young boy climbs up a tree and into a waiting cloud, which takes him on a whirling adventure in the sky.
|The Storyteller’s Candle
By: Lucia M. Gonzalez
Illustrated by: Lulu Delacre
During the early days of the Great Depression, New York City’s first Puerto Rican librarian, Pura Belpre, introduces the public library to immigrants living in El Barrio and hosts the neighborhood’s first Three Kings’ Day fiesta.
|The Upside Down Boy
By: Juan Felipe Herrera
Illustrated by: Elizabeth G. Omez
The author recalls the year when his farm worker parents settled down in the city so that he could go to school for the first time.