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Episode 88: Book Recommendations for Your Littles!

This past month has been particularly busy with work projects, and house projects, and basically everything, so today's episode is something fun: 11 Spanish book recommendations for little kids! Whether you're gearing up for the start of school or just want to interact with your little one in Spanish, this episode is for you! I was going to begin our cultural tip on Honduras this week, but instead decided to include one more book on my list, making it a nice 11 instead of an even 10. Hopefully you enjoy this, so let's get started!

 
 

This episode includes affiliate links to Amazon. In essence, at no extra charge to you, I receive a small commission if you choose to purchase the product using my link (you can see my disclosure policy here). I only recommend products this way that I have bought and/or used myself and have found to be useful.


11 Book Recommendations

Here are several books that I or my husband have really enjoyed reading with our toddler. Some of them are definitely for little kids, but I think others would be enjoyed by slightly older kids, maybe 6 or 7? I would recommend seeing if your local library has any of these first, so that you can try them out for yourselves before committing to buying them. But if you'd like to buy more Spanish books, I have included affiliate links to Amazon for each book. That being said, Amazon is not always the cheapest option. My husband and I always check out Amazon, Thriftbooks, and even Ebay to find the best deals! (And sometimes your local used bookstore will have some really delightful surprises; you never know! I once found a grammar book for and two children's books in Welsh! Really random. :D) And, of course, if you would like to support the authors, there's always the option to buy new from places like Barnes and Noble or a local bookstore. :)


If you would like more Spanish resource recommendations, check out my free Spanish Language Resource Library!


6 Books for Little Ones

Let's first discuss the books that are really geared towards little children (think board books, maybe 0-3 years old? I'm not an expert on age ranges and reading levels, so just bear that in mind. These age recommendations are all guesses.)


1. Buenas Noches a Todos

By Sandra Boynton

I love Sandra Boynton's charming kids' books, like Barnyard Dance (this used to be one of my daughter's favorites! It was great for teaching her the animals in American Sign Language (ASL) and Spanish) and Personal Penguin (we first learned about this one when some friends of ours did the song with their daughter, and it was adorable!) So when I saw that our library had her books in Spanish, I was delighted! Buenas Noches A Todos is one that my little girl really enjoyed reading, even though she didn't know all of the words in Spanish. It's a sweet book with fun illustrations about a bunch of animals on a boat getting ready for bed.


2. Chica chica bum bum!

By Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault, Illustrated by Lois Ehlert

I stumbled upon this book by accident, as the cover didn't really entice me. But as they say, "you can't judge a book by its cover!" This is a delightful board book about the lowercase, little letters racing to the top of a coconut tree and the ensuing crash and recovery as they all fall out. It's a great way to learn the Spanish alphabet (and they include ñ in this Spanish translation!) to a fun rhythm and rhyme.




3. ¿Quién se comió mi fruta?

By Canizales

This is another book I wasn't expecting to like, but ended up loving. The main character is a cat who is very hungry and excited to eat his fruit. But, lo and behold, he finds out that his friends have eaten each one. This book was great for teaching my toddler Spanish and ASL words for fruit and the phrase, "¿Quién se comió....?".




4. Madeline

By Ludwig Bemelmans

For anyone who grew up reading this classic, Madeline is lovely! My toddler enjoys the shorter books (there are some, like Madeline in London, that are too long for her), and I was delighted to find a Spanish version! While I don´t think the poetry is as good as the English version, it still has a nice cadence and the illustrations are fun for both children and adults to look at. (Personally, I enjoy trying to figure out the different landmarks from Paris!)




5. Bebé Goes Shopping

By Susan Middleton Elya, illustrated by Steven Salerno

This also was a surprising find (my library has quite a few unexpected gems!). The artwork is a bit whimsical, but I love that this book is a mix of both English and Spanish, and you can generally pick up on what the Spanish means from the context. I just checked this out from the library again and my daughter had me read it three times in one day (she would probably have asked for it more, but thankfully she got distracted!). This book is the reason my daughter amused our church community with her talk of chocolate-covered pickles at children's church :D. So just be aware, it is a fun book!



6. La Araña Muy Ocupada

By Eric Carle

Eric Carle's books are amazing classics (think The Very Hungry Caterpillar, one of the most famous classic children's books out there), and this book is no different. This is another one of my daughter's favorite books to get from the library, and I love it because it shows the different sounds that farm animals make in Spanish. The only thing I don't like is the book's translation of "rooster". But that's an easy thing to fix when reading aloud.




5 Books for Slightly Older Ones

Again, I´m not an expert on age ranges and reading, but I think the following books can be enjoyed both by little ones and slightly older ones, so maybe 0-5, or even 0-7. The fact that they are great tools for learning more Spanish extends the reading age, I think. Truthfully, some of these I enjoy reading as an adult, so there you go. :)

1. Paletero Man

By Lucky Diaz, illustrated by Micah Player and translated by Dr. Carmen Tafolla

This book was a Nominee for the Indiana Early Literary Firefly Award (you can see what that means here). Just like Bebé Goes Shopping, Paletero Man is a mix of Spanish and English where the context tells you what the Spanish words mean. My favorite part is where the protagonist lists all of the different paleta flavors, and these are a bit harder to get. You would have to use a dictionary, I think, rather than rely on context completely, as some of the flavors are a bit more exotic. There is a live song that you can listen to (click here), but I actually don't like it and try not to think about it as I read the book out loud. But the book itself is lovely.


2. Vamos a Cazar Un Oso

By Michael Rosen, illustrated by Helen Oxenbury

This book was a key figure in my childhood, and I love passing on the tradition of going on a bear hunt with my little girl (I can't wait until my baby boy is old enough to join in!). Because this book is so important to me, I actually cried when a friend gave me both the English and Spanish versions. The Spanish version is not a direct translation, although it does stick pretty close most of the time to the original, but it is still a delight in its own way. My favorite part of the translated version is seeing all of the different sound affects! They are pretty different in Spanish! :)



3. ¡Vamos! Let's Go Eat

By Raúl the Third, colors by Elaine Bay

This is the latest find we've found. My husband really enjoyed reading it, and he does not speak Spanish. But the text often repeats itself in English and Spanish, and the illustrations are crazy fun! There's so much to look at while you're reading it! But it is also full of many Mexican dishes, which makes me want to dive into more recipe hunting. :) This book is full of vibrant Mexican culture and is simply a visual feast, making it a great book for kids. Apparently, this is part of the ¡Vamos! series, so I'm hoping to delve more into it! If the rest of the books are as interesting as this one, it'll definitely be worth my time. :D


4. ¿Debo compartir mi helado?

By Mo Willems, translated by F. Isabel Campoy

One of many Elephant and Piggie books, this one is perhaps my daughter's favorite of the Spanish editions. (She is obsessed with Piggie and Elephant. I know this book very well. One of my favorite parts is when Geraldo describes his ice cream, and the words fit into a kind of ice cream shape.) The great thing about this book series is that it is simple enough for little kids to understand but it is also geared towards slightly older kids practicing their reading skills. And since it is so repetitive, it's a good tool for learning more Spanish!



5. Nos fuimos todos de safari: Una aventura de números por Tanzania

By Laurie Krebs, illustrated by Julia Cairns

This book is a fun way to introduce your kids to animals and landmarks in Tanzania, as well as the Swahili language! And all through Spanish. :) I really enjoy reading this to my child. The illustrations are interesting, but the cultural insights and glimpses of a very different place are a great way to introduce your kid to the world.





And that wraps up our 11 book recommendations! Do you have any favorites? If so, please share them with me at contact@languageanswers.com.


See you in two weeks! Thank you for your patience with this episode, as it is Thursday and not Wednesday once again. In our next episode, we will finally begin our Cultural Tip on Honduras. :)


Remember, learning a language is a lifelong journey.

¡Aprovéchalo, Disfrútalo y Compártelo!

 

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