The school year is almost finished and you might be looking for activities to do with your small children. If you are raising a bilingual kid, here are some English – Spanish children books you can use during the summer. These suggestions are focused on simple bilingual poetry that reinforces the Hispanic heritage in elementary grades.
Bilingual Poetry: English and Spanish Children Books
1. From the Bellybutton of the Moon and Other Summer Poems | Del ombligo de la luna y otros poemas de verano by Francisco X. Alarcón
Award-wining poet and educator Francisco X. Alarcón shares his Mexican heritage from childhood in this beautiful book illustrated by Maya Christina González. The author used the origin of the name Mexico for the title of this book: metztli means “moon,” xictli means “bellybutton” and o means “from.” According to the author, “this collection of poetry is a celebration of this life when there were no radios or t.v. sets and the day’s best entertainment came from the fantastic stories and incredible anecdotes told at night with the family seated around the kitchen table.” This book is one of the four English and Spanish children books of The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series.
2. Angels Ride Bikes and Other Fall Poems | Los ángeles andan en bicicleta y otros poemas de otoño by Francisco X. Alarcón
Francisco X. Alarcón continues to share his life with this second bilingual poetry book and now he take us to Los Angeles, where his family has lived since 1919. Like the previous one, this book is also illustrated by Maya Christina González to make the perfect set. Words from the author indicate that “these poems celebrate Los Angeles as a Promised Land where people from all over the world can make their dreams come true.”
Both previous books are part of The Magical Cycle of the Seasons Series that features one poetry book for Spring, Summer, Fall and Winter. If you want to complete the series you should check out Iguanas in the Snow And Other Winter Poems | Iguanas en la nieve y otros poemas de invierno and Laughing Tomatoes And Other Spring Poems | Jitomates risuenos y otros poemas de primavera.
3. Gathering the Sun: An Alphabet In Spanish And English by Alma Flor Ada
A short poem for each letter of the alphabet, including the disappeared Ch and Ll because, according to the author, they are “not yet ready to be taken from the tree.” The poems focus on the land, fruit and vegetables and those who work in the field. Simón Silva was the artist who created the sun-kissed illustrations of this book. Definitely a great book to build Spanish vocabulary.
4. Gracias | Thanks by Pat Mora
A Mexican-American “boy celebrates family, friendship, and fun by telling about some of the everyday things for which he is thankful.” He starts thanking the sun and continues showing his gratitude to other things in life, from his family to his pajamas. Illustrated by John Parra, this award-winning book has received a lot of great reviews from teachers and librarians. An excellent tool to teach values to your kids.
Check out these other articles on Spanish Books.