There are special days to celebrate moms, dads, grandparents, teachers and in case you didn’t know it, our children. As a Latina mom, I love the custom of celebrating books and kids on April 30th during the American version of “El día de los niños /El día de los libros” (Children’s Day/Book Day). The celebration emphasizes the importance of literacy for children of all linguistic and cultural backgrounds and is inspired by Children’s Day, which in 1925 was proclaimed by the World Conference for the Well-being of Children in Geneva, Switzerland as a day to bring attention to the importance and well-being of the youngest members of our society. Countries all over the world have dedicated different days to honor children, and since in Mexico it is observed on April 30th, Hispanic families in the U.S. have adopted that day to promote reading in their families.
If you’re looking to practice Spanish with your children, here are five great bilingual children’s books to celebrate literacy not only during El Día de los Niños, but all year long:
1. Book Fiesta!: Celebrate Children’s Day/Book Day; Celebremos El Día de los Niños/El Día del los Libros
This brightly illustrated book by written by Pat Mora and illustrated by Rafael Lopez is a great starting point if you have never celebrated El Día de los Niños. It includes suggestions for celebrating Children’s Day/Book Day and shows kids reading and going to the library. For kids who are hesitant to read, this book makes a party of reading — and what kid wouldn’t love that?! Read more about the book or buy it here.
2. Me Llamo Gabito. La vida de Gabriel García Márquez/My Name is Gabito. The Life of Gabriel García Márquez
Gabriel García Márquez was one of my favorite writers throughout his lifetime. He only passed away a few days ago, but his stories will endure and stand the test of time. This bilingual book is a beautiful way to introduce your child to the Colombian Nobel Prize winner, because the author, Monica Brown, shares his story using the imagery from his novels. This book was illustrated by Rolon Colon. Read more about the book or buy it here.
3. The Cat in the Hat
Who doesn’t love some Dr. Seuss? No matter how many times I read The Cat in the Hat, it never gets old. This bilingual version, translated by Carlos Rivera, is great for families who want to introduce Spanish books to their kids, because children will recognize Dr. Seuss and have fun with the rhymes. Read more about the book or buy it here.
4. The Very Hungry Caterpillar/La oruga muy hambrienta
This children’s classic by Eric Carle is available in a bilingual format, with side-by-side English and Spanish text, so it is very easy to read along. Of course, Eric Carle’s beautiful illustrations need no translation to grab the entire family’s attention! Read more about the book or buy it here.
5. My Name Is Gabriela: The Life of Gabriela Mistral/Me Llamo Gabriela: La Vida de Gabriela Mistral
This is another great children’s book by Monica Brown and illustrated by John Parra, that brings to life the story of the first Nobel Prize-winning Latina woman in the world, Gabriela Mistral. I grew up in Chile, so I know many of Gabriela Mistral’s poems by heart and this is the greatest way to teach my children about her poetry. True to the person it honors, her story is told with the rhythm and melody of a poem, but most importantly, it reminds us all to follow our dreams. Read more about the book or buy it here.
I am always searching for bilingual children’s books, so please feel free to share with me your own favorites below!
Photo courtesy of ThinkStock.
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