The MamaLingua Bilingual Mom Blog

MamaLingua helps parents raise bilingual kids. With tips and inspiration, recommendations, and bilingual and dual language resources, you’ll find the tools and community you need to learn and teach Spanish to your children.

  • mamalingua

The Power of Little Libraries

By Megan Coupe, First-Grade Dual Language Teacher and Certified Librarian


Thoughtfully curated libraries fuel imagination, curiosity, empathy and an appreciation for the transformative power of books. Increasing the depth and quality of literacy experiences creates a strong language foundation for all kids, especially those growing vocabularies in more than one language. 


Follow these recommendations to build your Spanish library, develop reading routines and support a lifelong love of books!


Choosing Quality Books

The quality of the books we offer children is as important as the quantity. When we present children with books, we’re offering them cultural artifacts that implicitly communicate values. We give our children intellectual sustenance when we share books that contain beautiful illustrations, compelling plot arcs, interesting facts, humanizing portrayals of difference or useful messages for living. 


Librarians and professionals in the field of children’s literature often talk about how books can be mirrors, windows and doors. When selecting books to nurture young minds, it’s important to make selections that reflect children’s own identities, books that allow them to see into the lives of others, and those that will transport them deep into unfamiliar topics, places and concepts.


For parents who seek to foster literacy in both English and Spanish, regularly exposing children to books in both languages can positively impact their language acquisition process and their regard for the respective languages.  



Accessing Titles

If you live in a major U.S. city, you’ll probably find that your local public library system is a tremendous resource for accessing quality children’s literature; most have a reasonable selection of Spanish titles for kids. For those who live in areas where libraries have fewer resources, joining local book-sharing networks can help. YouTube is also an option for accessing recorded Spanish books for free, thanks to the generosity of teachers and librarians around the world who post their recorded readings.  


For purchasing Spanish titles to build your school library, Lectorum and Scholastic sell directly to teachers and librarians, while Amazon is the go-to online retailer for building your library at home. (Check out our recommendations below!)


Creating Reading Rituals and Routines

In addition to putting quality books into children’s hands, parents can send powerful messages about how to use and think about books. When we show enthusiasm for story time or give children books for special occasions, we’re telling them these are objects to be treasured.


Reading aloud to children – and pausing to share our thoughts and listening to those of the child – sends the message that anytime we read, we enter into conversation with the author and their text. 


Reading picture books aloud presents kids with page after page of opportunities for them to speak and question. By asking children, ¿Qué notas en esta página?, we can guide them to pay attention and think about details. We can grow their vocabularies by encouraging them to name things they see in illustrations, or to wonder aloud about what unfamiliar words might mean. We can guide children to take on the perspective of a character and encourage them to speculate about possible outcomes.


The endless material available online can also bolster children’s experiences with books, and parents can use technology in all kinds of inventive ways. They can show their children an interview with the subject of a biography they’re reading; the location of a country on a map; how long it would take to travel there; what landscapes look like in that location; what the local language sounds like – or anything else relevant to the book being read. 


As parents and educators, we can show our kids that it’s not just books themselves that enrich our lives, but our habits of mind around the way we interact with books. Our response to the information, intrigue and beauty that we find in books is what allows these objects to transform the way we think and live. Whether they’re 6, 12 or 16, reading aloud with young minds is always a good idea.  

 

 

Recommended Titles for Young Readers: Picture Books in Spanish

Below is a curated list of recommendations to help parents and dual language teachers build their Spanish library.


Books that help us travel and see into the lives of others:

El violín de Ada: La historia de la Orquesta de Reciclados del Paraguay por Susan Hood

La bibliotecaria de Basora por Jeanette Winter

Wangari y los árboles de la paz por Jeanette Winter

Biblioburro: una historia real de Colombia por Jeanette Winter

Esperando el biblioburro por Mónica Brown

Mi bibliotecaria es un camello: Cómo llegan los libros a los niños en todo el mundo por Margriet Ruurs

El lápiz mágico de Malala por Malala Yousafzai

La calle es libre por Monika Kurusa-Doppert

El camino a la escuela por Rosemary McCarney

 

Books that celebrate family and family histories:

Alma y cómo obtuvo su nombre por Juana Martinez Neal

Nochecita por Yuyi Morales

Lola por Junot Díaz

El regalo de mi abuela por Eric Veláquez

Los discos de mi abuela por Eric Veláquez

Mango, abuela y yo por Meg Medina

En mi familia por Carmen Lomás Garza

Un sillón para mi mamá por Vera Williams

Con Tango son tres por Justin Richardson

El pollo de los domingos por Patricia Polacco t

Dear primo: una carta para ti por Duncan Tonatiuh

 

Books with strong, discussion-worthy messages: 

Esos zapatos por Maribeth Boelts

La frontera: viaje con papá por Deborah Mills (a story about immigration) 

¡Di algo! por Peter Reynolds (not available on Amazon)

Ada magnífica, científica por Andrea Beaty

Marisol McDonald no combina por Mónica Brown

Mezclados: una historia de colores por Arree Chung

Cómo puede ser la democracia por Equipo Plantel

Así es la dictadura por Mikel Casal

La princesa vestida con una bolsa de papel por Robert Munsch

Todos se burlan de Diego Francisco Sánchez  (not affordable on Amazon)

¡Vivan las uñas de colores! por Alicia Acosta

El niño que no quería ser azul, la niña que no quería ser rosa por Patricia Fitti

Clic, clac, muu: vacas escritores por Doreen Cronin

Tengo derecho de ser niño por Alan Serres

Todos nacemos libres por Amnesty International (not affordable on Amazon)

Oso quiere contar una historia por Phillip Stead

La Luz de Lucia por Margarita Del Mazo    

Oso quiere volar por Susanna Isern

Quizas algo hermoso por Isabel Camboy

El dia que descubres quien eres por Jaqueline Woodson

Soñadores por Yuyi Morales (a story about immigration) 

Perdido y encontrado por Jeffers Oliver   

 

Aesthetically interesting books that feed the imagination: 

Una niña hecha de libros por Oliver Jeffers

El increíble niño comelibros por Oliver Jeffers

Las huellas secretas por Julia Álvarez

El lobo y Caperucita: la historia jamás contada por Ayesha Rubio

Hilo sin Fin por Mac Barnett

La oscuridad por Lemony Snicket

El primer día de un colegio por Adam Rex

Imposible por Isol

Secreto de familia por Isol

Si yo fuese un libro por José Jorge Letria

Elenita por Campbell Geeslin

 

Books that spark curiosity: 

¿Qué harías con una cola como ésta? por Steve Jenkins

  

Books that address emotions:

Mares de invierno por Francesca Massai

El monstruo de colores por Anna Llanes

Malena ballena por Davide Cali

Lejos lejos de casa por Rachel Woodworth and Sang Miao


MamaLingua also recommends:

Simon Goes to School por Aileen Passariello-McAleer and Christia Madacsi Hoffman

Hoy no juegas por Pilar Serrano

Aqui estamos por Oliver Jeffers

La idea mas maravillosa por Ashley Spires 

El cuento de Ferdinand por Munro Leaf 

El punto por Esther Rubio 

Como tú por Genevieve Cote 

Sin ti por Genevieve Cote

Buenas noches por Genevieve Cote

¿Que nos hace felices? por Marie-Agnès Gaudrat

La niña invisible por David Puno

Animales al 100% por Vicens Vives

Mi nueva mama y yo por Galindo Renata

Ardilla miedosa por Melanie Watt

Ardilla miedosa encuentra un amigo por Melanie Watt

Las jirafas no pueden bailar por Giles Andreae

La casa durmiente por Audrey Wood

Viajamos tan lejos por Laura Knowles


MamaLingua | PO Box 91852 |  Austin, TX 78709

© 2020 by MamaLingua Inc. All rights reserved.

  • YouTube Social  Icon
  • Facebook Social Icon
  • Instagram