Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Spanish Bug Books for Toddlers and Kids

Inside: Spanish bug books for kids. 

 

My kids are really into bugs. Sometimes I’ll find them turning over rocks in the yard to see what treasures they’ll find underneath. I’ve had to study up to learn a lot of the names myself! Today I’ve collected my favorite books about bugs in Spanish, to read as a family. (Looking for more books? See my posts on 50 Bilingual Books in Spanish and English, and 50 Authentic Picture Books in Spanish.)

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Spanish Bug Books for Kids

 

Insectos! (Dk Readers En Espanol. Level 2)

Here’s a general guide and easy reader for bugs in Spanish. I like the DK readers for non-fiction, and this one will be helpful if you have a curious child or a learning the names together. 

 

 

 

..Sabes algo sobre insectos?/ Do You Know about Insects? 

This is another general guide, with good realistic photos and facts about insects in Spanish. 

 

 

 

La araña muy ocupada (Spanish Edition)

My kids really enjoy this book, which is a delightful introduction to how spiders spin webs. The spider and her web are raised, and little hands love to feel the growing web. 

 

 

 

La abeja de más (Spanish Edition)

A funny fictional story about a colony of bees who discover an unknown bee has entered their hive. This is a fun look into the inner workings of a hive, the queen bee, and worker bees. 

 

 

La vida de la abeja (¡Mira cómo crece!) (Spanish Edition)

Here’s a close-up look in the entire lifespan of a bee, from egg to adult. 

 

 

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book (Spanish Edition)

This is one of our very favorites, and a gentle introduction into the lifecycle of a caterpillar and butterfly. It’s hard to get better than Eric Carle! 

 

National Geographic Readers: De la Oruga a la Mariposa (Caterpillar toButterfly) 

Here’s a non-fiction look into the lifecycle of a butterfly, witch good photos and explanations. As a non-native Spanish speaker, it’s so helpful to have the technical terms for me to learn!

 

 

 

 

La Mariposa

Butterflies are just the backstory to this touching book about a boy who doesn’t speak English in his new school, but it’s a beautiful story with beautiful pictures. 

 

 

La Mariquita Malhumorada (Spanish Edition)

Another Eric Carle treasure that’s been translated into Spanish, this one follows a grouchy ladybug who meets lots of other insects and finally learns some manners. It’s also a good peek into a ladybug’s life.

 

 

 

 

La luz de Lucía (Spanish Edition)

This story is about a little firefly who learns to accept her own uniqueness and shine her light. 

 

 

 

 

Non-fiction Guides to Specific Insects in Spanish

 

If you are looking for specific guides or want to have a collection about different insects, you may want to check out these titles!

   

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you’re looking for more activities to do with bugs in Spanish, I have a bilingual game pack, with picture cards to play Memory, Go Fish, Bingo, and a mini-book. Check it out for some extra bug fun!

 

3 Must-Own Books for Every Spanglish Home

3 Must-Own Books for Every Spanglish Home

Inside: Recommendations on books for bilingual families and raising bilingual kids.

I often start posts on bilingual parenting by describing the beginning: a new mom. Staring into my new baby’s eyes, hoping I wasn’t crazy to think I could raise him in Spanish. All those stacks of books for bilingual families I got at the library, the hours researching Spanish nursery rhymes. Raising my kids in Spanish felt like a daunting plan.

I didn’t expect to be at another crossroads so soon, but here we are! We’re about to switch continents, with two little ones in tow. We’re swapping our minority and majority languages, and I’m as full of question marks as when I held my first baby.

 

books_for_bilingual_families

Thankfully, I’m now surrounded by an online community of of writers and mentors. Life changes and family dynamics change, but I know where to go when I have questions. When I meet families, I know just where to point them. These three books for bilingual families are where I start; book you really need as part of your bilingual toolkit.

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Books for Bilingual Families

 

1. Bringing up a Bilingual Child

I’m a long-time fan of Rita’s writing. She’s level-headed and smart when it comes to sensitive issues, like handling criticism from other families, or balancing a driven approach with a happy family atmosphere. This handbook for raising bilingual kids is a perfect place to start, as you draw up a vision for your family. Here you can find answers to the most-asked questions and get guidance on setting up a language road-map for you family. You’ll want to bookmark her blog, Multilingual Parenting, as well. Rita offers the sage and calm voice that I so needed as a new mom, pouring over my library stash and wanting very much to know how to make this all work.

2. Maximize Your Child’s Bilingual Ability: Ideas and inspiration for even greater success and joy raising bilingual kids

This book will probably make you smile; it will certainly make you think deeply and inspire your commitment to raising bilingual kids. Adam writes in the preface, “My aim, really, is to put you right in my shoes for a virtual experience of my own journey to date.” He writes as a parent in the trenches, and an educator who sees the big picture.

If Rita’s book is for the parents at the drawing board, this is the one to read with your morning coffee. Each easy-to-read chapter delivers a boost of “This is worth it!,” “You can do this,” and “Here’s how,”– a dense serving of wisdom and wit you’ll need all day to unpack.

The first half covers the perspective of parents. Half of good parenting is just working on ourselves, of course, and here Adam helps us explore our own beliefs, and habits. Five years into our language journey, I needed this. I needed to renew my sense of urgency, and I needed to re-examine our family practices. Without laying on the guilt, Adam reminds the reader that children’s exposure to language largely depends on the parents, and that everything we do matters.

The second half focuses on principles. Adam offers tons of concrete suggestions for making the most of the time you get with your kids. Here you’ll find practical ideas you can implement right away– from using books and games, to communicating with extended family, to storytelling and keeping language-learning lively. This is the kind of resource you can come back to year after year, as your circumstances change and you need to tweak your family plan.

What I love about Adam’s approach is that joy is the real target. He is a master of making everyday language fun; always reminding us that how our kids feel about home and language is as important as the language acquired through our years of work. Don’t miss his blog at Bilingual Monkeys either– there are tons of resources there!

3. Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie: Raising Bicultural Children

Can you believe there’s a book just for Spanglish families? There is! And it’s wonderful.

There are lots of books for bilingual families out there. Biculturalism is slightly different: What if my kids reject our heritage? How can I help them at school if I’m not fluent in the local language? How do I balance my childhood norms with the rules and expectations in the new culture?

Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie addresses these intricacies of raising bicultural kids, from a parent and writer who knows them well. Although it will be helpful for any family with hearts in two places, it’s an especially good resource for families coming to the U.S. with Latin American roots. Maritere eloquently captures the tension of loss (leaving home), and hope (making a new life, in a new place).

Available in both English and Spanish, Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie follows the stages of immigration and biculturalism– from the honeymoon period, to homesickness, to striking a balance between two cultures. Each chapter explores different aspects of family life: learning a new language, generational differences, advantages of biculturalism, and even going back home after many years away. Whether you are an immigrant yourself or just trying to pass on family traditions to your children, you’ll be able to find information and good advice.

This is the book for your nightstand, the one you pick up when you need guidance, or reassurance. I’ve been reading it while preparing to move our family back to Peru, as I leave my home culture. It’s helped me anticipate challenges, while also seeing all the good than will come, too.

I love that Arroz con Pollo and Apple Pie reads as a partial-memoir. Maritere did extensive research to include stories from every imaginable background: from undocumented families, to well-known public figures. Some stories encouraged me and made me want to cheer, and some were a gentle reminder that circumstances will never be perfect. That ache for the other home might never go away, but it helps to know others feel it as well. And it helps to know that good, good things can come from this bicultural life, too. Read more of her writing at her website.

What are your favorite books for bilingual families? Did I miss a Spanglish family staple? Let me know in the comments below!

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50 Picture Books Every Spanglish House Needs

50 Picture Books Every Spanglish House Needs

Inside: Bilingual books in Spanish and English, for kids.

No Spanglish home is complete without a stash of bilingual books for kids in Spanish and English. Thankfully, there are more and more available now!

I often walk in the door exhausted after a day of teaching, to kids who have heard English all day. Even though my brain just wants a break, they need these hours to be in my non-native language. So we grab one of my childhood favorites, cuddle up under a blanket, and get the best of both worlds. And really, they’re not the only ones who need rich input. I do too!

I have a separate post of authentic children’s books in Spanish, with a focus on Latino culture. This bilingual lists includes book originally written in English or translated from a third language. For more book lists and suggestions, be sure to see my Spanish children’s books page. 

This post contains affiliate links. Thank you for your support!

 

Our Top 50 Picks of Bilingual Books in Spanish and English

Arandanos Para Sal
Blueberries for Sal is an endearing story about a little girl and a baby bear getting mixed up, while out picking blueberries with their mothers. Robert McLosky’s memorable illustrations and sweet stories are not to be missed, in Spanish or English.


Se Venden Gorras
Caps for Sale My kids love this story of naughty monkeys and an unfortunate cap-peddler, based on a folktale.

 

El Cuento de Ferdinando
The Story of Ferdinand Set in Spain, Ferdinand tells the story of a quiet bull who accidentally gets chosen to go to Madrid for a bullfight. We love this one.

Harry, el perrito sucio
Harry the Dirty Dog is about a little dog who escapes and gets so dirty his family doesn’t recognize him. Sweet illustrations and funny story that kids love.

 

El Conejito Andarin
The Runaway Bunny follows a baby bunny who tells his mother his imaginative plans of running away– and the mother’s plans of how she would get him back. Very sweet.

 

Corduroy
Corduroy is a bear who want a home more than anything. He lives in a department store and thinks finding his missing button will help him find a family.

 

Richard Scarry’s Best Word Book Ever / El mejor libro de palabras de Richard Scarry Richard Scarry’s detailed illustrations and clever characters make his books a must for every home library. My kids will spend hours pouring over his books!

 

Diez deditos de las manos y Diez deditos de los pies / Ten Little Fingers and Ten Little Toes bilingual board book is a sweet rhyme about babies from all over the world. The poetry is really beautiful and I l always ove Helen Oxenbury’s illustrations.

 

La oruga muy hambrienta/The Very Hungry Caterpillar: bilingual board book This classic is my kids’ current favorite right now, and how they know the days of the week in both Spanish and English. Follow the life cycle of a butterfly in story format, starting with a little egg.

 

Abran paso a los patitos
Make Way for Ducklings was my family’s favorite book growing up! The illustrations are wonderful, as is the story of a family of ducks trying to find and make a home in busy Boston.

 

Un Dia de Nieve
The Snowy Day tells the story of Peter, who wakes up to a day of adventures in the snow.

 

Freight Train/Tren de carga is just the best if you have little train-lovers like I do. They also love the colors of the train in the illustrations.

 

Oso pardo, oso pardo, ¿qué ves ahí?
Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See?

Oso panda, oso panda, ¿qué ves ahí?
Panda Bear, Panda Bear, What Do You See? Board Book

Oso polar, oso polar, ¿qué es ese ruido?
Polar Bear, Polar Bear, What Do You Hear? These little books introduce different animals in a series of rhymes, and are not to be missed!

 

¿Eres Mi Mama?
Are You My Mother? A baby bird searches for his mother, and finally finds her.

 

Mike Mulligan y su máquina maravillosa
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel live in a world where diesel is taking over, and no one wants a steam shovel to work for them. But they are up for the challenge when a small town needs a cellar for their new town hall.

 

Ve, Perro. Ve!: Go, Dog. Go! Another whimsical rhyming classic from P.D. Eastman, Go Do Go! is about dogs moving around in different vehicles and meeting each other. It’s also a clever introduction to prepositions!

 

El Gran Granero Rojo
Big Red Barn is a lyrical rhyme that says good-night to the animals on a farm. Sweet and soothing language and pictures.

 

Un Pez, Dos Peces, Pez Rojo, Pez Azul
One Fish Two Fish Red Fish Blue Fish Dr. Suess is beloved the world over, and this one is one of our Seuss favorites.

La silla de Pedro, Peter’s Chair Peter’s family has a new baby, and Peter isn’t sure what to think about his little sister.

 

Buenas noches, Gorila
Good Night, Gorilla A gorilla frees the animals in a zoo so they can sleep in the zookeeper’s house.

 

Peluche
Gosset I so wish more of Shirley Hughes’ books were translated into Spanish! Her everyday stories of English children might be my favorites.

 

Sapo y Sepo son amigos / Frog and Toad Are Friends The clever stories here will have your kids re-reading these stories even when they’re older. The Frog and Toad books are good early readers as well.

 

La Senorita Runfio
Miss Rumphius Barbara Cooney’s books are just lovely, and I love this one about travel and making the world a more beautiful place.

La Semilla de Zanahoria
The Carrot Seed A little boy plants a seed and patiently wait for it to come up, even when everyone around think it won’t.

 

Un beso para osito
A Kiss for Little Bear was created as a beginning reader, but my kids like listening to the imaginative world of little bear.

 

De la cabeza a los pies
From Head to Toe Board Book is another Eric Carle classic that teaches body parts and movement.

 

La Pequena Locomotora Que Si Pudo
The Little Engine That Could is a beloved little book about a train that needs help, and finds it from a small friend.

 

Cinco monitos brincando en la cama/Five Little Monkeys Jumping on the Bed
Cinco monitos subidos a un árbol / Five Little Monkeys Sitting in a Tree
The five little monkeys are always popular with little ones, as are the rhymes that tell about their mischievous escapades!

 

La araña muy ocupada
The Very Busy Spider gets asked to play by all the other animals, but doesn’t have enough time while she spins her web. I love how this shows the actual progression of web-spinning.

 

Chica Chica Bum Bum ABC
Chicka Chicka Boom Boom introduces the alphabet as a catchy rhyme that kids love.

 

Buenas Noches, Luna
Goodnight Moon I just love Margaret Wise Brown, and my kids definitely have this one memorized. I don’t really care for the Spanish translation, which loses some of the beauty of the original poetry.

 

El camioncito Azul
Little Blue Truck A little truck gets stuck in the mud, and all the animals pitch in to help.

 

Es hora de dormir/Time for Bed is a warm, lovely book, perfect for bedtime.

 

Tikki Tikki Tembo
Tikki Tikki Tembo is an old Chinese folktale about a boy who needs help and has trouble getting it because of his long name. I love the illustrations!

 

Bunny Cakes (Max and Ruby)
BUNNY CAKES (Max and Ruby) Max and Ruby are bunny siblings who decide a to make a cake for grandma’s birthday.

 

Adivina cuanto te quiero (Spanish Edition)
Guess How Much I Love You A papa hare and his son talk just how much they love each other. My kids love to tell me how much they love me too, from this book.

 

Siempre te querre (Spanish Edition)
Love You Forever is sweet story of a mother’s love for her son, all throughout his life.

 

El Pez Arco Iris (Spanish Edition)
The Rainbow Fish is a beautiful fish who learns to be kind.

 

¿Tu mamá es una llama?
Is Your Mama a Llama? A baby llama searches for his mama, and all the other baby animals help him.

 

Donde viven los monstruos
Where the Wild Things Are is an imaginative journey of wild creatures inside Max’s head, who is sent to bed without supper.

 

La historia de Ping
The Story about Ping follows a flock of ducks on the Yhangtze River in China. Ping as a mischievous little duck brought to life with beautiful illustrations.

 

Harold y el Lapiz Color Morado
Harold and the Purple Crayon is a story about a boy’s imagination as he colors his world purple.

 

Stelaluna (Spanish Language)
Stellaluna is a baby bat separated from her family and taken in by a family of birds. There’s a happy ending and good lesson on differences.

 

La casa adormecida
The Napping House

 

Jorge el curioso y el conejito/Curious George and the Bunny (Spanish and English Edition)

I like the original Curious George stories best, and these two are our favorites.

 

El árbol generoso
The Giving Tree
loves a little boy, and does her best all her life to take care of him. It’s a bit of a sad ending and food for thought on what unconditional love means.

 

Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Grades PK – 3: Ricitos de Oro y los tres osos Keepsake stories has an entire series of bilingual folk tales and fairy tales that includes all the classics.

 

 

What are your favorite bilingual books in Spanish and English? Leave a comment below with anything you think we missed!

Picture Books for Kids in Spanish and English

Nature in the Early Years

Nature in the Early Years

us together

“It would be well if we all persons in authority, parents and all who act for parents, could make up our minds that there is no sort of knowledge to be got in these early years so valuable to children as that which they get for themselves of the world they live in. Let them once get touch with Nature, and a habit is formed which will be a source of delight through life. We were all meant to be naturalists, each in his degree, and it is inexcusable to live in a world so full of the marvels of plant and animal life and to care for none of these things.”

— Charlotte Mason, Home Education (Charlotte Mason’s Homeschooling Series) (more…)

Why Bilingual Families Need Books

Why Bilingual Families Need Books

When I was pregnant with our first, I would confidently pat my expanding belly and share with friends our plans to speak Spanish at home. We were right to make this plan: our little ones simply wouldn’t get enough Spanish time only speaking with Papá, a native Spanish-speaker. If we truly wanted them to be fluent they’d have to hear it from me too. Because I really do enjoy speaking Spanish, what I’d forgotten to consider was my love for my native tongue, English. Along came baby, and I wanted to coo over him in English, the way I knew how, and sing the lullabies my mother sang to me. Speaking Spanish with my kids, while an amazing gift to give, was going to take more out of me than I’d considered.

 

books and a non-native mama

 

Being a monolingual or non-native speaking parent is quite unique. Sometimes I envy my Latina friends here, who know their kids will naturally pick up English and can relax into their native Spanish at home. But if bilingual children are in fact the goal, parents like me simply have to be intentional: we have to get creative, and we have to put in extra legwork. If you are a monolingual and don’t speak the target language you will be especially reliant on songs, technology, or other people. For me, as a non-native speaker, children’s books have been my saving grace, and here’s why:

 

1. Books help ME, as a non-native speaking parent.

As we read books in Spanish, my own vocabulary expands. Reading together takes the pressure off of me: we are still speaking in Spanish, but I am not having to think or second-guess myself. And of course, my language skills are being strengthened along the way. One of our current favorites is El mejor libro de palabras de Richard Scarry, which has even the tiniest of illustrations labeled in Spanish. When my son points to “diesel switcher” (“la locomotora diesel de maniobras,” obviously!) on the trains page, we both learn a new term. Although technology can be helpful, there is no substitute for reading to your children. It should be a focus if possible because the language is coming from you—it’s your voice, your intonation, your lap—even while you, thankfully, are getting a break mentally.

 

2. Books provide natural boundaries for fitting English into the day, too.

 

We are living with family right now, an interesting language situation. Everyone upstairs speaks English; here in the basement it’s our little family speaking Spanish. From what I’ve researched, it really IS important to have perimeters for language: when our family speaks which language, with whom, etc. At the moment I want to keep it simple and not constantly mix when it’s just us, though later we might flex more. Since there are certain stories and poems in English I want to share with my children, books seem to be the perfect, natural, boundary for that. When we open our board book of Robert Louis Stevenson poems, it’s English time, and when we close it we’re back to speaking Spanish again. Books give me space to share English literature near and dear to me, without creating the confusion switching mid-conversation might.

 

3. Books can be translated.

 

Thank goodness for this one, right? I always think good books originally written in Spanish are a great find, but most of the books I come across are translations. Some translations are badly done, but there are more and more classics coming out in a variety of languages. Sometimes I will translate simple texts like “the cow says moo” as we go (which is great for mommy or daddy’s brain!), but it’s much nicer to find books already in Spanish. Many of my childhood favorites I want to pass on are available in other languages. I insist on the original Goodnight, Moon because I prefer the more lyrical English version, but how fun is it to read El Cuento de Ferdinando in Spanish, as the story takes place in Spain? If you are very new to the language you’re teaching your child, familiar stories are great because you will get more out them.

 

4. Books create an emotional bond to the language.

Technology and flashcards may have their place, but nothing compares to the emotional and cognitive processes that occur in both of us when I cuddle up with my son and we get lost in a good story together. Reading a story we love, or a poem that sounds just right, subconsciously deepens our love for the language itself. My son loves Cinco Monitos Subidos a un Árbol  right now and squeals with delight every time we get to the “Krak!” part. As we read it (over and over again) he is forming an attachment to that story in Spanish. Children need to feel affection for what they are learning, if they are to learn it well.

Even though there is something of a loss for me in not speaking my native English at home much, it is not certainly not all sacrifice!– we are developing our family culture and adding to what we know and love. One day my children will sing our family lullabies and say silly rhymes with their children, too, with one lovely difference: for them it will be the most natural thing in the world to do so in two languages, not one.

 

This post was written as part of the Raising Multilingual Children Blogging Carnival, hosted by Maria Babin of Trilingual Mama.

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