13 Charming Board Books for Spanish and Bilingual Shelves

From miniature biographies of icons Selena and El Chavo to more adventures about Juana Martinez-Neal's beloved Alma, these board books will put smiles on little ones' faces.

El Chavo: Emotions/Emociones. illus. by Citlali Reyes. 22p. Lil’ Libros. Sept. 2024. Board $12.99. ISBN 9781962227063. BL
–Lil’ Libros offers another work that celebrates the work of Chespirito and his TV program, El chavo del ocho. Using two words per spread featuring a different character from the show, this board book introduces readers to eight different emotions. Finding a range from happy/contenta to excited/emocionado, in large text along with the colorful tribute to El chavo del ocho cast of characters, children will recognize that we all have emotions and will be inspired to mimic and share them. Though the names of the characters do not appear with their illustrations, adults familiar with the sitcom will be able to share that information with little ones. VERDICT A nostalgia-filled offering that will delight kids and their grown-ups.–Sujei Lugo

GARCIA, Emma. My First 100 Dino Words in English and Spanish. ISBN 9781948066983.
––––. My First 100 Ocean Words in English and Spanish. ISBN 9781948066976.
ea vol: illus. by Hazel Quintanilla. 22p. (My First 100 Words). Lil’ Libros. Jun. 2024. Board $13.99. BL
–A nonfiction board book series introducing Spanish and English vocabulary through popular early childhood topics. My First 100 Ocean Words begins with a look at the world’s oceans, giving an inclusive global perspective that will appeal to readers from various backgrounds. Smiling ocean creatures are categorized by different environments, such as “Icy Waters/Aguas glaciares,” or characteristics like “Peculiar fish/peces peculiares” and “Spineless creatures/criaturas sin espina.” My First 100 Dino Words offers delightful and equally nuanced categories, such as “Armor dinos/dinosaurios con armadura” and “Small dinos and bugs/dinosaurios pequeños e insectos,” more complex vocabulary like “herd/manada,” and various dinosaur bone names (fibula/peroné, chevrons/cheurones, ulna/cubito). Dinosaur fans will also relish in the depiction of less familiars dinos, such as Dreadnoughtus or Ceratosaurus, whose names are the same in English and Spanish. In each entry, only a few humans are shown engaging in related settings or occupations, but diversity of skin color is presented. Jobs like “oceanographer/oceanógrafa” and “paleontologist/paleontologa” avoid gender stereotypes and feature females in those roles. VERDICT The bright, bold illustrations will appeal to a wide range of readers. Recommended for all bilingual board book collections.–Jessica Agudelo

GÓMEZ, Blanca. Día de disfraces. illus. by Blanca Gómez. 32p. Abrams/Appleseed. Jul. 2024. Board $8.99. ISBN 9781419772184. SP
PreS-Gr 1
–Costume Day is coming up at school, and the unnamed protagonist in Gómez’s delightful Spanish-language board book cannot wait. She and her mother have worked together on a homemade white bunny costume, and she’s excited for everyone at school to see it. To her great disappointment, she wakes up sick the next morning and stays home from school, missing Costume Day. When she is well enough to return to school the following day, her mother suggests she wear her bunny costume, instantly brightening her mood. On the way, she is excited to show off her bunny suit, but when she arrives at school her classmates are nonplussed by her appearance. Feeling self-conscious, she hides behind a tree, shedding a tear. Just then, Hugo arrives in a bright orange carrot costume, and feeling less alone, the pair run off to play and are soon joined by the rest of their schoolmates. Gómez’s digital collage illustrations capture and enhance the young protagonist’s emotional journey and will appeal to fans of Christian Robinson. VERDICT Social-emotional themes and charming illustrations make this an excellent addition to Spanish-language picture book collections.–Jessica Agudelo

HEUER, Lourdes. The Flower Shop/La florería. ISBN 9781536226607.
––––. The Fruit Shop/La frutería. ISBN 9781536226591.
ea vol: illus. by Zara González Hoang. 20p. (Teeny Tiendas). Candlewick. Sept. 2024. Board. $8.99. BL
–This new bilingual board book series welcomes little ones to the stores, workers, and products in their neighborhoods. In The Flower Shop/La florería (also known as la floristería), Mrs. Rosario’s flower shop is the center of the short narrative where children and their caregivers buy flowers for the elders at the Senior Center. Different types of flowers are introduced in English and Spanish, and lovely illustrations accompany them to showcase the colorful wonders of the shop. In The Fruit Shop/La frutería, readers meet Mr. Manzano and his fruit shop, a place to find star fruit, peaches, guayabas, and grapefruit. Diverse family groups stop by the shop to get fruit for a picnic at the park. Both books use simple bilingual texts and playful illustrations that will engage young children to learn and identify flowers and fruits at their next visits to the shops. VERDICT Charming entries in a new series that will help kids get to know their communities.–Sujei Lugo

MARTINEZ-NEAL, Juana. Alma at Home/Alma en casa. ISBN 9781536232332.
––––. Alma, Where Is Pajarito?/Alma, ¿Dónde está Pajarito? ISBN 9781536232349.
ea vol: illus. by Juana Martinez-Neal. 24p. (Alma’s Words). Candlewick. Oct. 2024. Board $8.99. BL
–Alma, the beloved protagonist of Alma and How She Got Her Name, welcomes readers to her home/casa. Short bilingual sentences showcase Alma’s morning routine, from waking up to saying farewell to her brother as he heads out for school. Other daily practices, accompanied by sweet illustrations of her home, pajarito, and family, are incorporated, bringing warmth to this simple story. In Alma, Where Is Pajarito? ¿Dónde está pajarito?, Martínez-Neal introduces readers to prepositions while Alma is in search of her bird friend. The playful text, layout, and close-up illustrations of Alma’s quests in finding Pajarito around the house, will inspire little ones to play hide-and-seek and maybe want their own pet. VERDICT Young Alma fans will delight in these new offerings set in her world.–Sujei Lugo

PEREYRA, Mariana. ¡Al agua Tila! illus. by Mariana Pereyra. 32p. Editorial Destellos. May 2024. Board $15. ISBN 9781958479186. SP 
PreS-Gr 1–After Renata gets ready for the day, she can’t help but take a whiff of her smelly cat, Tila. She cries out to her mom that her beloved pet needs a bath. When her mom informs her that cats don’t get baths, her imagination runs wild as to why. Would Tila shrink in the water? Would she lose her color or multiply? Would Tila become a cat of the sea or wash away her stripes? Renata comes upon Tila, purring and licking away at her fur. Now she finally understands what her mom meant. Tila is not given a bath, she gives herself a bath! This is a silly book that will be a great read-aloud for children who don’t like taking those pesky baths! The narrator’s active imagination and curiosity are reflected in the illustrations. Renata and Tila are quite the characters, and young readers will smile at their antics. The dynamic design ranges from comics-style spreads to close-ups of Renata’s expressive face. The settings change as the little girl tries to solve the puzzle, including the ocean that the feline swims in and the cityscape a giant Tila towers over. The pastel palette may aid in getting little ones in the mindset for bathtime—if they can stop giggling. VERDICT A great story to encourage early readers to think outside the box.–Melanie Ortega

REYES, Nayeli. Singing/Cantando: La Cucaracha. illus. by Citlali Reyes. 12p. Lil’ Libros. Jul. 2024. Board $16.99. ISBN 9781948066464. BL
–This new interactive board book series opener with lift-the-flap and slide features introduces little ones to one of the most popular nursery rhymes in Latin America, “La cucaracha.” A little cockroach is sad because she doesn’t have dancing shoes, and a friendly cockroach helps her get new ones to join the ball. Although those familiar with the song might find the English translation confusing to sing, this bilingual edition brings a classic song with a twist to a new generation. Reyes’s bold and colorful illustrations bring to light the most adorable cockroaches readers will have ever seen. The book includes a QR code to the English and Spanish versions of the song, so readers can sing along and find their own dancing shoes. VERDICT A raucous twist on a beloved cultural touchstone that is an obvious choice for board book collections.–Sujei Lugo

RODRIGUEZ, Patty & Ariana Stein. The Life of/La vida de Selena (Special Edition). illus. by Citlali Reyes. 22p. (The Life of/La vida de). Lil’ Libros. May 2024. Board $16.99. ISBN 9781948066969. BL
Baby-Toddler–The youngest readers will be introduced to the larger-than-life Tejano singer Selena Quintanilla in this commemorative edition of the bilingual English-Spanish board book originally published in 2018. Ten spreads provide information about the talented singer, with the verso featuring text in both English and Spanish and the recto including an accompanying illustration that corresponds with the text. Sentences are short, with the last word enlarged for emphasis; it’s also the main focus of each illustration. Young readers will learn where Quintanilla was born, the name of her tour bus, and some of her interests, such as music, fashion, and pizza. This board book is a great introduction to Quintanilla as well as a good choice for practicing English and Spanish together. It has spot gloss glitter, a larger trim size, and features a pink and purple palette. VERDICT A great addition to bilingual board book collections for children, especially where Lil’ Libros titles are popular.–Selenia Paz

VAN DEN BERG, Esther. El mundo de Gusanito: Las estaciones. ISBN 9798890630131.
––––. El mundo de Gusanito. Números. ISBN 9798890630117.
ea vol: illus. by Esther van den Berg. 32p. (El mundo de Gusanito). Clavis. Jul. 2024. Tr $19.95. SP
–Bright pink Gusanito, or “little worm,” introduces numbers and seasons in these interactive Spanish-language board books. In Las estaciones, Gusanito ventures out to explore signs of the changing seasons. He encounters woodland animals, like ducks in a pond, tadpoles by the lake, and birds and squirrels in a tree. As the weather changes, Gusanito observes how these animals prepare themselves, storing food or making nests. The reappearing creatures allow for reader interaction, along with prompts (“Cuántos patitos ves?/How many ducks do you see?”) that present an opportunity for further engagement. In Números, Gusanito heads to the beach, digging underground and counting sets of items he comes across, until he gets to five, and happily finds himself in the sand. Full spreads alternate with interactive pages featuring Gusanito adopting the shape of each number, and a prompt to count individual or sets of items the little worm has encountered. The bright digital illustrations are charming, and the multitude of details in both installments will entice multiple reads. VERDICT Counting prompts and search-and-find features will make these popular additions to Spanish-language collections.–Jessica Agudelo

Be the first reader to comment.

Comment Policy:
  • Be respectful, and do not attack the author, people mentioned in the article, or other commenters. Take on the idea, not the messenger.
  • Don't use obscene, profane, or vulgar language.
  • Stay on point. Comments that stray from the topic at hand may be deleted.
  • Comments may be republished in print, online, or other forms of media.
  • If you see something objectionable, please let us know. Once a comment has been flagged, a staff member will investigate.



We are currently offering this content for free. Sign up now to activate your personal profile, where you can save articles for future viewing