31 Days, 31 Lists: Day Eleven – 2017 Bilingual Children’s Books
I wish I had kept better statistics over the course of my children’s librarian career. Maybe if I had I could give you a sense of whether or not the number of bilingual children’s books published in 2017 was higher or lower than normal. As it currently stands, I’m just pleased to see these books at all. Please note that this round-up is by no means complete and that I am included books simultaneously published in English and another language as well as bilingual titles where both languages are available at the same time.
2017 Bilingual Children’s Books
ABC Spanish by Aless Baylis
Hope you’re not sick of this little board book cutie yet. So far it carried the award for Most Inclusions on 31 Days, 31 Lists. Hard not to see why.
Baby Talk / Hablando Con Bebe by Stella Blackstone
When my daughter was born the English edition of this book was a godsend. I can still recite it from memory if called upon to do so. So when I saw this year that it was being released in Spanish as well, I nearly flipped my lid. This is such a perfect book to translated in this way. Every baby should have a chance to get a kick out of it.
Baby’s First Words / Mis Primeras Palabras by Christiane Engel
We’re talking simultaneous publication in both English and Spanish here. GLBTQIA+ friendly, gorgeous art, fun words, the works. Ain’t nothing to compare.
Bravo!: Poemas Sobre Hispanos Extraordinarios by Margarita Engle, ill. Rafael Lopez
Bilingual poetry in Spanish was particularly prevalent in 2017. This collection of great poems and gorgeous art was simultaneously published in English and Spanish. If you don’t have it on your library shelves, bug ’em. Get it there. It’s top notch.
Family Poems for Every Day of the Week / Poemas Familiares Para Cada Dia de la Semana by Francisco X. Alarcon, ill. Maya Christina Gonzalez
Part of the allure of this book (above and beyond the concept, poems, and art, all of which are extraordinary) is the fact that the bilingual text is integrated smoothly into the design of the book. I cannot tell you how often poor design of a book does bilingual translations a disservice. I’m all for attractive books and this one fits the mold.
Frida Kahlo and Her Animals / Frida Kahlo Y Sus Animalitos by Monica Brown, ill. John Parra
This is one of two biographical picture books available in English or Spanish on today’s list. And while it’s not a strict biography in the sense of a timeline of the artist’s whole life, it offers a lovely snapshot of a significant time.
Good Night, Planet / Buenas Noches, Planeta by Liniers
Someday, my friends, it won’t be extraordinary to find bilingual comics on our shelves. Until that happy day arrives, however, at least we have this. It’s a start.
The House That Jack Built / La Maison Que Jack a Batie by Antonio Frasconi
Little Skeletons Countdown to Midnight / Esqueletitos: Un Libro Para Contar en el Dia de Los Muertos by Susie Jaramillo
As I mentioned before when I put this on my board book list, how can you resist a storytime perfect bilingual book with ties to the very popular Coco movie now in theaters?
Marti’s Song for Freedom / Marti y Sus Versos Por La Libertad by Emma Otheguy, ill. Beatriz Vidal
And here’s the second bilingual bio. What’s cool here is that Marti is not a particularly well known figure here in the States (unlike the aforementioned Frida) so anything that sheds a little light on him is great. The fact that the book is bilingual to boot makes you highly suspect that someone actually cared about the title’s creation.
Perrazo y Perrito se equivocan / Big Dog and Little Dog Making a Mistake by Dav Pilkey
You know what’s weird? That we don’t get more of this. More easy books re-released as bilingual. I know that translating an easy book can be tricky (particularly if it rhymes) but talk about something the market here in America is desperately ready for.
Rafi and Rosi Pirates! / Rafi y Rosi Piratas! by Lulu Delacre
Oh, I really liked this book a LOT! I’m highly looking forward to future Rafi and Rosi stories told in this nice easy book format. Lulu Delacre has created original, relatable characters with hardly any words at all. Find it!
Yo No Hice Mi Tara Porque… by Davide Cali, ill. Benjamin Chaud
Released in Spanish for the first time here in the States, this is the new Spanish edition of I Didn’t Do My Homework Because . . .
Interested in the other lists of the month? Here’s the schedule so that you can keep checking back:
December 1 – Board Books
December 2 – Board Book Reprints & Adaptations
December 3 – Wordless Picture Books
December 4 – Picture Book Readalouds
December 5 – Rhyming Picture Books
December 6 – Alphabet Books
December 7 – Funny Picture Books
December 8 – CaldeNotts
December 9 – Picture Book Reprints
December 10 – Math Picture Books
December 11 – Bilingual Books
December 12 – Translated Picture Books
December 13 – Books with a Message
December 14 – Fabulous Photography
December 15 – Fairy Tales / Folktales
December 16 – Oddest Books of the Year
December 17 – Poetry Books
December 18 – Easy Books
December 19 – Early Chapter Books
December 20 – Comics for Kids
December 21 – Older Funny Books
December 22 – Fictionalized Nonfiction
December 23 – American History
December 24 – Science & Nature Books
December 25 – Transcendent Holiday Picture Books
December 26 – Unique Biographies
December 27 – Nonfiction Picture Books
December 28 – Nonfiction Chapter Books
December 29 – Fiction Reprints
December 30 – Middle Grade Novels
December 31 – Picture Books
About Betsy Bird
Betsy Bird is currently the Collection Development Manager of the Evanston Public Library system and a former Materials Specialist for New York Public Library. She has served on Newbery, written for Horn Book, and has done other lovely little things that she'd love to tell you about but that she's sure you'd find more interesting to hear of in person. Her opinions are her own and do not reflect those of EPL, SLJ, or any of the other acronyms you might be able to name. Follow her on Twitter: @fuseeight.
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