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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

BabyTalkWhen 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

HouseThatJackThis is the only bilingual book on today’s list that isn’t Spanish. French is the name of the game with this little number, and it’s great. There’s a reason I put it on two lists already this year.

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 Elizabeth Bird

Elizabeth 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.


  1. Nathan Spofford says:

    Another idea for this category:

    The Rooster Who Would Not Be Quiet!
    by Carmen Agra Deedy, illustrated by Eugene Yelchin. Picture book. Available in both English and Spanish, with language crossovers in both editions.

    This Mexican village is downright noisy until a new mayor is elected, one who gradually enacts laws, eventually requiring absolute silence. That is, until a rooster, equal parts happy and noisy, speaks his truth to power, and refuses to stop singing, no matter what the new mayor tries. Perky, colorful art illuminates and intensifies the storyline.

    • Elizabeth Bird says:

      There’s a Spanish edition of the book? How did I not know this? Must find!

      • I read the bilingual edition, and it’s excellent. One of my favorites this year. !El gallo que no se callaba! = The rooster who would not be quiet!, translated by Madelca Dominguez.

      • Elizabeth Bird says:

        That’s two for THE ROOSTER WHO WOULD NOT BE QUIET! Can I get three? And extra points for including the name of the translator. That’s sometimes the trickiest part of the process.