Viva Frida and Abuela

New and Fabulous

Viva Frida by Yuyi Morales is breathtakingly beautiful. Each illustration is saturated with soft but luminous color. The illustrations are the heart of the book. There are only a couple of words on each page, and these words are printed in both English and Spanish. For children who have had no prior Spanish at all, the book offers a very basic introduction to a few phrases. But I think to get the most out of the book, the adult reader needs to guide the child with questions about what the child is seeing. The book is pegged for 4-8 year olds. I think you can have a very good read with any child who has enough language to articulate his/her thoughts.

Oldie but Goodie

Abuela by Arthur Dorros. Recommended for ages 3-7 . This book was a favorite for my children when they were young. Abuela tells the story of a little girl and her grandma (abuela means grandmother in Spanish) as they take the bus around New York City. While out and about, the girl lets her imagination take her and her abuela flying up into the sky, seeing the sights in a totally new and magical way. Spanish words and phrases are woven into the text in a way that enhances the story and does not feel like a language lesson.

Note: I have found very few Chinese/English bilingual books. This appears to be a niche that is currently under-filled. I’ve heard about one series called Gordon and Li Li that sounds very cute. It tells the story of cousins, one in New York and the other in Beijing. Each page has one word in both languages.

What did you think of these books? Do you have other bilingual books to recommend?

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