If you are looking for board books that work on first words in Spanish and English, look no further than Lil’ Libros, the publishing company run by Patty Rodriguez and Ariana Stein. They have been creating amazing bilingual books that introduce some key first concepts, like counting, colors, parts of the body, shapes, and first words, in board book format with gorgeous pictures. The books rely on the one phrase, one image philosophy of introducing new concepts to young learners, so readers can take their time learning the new words as they move through the pages. The text is simple with the word in Spanish and English written on the page; in the counting books the number and a phrase is written like 1 one elephant, un elefante.

The pictures directly support the text, so the reader gets a clear image of what they are learning, whether it is a shape, a color or a body part. My son and I find that repeated readings allow for amazing conversation as the cultural images are wonderful conversation starters. One of the greatest aspects of these diverse books is the way they incorporate culture directly into the pictures and text. These books open even the youngest readers up to learning about the freestyle wrestling form of luche libre, the folktale la llorona, the game loteria or the nursery rhyme un elefante se balanceaba.  Iconic figures like Frida Kahlo, Our Lady of Guadalupe, Emiliano Zapata, or the last Aztec emperor Cuauhtemoc are also introduced in the board books, with pictures showing key elements of their lives. From the beginning it is clear, that these board books aren’t just translated stories, but books written with a diverse audience in mind. They serve as amazing mirrors for many young readers and can serve as windows into Latino culture for many others.

Published by Sarah BooksBeforeBandaids