Books for Bebés: 7 Spanish and Bilingual Board Books

Looking for fresh picks to add to your Spanish-language board book collections? These seven titles fit perfectly in little ones’ hands and are just right for lapsits and baby story time.

Looking for fresh picks to add to your Spanish-language board book collections? These seven titles fit perfectly in little ones’ hands and are just right for lapsits and baby story time.

Á lvarez Astacio, Mrinali. Piecitos de bébé. illus. by Mrinali Álvarez Astacio. 32p. Editorial Destellos. Dec. 2021. Board $12. ISBN 9781732073180. SP
–This lively, interactive Spanish-language board book is a celebration of baby feet. Colorful illustrations show a baby’s footprints set against a variety of backdrops, such as the sun, flowers, fish, and vivid skies. The small feet step on the grass, flutter like butterfly wings, and jump as the baby plays. They look giant next to ants or small next to a caregiver’s hand. Puerto Rican author-illustrator Álvarez Astacio’s charming art will inspire babies playing silly games with their 10 little toes. The variety and styles of feet shown highlight that just as all babies are unique, so are their small feet. Soothing, lyrical Spanish text accompanies the illustrations; it can easily be used as a lullaby. The last spread assures babies that their feet will take them far. VERDICT An excellent and one-of-a-kind addition to ­Spanish board book collections.– Selenia Paz

Dewdney, Anna. Llama Llama Colores. ISBN 9780593464052.
––––. Llama Llama Números. ISBN 9780593464076.
ea vol: illus. by JT Morrow. 16p. Aprendiendo con Llama Llama). Viking. Mar. 2022. Board. $6.99. SP
Baby-Toddler–Everyone’s favorite llama is back in these Spanish-language board books exploring colors and numbers. ­Additionally, these volumes touch upon food literacy and cleaning up. In Colores, Llama Llama wants to color, but he must finish his meal first. Green for peas and ­orange for carrots, each color is represented by a yummy fruit or vegetable. By the last page, Llama has created a picture on his plate with his leftovers that gives “playing with your food” a fresh take. In Números, the lovable llama counts down from 10 as he picks up clutter in his room and helps his mama with household chores—10 shelved books, nine blocks lined up, eight plates to wash and dry. For the most part, the items being enumerated are clearly represented so that readers can practice their counting skills. However, there are moments when the items are hard to locate, a missed ­opportunity. Still, this doesn’t detract from the book’s charm. Both volumes feature bright, textured ­illustrations in primary colors. The lilting and rhyming text make these perfect for nap time or lapsits. VERDICT Great selections for where Llama Llama is a favorite and Spanish-language board books are in need.–Shelley M. Diaz

Rodriguez, Patty & Ariana Stein. The Life of/La vida de Chico. ISBN 9781948066051.
––––. The Life of/La vida de Pura. ISBN 9781948066143.
ea vol: illus. by Citlali Reyes. 22p. (A Bilingual Picture Book Biography). Lil’ Libros. May 2022. Board. $10.99. BL
Toddler-PreS –The latest in the Lil’ Libros biography series continue to showcase the lives of important figures in Latinx history. In Chico, readers learn about Chico Mendes, a preservationist who was the leading figure in the fight against the deforestation of the Amazon rainforest. Kids will admire his bravery as he stares down the tractors threatening to destroy his home and family. In Pura, children are treated to the life story of storyteller, puppeteer, and librarian Pura Belpré, the first Puerto Rican librarian at the New York Public Library. She went on to write the first book in Spanish released by a major U. S. publisher. These jewel-tone bilingual board books present the childhoods, struggles, triumphs, and the impact of the figures’ legacies. The digital art is kid-friendly, sometimes giving the heroes childlike appearances. The majority of the text is ­presented on the recto, with the English narrative at the top and the ­Spanish ­version at the ­bottom. Though their ­stories are told in child-appropriate language, some of the words, such as barons, empower, liveliness, flourish, and mainland, will require explanation. All of the people have brown or Black skin. VERDICT Gems. Purchase where biography board books are popular.–Shelley M. Diaz

Teckentrup, Britta. Leo va a la peluquería. illus. by Britta Teckentrup. 36p. NubeOcho. Jul. 2022. Board $12.99. ISBN 9788418133954. SP
PreS-K –Leo the lion has not been to the salon in some time and needs a new haircut and hairstyle. Accompanied by his friend Monkey, Leo has his hair washed and dried before he begins to try out new hairstyles. Should he choose curls? Braids? Blonde or red hair? Leo tries out several hairstyles before finally settling on a perfect one—his classic lion mane. This simple and fun title features colorful collagelike illustrations of the characters and items, such as shampoo and brushes, all on a bright white background. The short Spanish sentences are easy to read and feature bold words for emphasis. This eye-catching title is sure to become one young readers turn to for repeated outings. The die-cut pages and tall trim size will make it stand out among the usual board book fare. VERDICT A great (and stylish) addition to Spanish board book collections for children.– Selenia Paz

Van Genechten, Guido. Porque te amo mucho. illus. by Guido van Genechten. 24p. Clavis. Jun. 2022. Board $12.95. ISBN 9781605377568. SP
PreS-Gr 1 –Copito the little polar bear may be young, but he already knows so much about the world. He knows where to find the best fish and that the cold can really bite, but that his mother’s hugs make everything nice and warm. He knows that he needs to stay near his mother just in case the ice starts to break. But there are some things that ­Copito doesn’t know. What makes snow? And why do polar bears have white fur and black skin? But Copito’s mother knows, and she knows something much more important—how much Copito is loved. This Spanish board book shares the daily lives of a little polar bear and his mother as Copito learns many things. The majestic blue and white palette presents Copito’s snowy world, and the Spanish text lovingly shares what Copito is learning—while making sweet commentary about Copito’s heartwarming relationship with his mother. A tender story proving that no matter what, Copito’s mother’s love for her little one is certain. VERDICT An appealing addition to Spanish board book collections, and a great choice for fans of Emma Dodd.– Selenia Paz


Shelley M. Diaz is the reviews editor at School Library Journal.

Selenia Paz was previously at Harris County Public Library, TX .

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