One of my favorite parts of writing Spanish Playground is discovering new authors. This week I have had the opportunity to read several bilingual children’s books by María de Lourdes Victoria. The author, originally from Mexico and now living in the United States, is best known for her award-winning novels Los hijos de mar and Más allá de la justicia. In addition to these novels for adults, María de Lourdes Victoria has written four bilingual children’s books that will appeal to native speakers of either language. These books are also excellent choices for language learners.
Two of the books, Llegaron a casa con un bluto and El Rey Rascal y la Dama Lilly, are funny stories told from a cat’s point of view. The other two books, Aventura en el cielo and Cumpleaños en el bosque, are engaging bedtime stories in rhyming verse. All of María de Lourdes Victoria’s bilingual children’s books are also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Ingram. You can learn more about the author and her work on the María de Lourdes Victoria website.
These features make the bilingual children’s books especially effective for children learning Spanish:
- The stories are engaging and keep children involved with the narrative and language.
- Much of the vocabulary in the stories is concrete and theme-related.
- The sentences are short, and there is limited text on each page.
- The illustrations contain images of key words in the story.
- All of the books are bilingual, with text in Spanish and English. The layout clearly separates the languages.
- The books include a glossary as reference for parents and teachers.
Two Bilingual Children’s Books
Aventura en el cielo and Cumpleaños en el Bosque are wonderful books for bedtime, although kids will enjoy them at any time of day. In both these books, a very fun grandma takes her grandson out of bed and on an adventure. Kids will love sharing the adventure in these stories and postponing the end of their day just as the characters do.
Both of these stories are told in rhyming verse. Rhyme is important to early literacy development and helps children learning Spanish absorb the sounds of the language. These bilingual children’s books are illustrated with rich colors, and a deep, dreamy effect that conveys the atmosphere of the sky and woods.
Aventura en el cielo – This bedtime story with its rhyme and lulling rhythm is perfect for Spanish learners. The story is rich with vocabulary associated with the sky, well supported by the illustrations: el cielo, la luna, la estrella, la nube, la noche, los planetas, los luceros, los cometas, la luz.
Cumpleaños en el bosque – In this story, Grandma takes her grandson out of his bed and into the woods to celebrate his birthday. It has lots of vocabulary for talking about birthdays, the forest and forest animals.
El cumpleaños: la invitación, la fiesta, la piñata, el pastel, las velitas, las bolsitas de sorpresas, el confeti, Las mañanitas, el regalo
El bosque/los animales: las hojas, las moras, la ardilla, el pino, la araña, la rama, las luciérnagas, los venados, los conejos, los osos, el grillo, el topo, el pato, el nido, la pluma
Two More Bilingual Children’s Books
Llegaron a casa con un bulto and El Rey Rascal y la Dama Lilly are funny stories of household drama, narrated by the family cat. Kids will be enchanted by the attitude of the cat and dog, as they adapt to a changing situation but stay true to their characters.
Llegaron a casa con un bluto – This is a very funny story! Kids will laugh at the cat and dog’s attempts to get attention. The story also creates that delicious degree of suspense that keeps kids coming back again and again.
The text is rich in household vocabulary: la cocina, el pastel de carne, el zapato, la cuna, el cuarto, la manta.
There are also many animal-related words: las patas, las garras, las mandíbulas, maullar, ladrar, lamer, la pelota.
El Rey Rascal y la Dama Lilly – This humorous story is an entertaining portrayal of a cat as king of the castle. It is at a slightly higher level than the other books, as there is more figurative language and the text-to-illustration correspondence is not as close.
The story has vocabulary associated with castle life: el rey, el castillo, la princesa, el paje, el reino, el calabozo, el dragón, valiente, feroz.
I am hoping we will see more bilingual children’s books from María de Lourdes Victoria. Be sure to also check out her award-winning novels for adults, Los hijos de mar and Más allá de la justicia. You can follow the author on Facebook and Twitter.
Disclosure: The company sent me a copy of this product to be able to write the article. I may have been compensated for my time. All of the ideas and opinions are my own.