Happy Tuesday, kidlit friends! We are on the upswing from having Covid here at our house, with one more day left of quarantining. I am simultaneously ready to get out of the house and wanting to nap as much as possible. *Yawn.*
This week I recommend lots of children’s books in English and Spanish. Before I get to those, are you looking for fascinating stories, informed takes, useful advice, and more drawn from our collective experience as power readers, teachers, librarians, booksellers, and bookish professionals? Subscribe to The Deep Dive, a biweekly newsletter to inform and inspire readers, delivered to your inbox! Your first read (The Power Reader’s Guide to Reading Logs & Trackers) is on the house. In one such newsletter, Vanessa broke down Mexican history via Like Water For Chocolate. Check out all the details and choose your membership level at bookriot.substack.com.
Biblioteca Wall Decal by ManukaKids
This Spanish library-themed wall decal would make a colorful addition to a child’s bedroom or playroom. $14+
Places / Lugares by Mikala Carpenter, illustrated by Gemma Román (board book)
This adorably illustrated bilingual English/Spanish board book follows a child and all the places she goes to in a day and with whom: school with her brother, grocery store with her dad, home with the family, etc. This board book is the latest in the Little Languages series. There are currently three other titles in the series, all bilingual English/Spanish: Animals / Animales, Colors / Colores, and Good Morning, Good Night / Buenos días, Buenas Noches.
Yenebi’s Drive to School by Sendy Santamaria (picture book)
This picture book is based on the author/illustrator’s childhood experiences of living in Mexico as a U.S. citizen and attending school across the border in the U.S. Every morning, a young girl wakes up bright and early at 4 a.m. to get ready for school. She waits with her sister and Mami in a long line of cars, where vendors sell delicious treats the three have for breakfast. After a long wait, and lots of napping, they make it through the checkpoints and can attend school. This book is also available in Spanish, El viaje de Yenebi a la escuela.
In my June monthly roundup of new children’s book releases for Book Riot, I also review Molly’s Tuxedo, Tenacious: Fifteen Adventures Alongside Disabled Athletes, and How to Stay Invisible. For a more comprehensive list, check out our New Books newsletter!
Since both of my new release picks are available in English and Spanish, I thought I would recommend some more newer picture books available in Spanish. My Spanish is very limited, so I originally read these in English, though I like having Spanish editions of children’s books around to practice!
Lupe Lopez: ¡Estrella de lectura! by e.E. Charlton-Trujillo and Pat Zietlow Miller, illustrated by Joe Cepeda
Lupe Lopez is pumped for first grade and ready to rock reading. Unfortunately, reading is harder than she imagined. When her teacher places her in the beginning reading group, her rival mocks her. She may be frustrated, but she’s not about to give up, and it turns out her rock-and-roll skills might be able to help her, and her group, learn to read! This follow-up to Lupe Lopez: ¡Reglas de una estrella de rock! is just as fun as the first book. Candlewick has a section on its website of more books in other languages (mostly Spanish).
El Barrilito Mágico de Papá by Jesús Trejo, illustrated by Eliza Kinkz (picture book)
This new picture book by comedian Jesús Trejo is both hilarious and heartwarming and is based on Trejo’s childhood. A young Jesús is thrilled to be spending the day with his Papá at work as a landscaper. He’s told that when the magical water jug is empty, it will be time to return home, and is placed in charge of the water jug. Unfortunately, Jesús gets a little over-enthusiastic about the water, giving water out to cats and sweater-clad dogs, splashing it on his face, and more. Soon, they’re out of the water, but Papá still has many more houses to go! Check out more Spanish titles from Astra Publishing.
Martina Tiene Muchas Tías by Emma Otheguy, illustrated by Sara Palacios, translated by Emily Carrero Mustelier (picture book)
This sweet and funny picture book retells the Caribbean folktale “La Cucaracha Martina.” Martina does not like parties. She enjoys the quiet, and too many people make her nervous. Her tías could not be more different in personality. After helping to clean the house before a party, Martina finds an imaginary world to escape to, but it turns out that she’s not truly home without her family, and her tías are an important part of that family. Simon Kids has more bilingual and Spanish children’s books here.
Madre de los tiburones by Melissa Cristina Márquez, illustrated by Devin Elle Kurtz (picture book)
This is a stunningly illustrated picture book that blends fabulism with reality. Puerto Rican marine biologist Melissa Cristina Márquez tells the story of herself as a little girl. Young Meli only has five more minutes of beach play remaining, so she decides to explore a tide pool, where she meets the hermit crab Jaiba. Jaiba takes her on an underwater adventure where Meli learns her true destiny is to become the mother of sharks and to teach others about shark conservation. Check out more Penguin Spanish children’s books here.
My daughter spent a lot of our Covid quarantine crafting, and this masterpiece is my favorite. It’s a lion with spider eyes and human arms and legs. It’s really large, about three feet. She hung it over her bed. Not scary at all, ha!
If you’d like to read more of my kidlit reviews, I’m on Instagram @BabyLibrarians, Twitter @AReaderlyMom, and blog irregularly at Baby Librarians. You can also read my Book Riot posts. If you’d like to drop me a line, my email is email@example.com.
Until next Tuesday!