Monday, November 14, 2016

Bilingual Children's Books for the Holidays

It's hard to believe that we are in the final stretch of the year with only a few days left until Thanksgiving and a little more than a month away from Christmas. I've had quite a few books sitting by my computer awaiting review, so I've decided to put together a small collection of bilingual books that celebrate the holidays. As usual, the links used may be my Amazon affiliate links and when you purchase one through them, I get a small portion of the sale on a gift card that I use to buy books and holiday gifts for my children. I only share books that I would read to my own children. 

Happy reading!

Books for Thanksgiving

by Alma Flor Ada

In this super cute little tale, a spider helps a turkey find a unique way to avoid being eaten for Thanksgiving dinner. It's told from the point of view of the turkey, so it's a pretty fun read for children!

by Pat Mora, illustrated by John Parra

There are so many things to be thankful for.

For one young boy, it’s
   flying ladybugs,
      splashing ocean waves,
      a best friend,
   Dad’s thick chocolate syrup,
      and much more.

Straight from the heart of a child flows this lighthearted bilingual celebration of family, friendship, and fun. Come share the joy, and think about all the things for which you can say, "¡Gracias! Thanks!"

by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

Beto and Gaby anxiously wait for their relatives to arrive for Thanksgiving dinner. One by one, they call to inform the family they will not be able to attend because of a great snowstorm. Suddenly, their grandmother appears with a group of elder friends who have nowhere to have dinner, and the celebration becomes really special. contains an informative section on Thanksgiving day.

by Joy Cowley, illustrated by Joe Cepeda

In this warm holiday story, a young Puerto Rican boy saves the life of his pet turkey with help from his close-knit New York City family and neighborhood. Beginning Spanish vocabulary is woven into the text.

Books for Christmas

by Mariana Llanos

The Wanting Monster rears its ugly head again in the latest book by author, Mariana Llanos. This time, Tito's little brother Andy is the victim and turns into the Wanting Monster every Christmas. This year it's worse because the family will be traveling to Peru to visit family and he's worried that Santa won't be able to find them. But their trip to Peru helps both Andy and Tito discover the true meaning of Christmas. 

I love that the author has included a list of reading comprehension questions at the back of the book to help your child process the story and think about the messages it presents.

by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy

In this warm and vibrant collection of traditional Spanish Christmas carols, or villancicos, the authors bring to life the holiday traditions of Latin America and Spain. The creative English adaptations by Rosalma Zubizarreta both capture the spirit of the originals and add a new dimension to the songs. And Spanish illustrator Viví Escrivá's spirited illustrations are perfect backdrops for the lyrics, adding rich holiday flavor.

Come sing along! ¡Feliz Navidad! and Merry Christmas!

by Rudolfo Anaya, illustrated by Amy Córdova

In The Santero's Miracle, don Jacobo has a dream that, in the end, is a reminder that miracles do happen.

Don Jacobo is teaching his visiting grandson Andrés how to become a santero. Christmas is coming, snow is falling in the village and the two are working on a carving of San Isidro, the patron saint of farmers.

The half-finished carving stands in the living room beside the two oxen and the angel that don Jacobo carved earlier in the month. The snow-covered mountains are beautiful, but the road to the village is impassable. Andrés' parents will not be able to get to the house for the holiday, and don Jacobo's neighbor, don Leopoldo, is desperately ill and cannot get to the hospital.

Then comes don Jacobo's dream; San Isidro is plowing with the two oxen and the angel is helping. "But we don't plow 'til April," don Jacobo muses upon awakening. "What does it mean?"

The Santero's Miracle covers themes of home, family, tradition, imagination, culture, and community. It reminds us of much that is special about New Mexico: our rural villages, beautiful mountains, centuries-old traditions, strong families, diverse population, and welcoming communities united in history and culture.

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