Bilingual is Better

 5 Bilingual Books for Children's Poetry Day SpanglishBaby.com

With few exceptions, I’ve never been a huge poetry fan — mostly because I wasn’t really exposed to poems growing up, other than the obligatory ones for school. But I love the beauty, repetition and rhythm in children’s poetry and how great they can be to explain certain concepts in simple terms.

To celebrate Children’s Poetry Day on March 21, I wanted to share some of our favorite bilingual children’s poetry books:

Poems to Dream Together/Poemas para Soñar Juntos by Francisco X. Alarcón — This was the first book of poetry I read to my daughter. I had the pleasure of interviewing award-winning Chicano poet Alarcón who told me that he writes poetry for children because “I believe poetry is a direct way to empower children, so that they can see themselves not just as ‘readers’ of poetry but as ‘creators’ of poetry”. Alcarcón has written several books of poetry for children; this particular one is perfect to explore dreams both literally and figuratively.

Yum! ¡Mmmm! ¡Qué rico! by Pat Mora — This series of haikus is perfect to teach little kids the colors and names of all kinds of yummy foods native to the Americas. It’s one of Santiago’s favorites! Although not fully bilingual, Spanish words are embedded in the English version and there’s a Spanish version of the book too.

Guacamole: un poema para cocinar/A cooking poem by Jorge Argueta — This is the third in a series of cooking poems written by Argueta and jus like it’s title says, it’s a poem to learn how to make delicious guacamole, one of my daughter’s favorite Mexican dishes.

Sol a Sol by Lori Marie Carlson — A collection of bilingual poems written and selected by Carlson. We found this in our local library and my kids were delighted by the poems, which basically tell the story of a family from when the sun rises to when the sun sets.

¡Muu, Moo! Rimas de animales/Animal Nursery Rhymes by Alma Flor Ada and F. Isabel Campoy — Another one of Santiago’s favorite, these traditional nursery rhymes from Latin America, Spain and the United States will probably bring back some memories of your own childhood. The collection also includes original poems by Ada an Campoy. A great baby shower gift!

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