21 Children's Books About Languages

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
How Do You Say I Love You? book
#1
How Do You Say I Love You?
Written by Hannah Eliot and illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

Learn how to say “I love you” in ten different languages with this heartwarming board book. “I love you” may sound different around the world, but the meaning is the same. From China, to France, to Russia, to Brazil, and beyond, this charming board book features “I love you” in ten different languages. Tapping into the emotions that parents feel for their children, the rhyming text is accompanied by sweet artwork that depicts different cultures around the world.

Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#2
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster
Written by Susan Hood and illustrated by Melissa Sweet
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Meet Spike, a lovable monster—and a real-life salamander—who’s looking for friends in this lively picture book that includes Spanish vocabulary. Spike is a scary-looking salamander who keeps trying to frighten other animals—until he finds that using fear is not the best way to make friends. And since Spike lives in Mexico (he is an endangered species called the axolotl), this story is peppered with easy-to-understand Spanish words. In addition to a charming tale of friendship, this picture book contains nonfiction information about the axolotl and a Spanish/English glossary.

ABC Spanish book
#3
ABC Spanish
Written and illustrated by Aless Baylis
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-6

Kids learn the alphabet and Spanish words for animals in this charming book. Pairing each letter of the Spanish alphabet with the Spanish word for a popular animal and its English translation, ABC Spanish is a gorgeously illustrated, engaging read that makes learning the alphabet and Spanish words fun for the entire family. The included pronunciation guide helps teach the proper pronunciation of each animal, making this book a perfect introduction to the Spanish language.

Don Quixote book
#4
Don Quixote
Written by Jennifer Adams and illustrated by Alison Oliver
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

BabyLit® is a fashionable way to introduce your toddler to the world of classic literature. With clever, simple text by Jennifer Adams, paired with stylish design and illustrations by Sugar's Alison Oliver, these books are a must for every savvy parent's nursery library. This book introduces your toddler to Cervantes's, Don Quixote.

Counting with Frida / Contando con Frida (Lil' Libros: English - Spanish) book
#5
Counting with Frida / Contando con Frida (Lil' Libros: English - Spanish)
Written by Ariana Stein, Patty Rodriguez and illustrated by Citlali Reyes
board book
Recommend Ages: 1-4

A Lil' Libros Bilingual Counting Book Introduce your little one to the life of one of Mexico's most iconic painters, Frida Kahlo, while teaching them their numbers, 1 to 10, in English and Spanish. Count una casa azul (one blue house), tres flores (three flowers), and cinco retratos (five portraits).

How Do You Say Good Night? book
#6
How Do You Say Good Night?
Written by Cindy Jin and illustrated by Shirley Ng-Benitez
board book
Recommend Ages: 2-4

Snuggle up and learn how to say “good night” in ten different languages with this heartwarming bedtime board book! A lovely bedtime follow-up to How Do You Say I Love You?, this sweet lullaby featuring adorable illustrations by Shirley Ng-Benitz is the perfect way for parents to wish their little ones a good night’s sleep. From Mexico, Vietnam, Kenya, and beyond, this charming board book teaches little ones how to say “good night” in ten different languages: Spanish, Mandarin Chinese, French, Italian, Portuguese, Swahili, Arabic, Vietnamese, German, and Korean!

The Life of/ La Vida De Selena book
#7
The Life of/ La Vida De Selena
Written and illustrated by Ariana Stein, Patty Rodriguez
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

A Lil' Libros Bilingual Biography Selena's career started at a young age when she became lead singer in her family's band, Selena Y Los Dinos. She went on to become an award-winning artist with albums like Amor Prohibido and Selena Live, and earned the title "Queen of Tejano Music." Your little one will learn that Selena's favorite food was pizza and that the most important people in the world to her were her familiaand fans.

Tres Reyes Magos book
#8
Tres Reyes Magos
Written and illustrated by Ariana Stein, Patty Rodriguez
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Introducing Spanish/English bilingualism, Lil' Libros encourage parents to read to their children at the earliest age--focusing on subjects they are familiar with, while making it fun and rewarding for both parent and child.

Say Hello! book
#9
Say Hello!
Written and illustrated by Linda Davick
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

Illustrations and rhyming text reveal that "hello" can be said many ways, from a handshake to a dance of happiness, and that the world would be a lot more fun if more hellos were shared.

Zapata: Colors - Colores (Bilingual: English / Spanish) book
#10
Zapata: Colors - Colores (Bilingual: English / Spanish)
Written by Ariana Stein, Patty Rodriguez and illustrated by Citlali Reyes
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

"Inspired by Emiliano Zapata, a leading figure in the Mexican Revolution, this book will introduce your little ones to their first English and Spanish words"--page [4] of cover.

How to Count 1 to 5 in Five Languages book
#11
How to Count 1 to 5 in Five Languages
Written and illustrated by Kenard Pak
board book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Count to 5 in French, Japanese, Mandarin, English, and Spanish with this press and listen board book! Meet children that speak different languages around the world and count with them, from Santiago, who speaks Spanish and counts five oranges, to Marie, who speaks French and counts five penguins. A chunky board book format with push-button sounds along the side, plus gorgeous art from best-selling illustrator Kenard Pak, makes this a great first language primer for curious kids.

How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages book
#12
How to Say I Love You in 5 Languages
Written and illustrated by Kenard Pak
board book
Recommend Ages: 4-7

Learn to say 'I Love You' in French, Japanese, Mandarin, English and Spanish with this fun press and listen board book. Meet a child from each country who loves a different person, from George in England who loves his dog, to Jia in China who loves her brother. Press each button on the side of the book to hear the phrase said in each language, then practise saying it yourself!

Hello book
#13
Hello
Written and illustrated by Fiona Woodcock
picture book
Recommend Ages: 4-8

HELLO! Welcome, all! This book tells the story of a tall sister and her small brother and their thrilling, rollicking adventures near the sea. What makes it swell? Well, it’s jolly and silly and full of words that contain the letter pair LL. BRILLIANT!

The List book
#14
The List
Written by Patricia Forde
chapter book
Recommend Ages: 10-14

In the city of Ark, speech is constrained to five hundred sanctioned words. Speak outside the approved lexicon and face banishment. The exceptions are the Wordsmith and his apprentice Letta, the keepers and archivists of all language in their post-apocalyptic, neo-medieval world. On the death of her master, Letta is suddenly promoted to Wordsmith, charged with collecting and saving words. But when she uncovers a sinister plan to suppress language and rob Ark's citizens of their power of speech, she realizes that it's up to her to save not only words, but culture itself.

Bizz & Buzz Make Honey Buns book
#15
Bizz & Buzz Make Honey Buns
Written and illustrated by Dee Leone
picture book
Recommend Ages: 3-5

Following Bear's recipe for honey buns, bees Bizz and Buzz are confused by homophones, causing them to use a "flower" instead of "flour" and tell a buttercup how much they "need" it instead of "kneading" the flower and butter together.

Stolen Words / Kimotinaniwiw Pikiskwewina book
#16
Stolen Words / Kimotinaniwiw Pikiskwewina
Written by Melanie Florence and illustrated by Gabrielle Grimard
picture book
Recommend Ages: 6-8

The dual language edition, in Cree and English, of the award-winning story of the beautiful relationship between a little girl and her grandfather. When she asks her grandfather how to say something in Cree, he tells her that his language was stolen from him when he was a boy. The little girl then sets out to help her grandfather find his language again. This sensitive and warmly illustrated picture book explores the intergenerational impact of the residential school system that separated young Indigenous children from their families. The story recognizes the pain of those whose culture and language were taken from them, how that pain is passed down, and how healing can also be shared.

The Day War Came book
#17
The Day War Came
Written by Nicola Davies and illustrated by Rebecca Cobb
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

Imagine if, on an ordinary day, after a morning of studying tadpoles and drawing birds at school, war came to your town and turned it to rubble. Imagine if you lost everything and everyone, and you had to make a dangerous journey all alone. Imagine that there was no welcome at the end, and no room for you to even take a seat at school. And then a child, just like you, gave you something ordinary but so very, very precious. In lyrical, deeply affecting language, Nicola Davies’s text combines with Rebecca Cobb’s expressive illustrations to evoke the experience of a child who sees war take away all that she knows.

The Language of Angels book
#18
The Language of Angels
Written by Richard Michelson and illustrated by Karla Gudeon
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-9

In 1885, few Jews in Israel used the holy language of their ancestors, and Hebrew was in danger of being lost—until Ben Zion and his father got involved. Through the help of his father and a community of children, Ben modernized the ancient language, creating a lexicon of new, modern words to bring Hebrew back into common usage. Historically influenced dialogue, engaging characters, and colorful art offer a linguistic journey about how language develops and how one person’s perseverance can make a real difference. Influenced by illuminated manuscripts, Karla Gudeon’s illustrations bring Ben Zion—and the rebirth of Hebrew—to life.

The Day Punctuation Came to Town book
#19
The Day Punctuation Came to Town
Written by Kimberlee Gard and illustrated by Sandie Sonke
picture book
Recommend Ages: 5-8

There's a new family in town: the Punctuations! When Exclamation Point, Question Mark, Period, and Comma join the letters at school, they form words like Wow! and Why? and Yes. But Comma isn't sure where he belongs. He just seems to get in the way. Is he really important? Kids, parents, and teachers will enjoy this latest installment in the Language Is Fun series. With colorful illustration and clever wordplay, The Day Punctuation Came to Town is a wonderful introduction to punctuation and the important role it plays in language.

¡Números, Baby! book
#20
¡Números, Baby!
Written by Golzar Kheiltash and illustrated by Lisa Hall
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

¡Números, Baby! is a bilingual counting primer perfect for introducing little ones to numbers in Spanish. With illustrations inspired by the authors’ own travels, youngsters learn to count while exploring the beauty and diversity of Spanish speaking locales throughout the world. 1, 2, 3… let’s go count!

Colors (Colores) book
#21
Colors (Colores)
Written and illustrated by Eric Carle
board book
Recommend Ages: 0-3

Learn English and Spanish words with Eric Carle! Parents are increasingly aware of the benefits of teaching children multiple languages, and the earlier the better! This ingeniously simple board book uses Eric Carle?s vibrant artwork to teach simple words?slide the panel to reveal the name of each color in English or in Spanish. It combines the effectiveness of flashcards with the interactivity of a novelty book!

Have a suggestion for a book to add to this list? Send an email to [email protected]!