Best Kids Books About Languages

5 Kids Books About Languages

Updated Jan. 19, 2019
Spike, the Mixed-up Monster book
#1
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.

The Language of Angels book
#2
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 War Came book
#3
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.

Say Hello! book
#4
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.

Bizz & Buzz Make Honey Buns book
#5
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.

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